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5by5 | The Critical Path #70: Harvesting Talent

Over-serving TVs, bizarre keynotes, iPhone “mini”, cracking the China code, the T-Mobile iPhone and the iPhone operator deal structure.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #70: Harvesting Talent.

This was a good show. It also ran longer than usual.

  • Bruce_Mc

    I enjoyed the observations and perspective on CES.

    I’m thinking iPhone nano for an inexpensive iPhone. The OS would be a lot like the iPod nano, with no third party apps. People who buy low end Gingerbread OS Android phones now, and don’t buy Android apps, would perhaps find an iPhone nano appealing.

    Essentially Apple would be releasing a feature phone, with well thought out features, instead of what is thought of as a smart phone. If you want Instagram, Angry Birds, or other apps, then you move up to a standard iPhone.

    • Anonymoose

      There’s no way the “iPhone Mini” wouldn’t have access to the iOS ecosystem. It would be a terrible move if they did. It will be differentiated on hardware to bring the costs down and so they can try and maintain their margins.

      • DaveChapin77

        Well there’s more to an ecosystem than apps: there’s content — particularly the kind you’d use an iPod for back in the day (music, podcasts, audiobooks). But having said that a nano might be shrunk in dimensions other than the screen: simply lighter, thinner, less bezel top & bottom.

        It would be great if one could accessorize your phone like you can an iPod: big old school for the whole library (in your car), nano for walk-around, and shuffle for jogging. But to do that w/ a phone you need a way to move the SIM. You can do it today but it’s such a hassle as to be non-practical.

        But if it were easy, it would really open up the form factor possibilities. Bigger and smaller, smaller meaning stuff in the wearable area. People might not mind a app-limited incredibly mobile device that keeps them in touch (while at the beach) as long as they had their regular phone for 70% of the rest of the time.

        This would also make it a lot easier for Apple to sell more than one device to a customer. Instead of only being able to do that when a user handed down the old phone, a user might buy 2 or even 3 phones to use at the same time.

      • Bruce_Mc

        “… there’s more to an ecosystem than apps: there’s content … (music, podcasts, audiobooks).

        Apple can build in apps that give people access to their content.

        “But having said that a nano might be shrunk in dimensions other than the screen: simply lighter, thinner, less bezel top & bottom.”

        Agreed. If nobody wants a smaller screen, why put one in an Apple low end phone? Note that abandoning the app market would give Apple many more options for the screen in both physical size and pixel dimensions.

        “People might not mind a app-limited incredibly mobile device that keeps them in touch (while at the beach) as long as they had their regular phone for 70% of the rest of the time.”

        A fascinating idea.

        “But to do that w/ a phone you need a way to move the SIM. You can do it today but it’s such a hassle as to be non-practical.”

        There are other work-arounds like Google Voice. But I agree; I don’t think a second phone would be easy for Apple to sell at this time.

      • Pika neim

        I’m thinking iPhone nano with a form factor similar to either current generation iPod nano or previous generation (the watch one). Make it waterproof, have a special tiny screen app store, and make it easy to use as a second iPhone. Priced around $250 it could be many’s “iPhone for the beach”, for exercising, or whenever you don’t want to either carry or risk breaking or losing your full iPhone. It would also be perfectly positioned as a first iPhone for kids (gps locator app would be an easy sell to parents). Thinking this through I think there’s room for both a watch sized iPhone (much like previous gen nanos) which you could clip to your shirt easily, and for a bigger one much like the current gen nano which could run fuller apps which should be enough for kids and low end shoppers (until the decide they want a full iPhone!). Cannibalization would be offset by people buying it as their second iPhone.

  • tims

    Thinking aloud on form factors:
    I wonder about the prospects for a “iPhablet”. Being larger than an iPhone5 would make it usable by people with bigger fingers or less sharp eyes, and could manage to be an adequate phone as well as an adequate iPad. To my mind the main flaw from a consumer’s point of view is having to wave this huge thing around to take a phone call – avoidable with a headset or hands-free mode, I guess.

    An alternative would be to move the phone, data and voice functions to something shaped more like an iPod nano, with Siri able to take on most of the input responsibilities, and touch & vision delegated to a companion iPad – but my sense is that battery tech and Siri are not ready for this.

  • stefn

    Take away: Apple builds computers for the rest of us, updated to say it build “the best for the rest.”

  • stefn

    Got me thinking about the iPad Mini hullabaloo re pricing. What if: The $325 is a placeholder. The early adopters pay a premium, as usual with Apple. The retina Mini arrives at that base price. The non retina model falls to $250. By the end of the year.

    • http://search.websonar.com:8080/ Duane Bemister

      Bingo. The iPad mini disrupts the iPhone and education at the same time.

  • http://twitter.com/najeebster Najeeb Khan

    He’s my 2 cents.
    By the end of 2013 I reckon there will be a 3 iPhones in the portfolio.

    Entry level – 3.7″ screen, slightly legacy processor, less premium materials. Otherwise the full fat iOS experience.
    Standard iPhone – current screen size of 4 inch, latest processor, etc
    Premium iPhone – larger screen 5″+, possibly premium materials, more RAM
    If this is too adventurous, they might drop the middle one.

    Apple already dictates SKUs to operators, I can see them forcing operators to offer all SKUs on an expanded portfolio.

    If sell-in price for an entry-level iPhone is n the region of $275 – $325 that’s pretty scary for other handset manufacturers given Apple’s tight terms on forward commitment to buy X millions of dollars worth of devices over, say, 2-3 years.

    They will will not only be fighting for a smaller share of the overall portfolio (due to more handset budget allocated to Apple). They will typically be asked for more Market Dev Funds for each slot to help to differentiate the offering.