Carl Howe has a point. In his note on why the iPhone doesn’t do high-speed mobile phone networks, Carl offers that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be keeping the door open for deals with mobile operators outside of North America. Agreed.
He also argues that Apple probably did not want to embarrass Cingular by shining a spotlight on the inadequacy of the operator’s HSDPA coverage, or hang the iPhone’s success or failure on a half-built network. Agreed on both points.
But I still don’t see how Apple can hit its numbers (10m units in FY’08). In fact, I agree with Eric Savitz of Barron’s. Why?
1. Bad surf. When it comes to web surfing, EDGE will provide nothing but frustration. Wi-Fi will fill the gap when available. But outside of the home, Wi-Fi usually suffers from a case of authentication heartburn — messing with credit cards and security keys. If it can’t handle high-speed access to the Internet, then don’t call it a breakthrough Internet device that can “read a web page while downloading your email in the background over Wi-Fi or EDGE.”
2. Bad price. Apple’s iPhone pricing is at the high end of even the Treo smartphone range. Phones in that category are justified by enterprise applications: calendaring, email, contacts, and task lists. Apple has no such apps on the iPhone. This is not say they couldn’t offer them. In fact, Apple would be very smart to get a skinny version of a Microsoft Exchange client on the iPhone as soon as possible.