If you thought you could ignore the iphone in the UK you’re wrong.

Of course you’re bored of iphone hype, me too. In the UK we’ve been gloating for months about how outdated the iphone is compared to our high speed, gps enabled mobile devices. We’ve had the chance to sit back and watch what’s been happening in the US for months, So now the iphone has been released in the UK lets go over why people in the UK might have thought the iphone was nasty. These are some of the things people have mentioned..

No 3G
No GPS
You can’t picture message (MMS).
You can’t SMS more than one person at a time.
Bluetooth is nobbled. You can only use it for headsets.
The camera is average.
You can’t record video.
You can’t copy and paste.
Expensive contract & additional need to purchase the actual phone

That’s pretty big minus points. But lets be realistic from the list above only 1 (3G) is not doable – the rest is fixable through software updates, a slot-in card, reduced prices and contract changes.

But what makes the iphone so damn good?

I’ve been around smart phones and internet connected mobile devices pretty much ever since they’ve been out. The manufacturers of smart phones have all tended to try and integrate the computer into the phone to a greater or lesser extent for me. They all suffer the single biggest fault, the web browser sucks. When you want to go online to surf the web and check email (and that’s generally why you buy a smart phone) they all offer a horrible cut down browsing experience that looks like someone has puked up internet explorer inside your mobile device, it’s the same with email – you get a horrible chopped down mail client that looks like someone’s just tried to squish Microsoft Outlook into the phone without any thought for how it’s actually going to work.

The iphone and ipod touch offer the single best browsing experience on a mobile device bar none. It’s Safari on the iphone, and it’s simply gorgeous, the screen rendering is incredibly crisp, and zooming into web pages which look exactly how they do on a desktop machine is a relief after the squished endless scrolling experience of windows mobile. Email on the iphone, is a similar experience, looking at attachments, receiving and deleting email is almost as slick as on a desktop.

The lack of 3G is interesting, contrary to popular belief the UK isn’t totally a 3G connected hotbed, there’s a lot of places where getting a fast connection is a bit sketchy. O2 aren’t renowned for their massive

So how’s this going to affect marketing?

The Ipod was a revolution that not only changed the way people listened to music, it changed the music industry itself. The Ipod touch, and iphone do to video, and video casts what the ipod did to music. It’s far superior to the previous ipod video experiences – because it’s no longer a passive device, you can go off and get your own music and video.

It utterly decimates the Symbian, and windows mobile browsing experience and activity, don’t take my word for it – usage figures back that up. The iphone is already accounting for 0.09% of the browser market – that’s bigger than Any other mobile device:- (source and image credit from Roughly Drafted – with stats from Canalys). In only 6 months the iphone has come from no-where to grab 27% of the US smartphone market. While we won’t see UK iphone purchasing on the same level as in the US the browser stats really are pretty amazing.

What’s interesting about the iphone deal is that the usage plan includes unlimited internet access both on mobile internet, and wifi services through the cloud – that’s one of the things that’s pushing up that browser usage. People are really using these things on the go, they’re using them anywhere there’s wireless access, Star bucks, McDonald’s, pubs. In the UK we have fantastic coverage with apple using The Cloud to provide free access for iphone users. But you can also use an iphone/ipod touch with any other wireless provider such as BT Openzone. Companies are already making custom pages designed for the iphone and ipod touch, the BBC has a really slick podcast page which enables fast access to podcasts of all of it’s major radio shows and it’s specifically designed with touch-screen in mind. The iphone and ipod touch bring the simplicity of the ipod user interface, and the familiarity of the itunes store to the mobile population.

Make no mistake, whether you like it or loath it, the iphone has been a fantastic catalyst for change within the mobile and mobile media industry. If anyone has the ability to see your online image as you intended it, and take a little piece of your company with them anywhere they go, and interact with you – how are you going to keep them interested? Are you just going to carry on pretending mobile browsing doesn’t exist?

Go and find someone who has an iphone, or ipod touch, and borrow it for a week (if they’ll let you) – use it, play with it, add your photo’s, music, and movies, watch you-tube and understand why mobile devices will never be the same again.

I can’t do justice to this in one post, so I’m going to have to do a follow up really soon – In February Apple are going to allow developers to write their own applications for the iphone and ipod touch. I haven’t talked about the interface, the ease of use compared to other devices – there’s plenty of other blogs doing that anyway.

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