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Day October 7, 2010

The cognitive illusion that is iPhone n-1

How do you think about the iPhone 3GS after the iPhone 4 is out? I have a hypothesis that it’s not what it seems.

The standard logic is that the 3GS (which I will call the n-1 where n is the current phone version) is a lower-priced leftover that covers a lower price point and expands the market.

I think it’s designed to give the illusion that the iPhone 4 is actually more desirable steering more potential buyers to the new (nth) phone.

To illustrate I’m going to call upon the wonderful example given by behavioral economist Dan Ariely at the TED talks.

IBM Survey: The cell phone is no longer a gadget – it’s what IT is going to become

“In all areas of software development, mobile computing is seen as the number-one hottest IT opportunity next year,” said Jim Corgel, an IBM general manager of independent software vendors and developer relations who was involved in the survey. “Not only will mobile spike to the forefront, but by 2015, respondents said it will dominate everything. The cell phone is no longer a gadget – it’s what IT is going to become.”

via IBM Survey Says Mobile Apps Will Dominate Enterprise – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ.

Developers are usually not very good at predicting specific business winners or losers (to prove this consider why developers don’t spend their energy and earn their living picking tech stocks instead of writing code.)

However, developers are very good at spotting long term technology trends. It was developers who championed the early internet and it was developers who saw potential in social networking. To see a survey of developers confirm that mobile devices will dominate IT, in contradiction to most incumbent strategies, is encouraging.

How many iPads next year? Analyst Sees 45 Million IPads In 2011

The contact, says [Ticonderoga’s] White, shipped more than 6 million parts to Apple during the third quarter of the year and expects to ship 7 million more in the fourth quarter.

Since Apple uses one unit of this particular component in each iPad, that adds up to shipments of 13 million iPads in the second half of 2010. For 2011, the contact believes Apple will sell as many as 45 million iPads

via Analyst Sees 45 Million IPads In 2011, Next Gen IPad Launching Soon – Elizabeth Woyke – Mobilized – Forbes.

These numbers are not unreasonable. I expect about 35 million next year, though that could go up considerably depending on what we hear about last quarter.  We only really have one data point so far meaning the data set is to double in a few days.

The strategic tension inherent in the iPhone franchise

I don’t write product reviews and I don’t pass judgement on individual products but I do own and test various products. For example I have the Android powered Samsung Galaxy 5 (GT-I5500) and the experience is, in my opinion, better than for recent Symbian phones but not as smooth as for Apple’s products.

But that’s not what this article is about.

It’s about