This topic will be for the most part, sweet and short – for me at least. Apple does not do cheap, no matter how badly they are being beaten in the smart phone biz by the unstopable juggernaut that is Google Android OS.
They may, however, as the argument goes, forgo contracts, based on the musings of Larry Dignan, ZDNet Blogger extraordinaire. Thus this mythical pint-sized toddler, the so-called Apple iPhone Nano, the name being bandied about, is just stillborn.
It has long been my opinion, despite the nuances of the Editor of this blog for whom I write, that it takes at least two (2) years for any technology that the Americans like or have thrown away to catch on in Jamaica with the majority of the population.
Jamaicans are a very tough crowd to please, being more price-centric than our American cousins, who are keener on service and timeliness.
Thus, it is with this in mind that I can enunciate the main reason why the White Unicorn blessed with the Apple iPhone name is still second fiddle to Blackberry and even the Google Android OS in the Developing World, the Last Frontier for smartphones outside of a saturated US Market.
Pricing. Simple as that!
Developing World countries, though in love with Americans and their tech, are not gadget crazy.
Utilitarian and practicality are key selling points. Throw in durability and you can see the problem Telecom Providers in Jamaica have in selling any smartphone, be it the Apple iPhone or the Motorola Milestone.
Americans are like this too, were it not for their busy-as-a-bee snap judgment making and credit-card “Just charge it” coffee-induced driven lifestyles. No wonder when foreigners [read Americans] come to Jamaica, they don’t want to leave. No Problems, Mon!
Seriously, though, these are the only ways to “up-sell” any expensive product to Jamaicans, as Jamaicans like to be sure of the product’s durability and longevity before their hand leaves their wallet or allows you manicured palms to grip and swipe their Debit or Credit Cards.
Then there is the fact that the battery life plays a keen part in this decision making on the part of Jamaicans, as if the battery life is poor or the device is a power hog, your market will be restricted to hardcore Techies looking for speed.
Thus sifting through those pesky articles from Bloomberg and Digital Trends, the obvious conclusion enunciated in the ZDNet article above should become apparent. Not to mention there being no Apple product launch.
Apple is hoarding parts, as would any military General in his Army of Apple CEO Steve Job’s ilk would do, Age of Empire III Style: collect all food in a captured village and burn it to the ground, leaving nothing for your enemy.
So what about the budget phone “custom fitted”, Mary J. Bligh “The One” Style, to the Developed World? Let’s go through Apple’s Playbook (poke at RIM!) one possibility at a time.
The slide out keyboard is definitely not happening. There are already cases out there that are licensed to add on this capability via Apple’s proprietary 30-pin connector. The ThinkGeek TK-421 iPhone Case with Flip-Out Keyboard readily comes to mind.
Unless the keyboard is a dedicated capacitive touch screen based keypad like the Acer Iconia dual-touch screen laptop and a tad thinner than the bulky Motorola Droid, I don’t envision this happening.
This add-on, by the way, already exists for the Apple iPad, turning it into a fully functional Laptop and a “ca-ching” of the cash register for Apple Inc in the Product Licensing Department thanks to their 30-pin connector.
So how could Apple make the Apple iPhone experience pay-as-you-go and contractless? One way is by using hardened paper-based printed circuit boards with SMT (Surface Mount Technology) chips. Thus, Apple would have to impress it upon Qualcomm to make more of its dual-mode Communication chipsets SMT compatible.
Dual-mode Communication chipsets, of course, being a nexus between CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global Systems Mobile) Networks! Thus enabling the Apple iPhone to work in any country without having to make two (2) separate phones, a production cost saving bird being killed by that single stone…..I mean chipset.
Right. Now the removal of the SSD (Solid State Drive) and replacing it with an ad-supported cloud based MobileMe service requiring only CPU and adequate RAM (Random access Memory) is likely considering their acquisition of Lala, much rumoured to be a technology purchase used to retrofit an iTunes push into the Cloud. A couple dollars shaved off the Apple iPhone, making a thirty day (30) Data Plan subscription from your local Telecom Provider necessary.
But what would make it survive the harsh Jamaican phone use, the true litmus test for a smartphone mass-market adoption?
A uni-body frame and design. Instead of having exotic glass-metal polished parts, an all plastic design with an oxidized metallic band antenna should lighten the cost load a bit, with the added durability of a capacitive touch screen being made from thin yet super strong Gorilla Glass.
Gentle accents of expensive Liquid Metal, a company Apple acquired in August 2010, should add value and elevate the price into the realm of a US$399, but still down from the only-the-Gods-can-afford-this price of US$599 unlocked on Google Products online.
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