Apple's announcements yesterday were mostly focused on iTunes and adding a video camera to the Nano (beautiful device by the way – shape, colors, form factor, weight (lessness) – blew me away). There were a couple of interesting things that came out about the iPhone platform though.
A few of the facts:
30 million iPhones sold to date
20 million iPod Touch devices with about 225 million iPods sold to date in all with 50% to new customers (wow!)
1.8 billion downloads of more than 75,000 available applications
100 million billing relationships with credit cards … this impresses me the most and is what I consider to be one of their important competitive advantages
In the mobile world …
First, about one third of their applications are games. The mobile games industry was one that wasn't doing bad (hundreds of millions annually) in the States pre-iPhone (see Forrester's analysis from Jay Horwitz and myself), but it wasn't fulfilling the dreams of those inside the industry. Apple has made games on the cell phone platform interesting again. They haven't release revenue numbers, but their story is good. They have about three times the titles of Nintendo and 30x that of Sony. Many are free. Many if not all are lower priced than those on dedicated consoles. And, the list of benefits of digital distribution are too long to list – immediacy, no inventory outages, etc. Their philosophy of focusing first on the consumer experience and letting revenue follow seems to be serving them well here.
Desktop management – beautiful interface. Really well done – ok, as always from Apple. I'm not one who uses the desktop to manage my iPhone applications, but as I get more, I see the potential. I have a friend with an iPhone who has probably spent $100 to $200 on iPhone applications – all purchased through the desktop. He doesn't even know where the App store is on the phone – I showed him about 12 months after he bought the device.
Genius … I have to say, my first reaction was skeptical. Then I had the chance to speak to Phil and the light went on for me. Lots of folks have tried making recommendations on applications before. Qualcomm bought Xiam. Motricity, Amdocs (Qpass), et. al. – they are all working on it.
I'm thinking, ok, so I use E*TRADE, bought Scrabble, and downloaded Facebook … what does Apple know about me that allows them to make recommendations? So, first, they have 1.8 billion downloads to sort through. Then, I thought, wait … they know where I bank, who my insurance provider is, what news I read, what games I play, where I shop … hmmm … ok, it's starting to add up that they know a lot about me. Hopefully, they stay true to their word that this is for developers, and they don't start selling advertising.
Lastly … video in the Nano … like it, but will love it when it's connected and a more seamless play in social media.