Putting aside the issues about how the iPhone is a locked device and whether Apple actually owns the iPhone brand name (or whether it’s Cisco, The Internet Phone Co.), a big question that must be asked is whether Steve Jobs and Apple have badly stumbled out of the gate from a public relations perspective with the iPhone’s launch. In other words, here you have Jobs confidently striding on stage to finally unveil the much-anticipated iPhone only to have the world start to push back on a number of issues after the initial euphoria evaporated.
It’s pretty stunning given how savvy Jobs has been over the years in terms of manipulating the Apple message. Apple is cool; Apple isn’t Windows; Apple has street cred; Apple isn’t evil; Apple is user-friendly, the iPod is ultra-cool, blah, blah, blah. You really have to ask whether Apple pulled the trigger too early on the iPhone before all its ducks were in a row properly. The growing concerns about DRM, the iPhone’s closed environment, and the ability to not use third-party apps suggests Apple didn’t think everything through as well as it should.
So, what happened? Did Apple jump the gun too early – something that has some credence given the iPhone is six months away from actually seeing the light of day. What couldn’t Apple have waited another two or three months so that many of the sticky issues that have popped up in the past week couldn’t have been resolved? Did Jobs/Apple believe something dramatic had to be produced MacWorld? I don’t know about you but the iPhone backlash seems so, well, un-Apple. For more, check out Gizmodo, Michael Parekh and Tom Raftery.