Apple has the hardware, software, content and the user experience to tie this all together with an intelligence that no competitor in any one of these industries can synthesize. As the future hurdles on toward smaller, more communicative realtime devices what is Apple missing? Becoming its own carrier.
How often do I buy a product thinking, if only Apple designed it. Apple doesn’t just build and box something. They think outside the product about how a person will interact with the many other things in their life. Consider how the new iPhone 3Gs (speedy, beautiful) shows a new 3 MP camera(adequate), but Apple adds this nice autofocus touch-tap to focus on the image. Wished my viewfinder had that on my camera. Apple goes utside of the picture-taking devices part, easily transporting pictures to iPhoto (comes with every Mac). The command is “Share” to get the final images easily on the web. Back to the point.
What is clear at Apple WWDC09 and voiced by the 5200 others is how badly their no-show prime carrier is performing. At&t has brought nothing to the Apple party. No stage presence here. This very lack of coordination smacks of Dell vs Micorosoft preferring an enmity to building a product superior to Apple. It begs the question. What if Apple were to become its own wireless carrier? Clearly at&t is not keeping up with Apple’s pace of innovation. Witness no MMS at the cascade of announcements. The operator has inferior stores to buy product. If you have issues with Apple’s Genius bar – don’t even try to buy from an at&t sales person. At my local at&t store they actually told me to take the Apple iPhone outside of their store to open the box!
at&t offers one thing. As a regulated monopoly they convey their precious frequency on which Apple iPhone’s do their 3G traffic. Sprint may be the only carrier with the nimbleness to go beyond being a pipe, but they signed with Palm. Verizon, with greater coverage could be even slower in bureacractic support than at&t but they have the towers. Operator’s do not live in a free market. That is a future to fear. Their worst nightmare? To become the “dumb pipe”. If they continue to retard innovation then they will not enjoy the benefits of either end. Apple deserves a great partner – itself. Handset makers are on notice doing what they can to stay in the game. How soon before operators get the word as the telecom market simply ends up following the piper sprinkling the golden seeds.
Apple figure’s things out. Putting capital and coercive FCC considerations aside, Apple could become the operator with the best wireless Internet services.
Jeff Jarvis’s basic thought-experiment guide “What Would Google Do?”, admits that Apple is the exception to his Google rules. So for the wireless world in which we are entering, where everything communicates and computes in smaller and smaller packages, might Apple add services to its operating plan. What if a carrier were as imaginitive and integrated with customer services and producst as Apple? I find myself full of answers when more and more I ask, “What would Apple do?”