There's a dirty little secret among iPhone users that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would rather keep quiet. For the majority of users, this device can replace your laptop. I refer to the iPhone as a device, because calling it a smartphone is condescending to the technology. It's much more than a phone. It still surprises me that analysts compare Apple's device to other phones. There is no comparison. Having the 'real' Internet in your pocket with the ability to surf the web with touch screen technology was the single biggest surprise from round one of iPhone. Using the widescreen video ipod has been cool, downloading songs over WiFi is great, scrolling through visual voicemail has been revolutionary but the elephant in the room has been the Internet capability.
The difference between surfing the web on an iPhone vs. a Blackberry is like the difference between real gold and fools gold. Blackberry users search the internet only out of necessity; iPhone users surf the web like they do on their laptops. Google found this out during their last round of collecting mobile search data. iPhone users search Google 5,000% more than the nearest competitor. "We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again," Vic Gundotra, head of Google's mobile operations told the Financial Times. Keep in mind, all of this browsing has occurred on the slow 2.5 EDGE network with only a few million iPhone's in service. Once the iPhone goes 3G on Friday, along with the international rollout, mobile web browsing is going to reach some astounding figures.
Don't expect to see any Apple commercials touting the iPhone as a laptop replacement, because Apple doesn't want to do anything to drive away prospective Macbook buyers. So far so good: Apple laptops continued their climb during last quarter and analysts expect a 35% increase for the June quarter. Of course, the iPhone doesn't offer the typing or printing qualities of an actual computer but when users are on the go, all they really need is the Internet.
The iPhone at $199 is a game changer. This device will be purchased not only by smartphone users but by anyone who wants the 'real' internet in their pocket. Recent data suggests that demand is greater than originally thought. Over 28% of all Japanese mobile users are considering a switch to the iPhone and Monday's report out of Goldman Sachs shows 17% of executives are expected to support the iPhone 3G within the next year. "That's a 'very strong number especially at this early stage,' says Goldman telecom analyst Jason Armstrong, who expects adoption rates to increase once the new iPhone and its enterprise-friendly software update launches on Friday." Apple is about to scale the mobile Internet but you won't hear it from them.
Disclosure: Long AAPL