Apple ‘ s MobileMe and 3G iPhone
MobileMe – this was the portion of the announcement that I was most excited about. To date, Apple has been one of the few companies (perhaps only) pulling together the content pieces (photos, videos, music) that increase the switching cost to consumers. When it comes to cell phones, consumers aren't that brand loyal – at least here in the US in the land of subsidies. Content, however, increases the switching costs – iTunes and iPhoto – combine content and UI familiarity to build a loyal base of customers.
One of the pieces that's been missing at least from Apple's portfolio has been a strong social networking play. It's fantastic to have the sync features across all of my devices. We know consumers want to buy content once, create playlists once, pay for access once, etc. and then be able to access from any device. Apple sets a high bar here that has been challenging to replicate at least with media. (Their "nod" to MS on "Outlook for the rest of us" acknowledges that) Consumers also want to be able to share.
Communication isn't simply about voice calls and text messaging. We want to be able to share our photos and videos with our friends and family as well. For most users of social networks, this has meant stringing together a lot of pieces today – downloading photos from a phone to a PC and then uploading and then editing and tagging. MobileMe takes us a step in the right direction. Getting a lock on being the hub of a consumers social mesh or network will increase consumers' switching costs even more.
Next round I'd love to see more "tagging" of media (e.g., names, location, etc.) as well as some help distributing the content/communicate out to my network of friends and family. Media with dynamic content added by the consumer will take the UI to the next level.
Great to see the number of applications growing – and kudos to Sam Altman for his appearance at the WWDC. It's a very cool application if you haven't seen it. It's great to see more and more applications like this available for the iPhone.
As always, great stuff from Apple and I can't wait to get one of my own to play with.