iPhone sales disappoint – now don’t forget the Mac!

After the most highly anticipated consumer product roll-out in recent memory, I suspect I had a lot of company dialing into Apple’s earnings call today. A lot of speculation about iPhone sales figures would finally meet up with some real data – at least that’s what we hoped.

And we did get some data. The numbers look pretty bleak, and the online world immediately erupted into a passionate defense of Apple.

So with a few hours of contemplation in hand, let’s see what we now know.

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Business 2.0 and Christian Science Monitor picked up my iPhone piece

Well I’m humbled and proud that both Biz 2.0 and CSM picked up on my iPhone blog; two of my favorite publications. Biz 2.0’s editor Philip Elmer-DeWitt found my post ‘long and thoughtful’. (Yes, finally when I write columns I have all the space I want!) And the Christian Science Monitor invited me to write an oped piece to summarize my blog; it’s on their web site and (as I understood it) will be in the print run tomorrow.

The iPhone posting also invited a lot of commentary, check them out. There are some interesting observations. Some criticisms, but, by and large, after all the commentary and further thinking, I pretty much stand by my story. So an opportunity to write an 800-word version was nice. Check it out.

7/7/7 and why media needs crowdsourcing

A (now increasingly rare) return to network news reminds me of a key driver for crowdsourcing in news: quality. What on earth makes Katie Couric think that the best authority to interview on the significance of the number “7” (apropos the 7/7/7 date) is a “numerologist”? Why not a historian, or an astronomer, or a mathematician? Even I know more about the number 7 than the “expert” on CBS.

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iPhone’s missing killer app: social networking

The reviews are in, hundreds of thousands of proud iPhone owners are playing with their brand new toys over the July 4th weekend. The hype has been (very) high, but the wonderful internet resources of today – digg.com, google, mac forums, youtube, etc – have responded with expediency in weighing the pros and cons of Apple’s foray into mobile platforms. This in addition of course to more traditional reviews and commentary such as those by Walt Mossberg at WSJ, David Pogue and John Markoff at NYT, and Steven Levy at Newsweek.

So we know the industrial design is solid from PC World’s harsh testing, the guys over at ifixit.com have taken it apart, over at macrumors.com literally hundreds of reviews are looking at the device from all angles, and several wikis have been started (at least five by my latest count). Smash has documented the 10 things that suck, we now know that it wasn’t a sellout (except at the poor smaller AT&T stores), and that the poorly recessed headphone plug doesn’t work with most 3rd party headsets. The inevitable mobile phone pundits have compared it with the N95, Blackjack, Curve 830, and Treo, AT&T accumulated some bad press with all the activation issues, and predictably all manner of opinion abounds about the lack of a tactile keyboard.

People have even dissected precisely how the design of the iPhone has changed since Jobs presented it at MacWorld in January. Not to mention sites that assemble a COMPLETE gallery of every single user interface aspect (I’m not even linking to that).

Steve Jobs is positioning the iPhone as the third leg of their strategy chair. He is saying that the iPhone will reinvent the notion of a cell phone in the way that the Macintosh reinvented the notion of a computer.

I disagree. I don’t think the iPhone fundamentally innovates over and above the existing offerings, in the manner that the iPod, the Macintosh, and the Apple II all did in their day.

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iPhone day

Yeah, it’s sad, but I’ve actually allocated the day to get myself an iPhone.

I’m also running the twitter channel for SF Bay iPhone “line tracking”.  If you’re bay area and want updates, sign up to twitter and then send “follow ipSFBay” to 40404.  See you in line!

Oh, yeah, I might actually even write an iPhone review. How about that for originality!

A $50,000 Virtual Wedding Ring?

Well it has been an excellent day, I’ve really enjoyed the panels, and the organizers did an excellent job in getting key people to participate. It’s always nice to attend “early day” summits before 75% of the participants are there to learn the basics (e.g. Web 2.0 this year) as opposed to being actual movers and shakers in a nascent segment (and they were very much in evidence here). Again, kudos to the organizers.

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Virtual Goods Summit 2007

Hanging out at Virtual Goods Summit 2007 at Stanford. I’ve been working on a HUGE posting about virtual worlds – with an emphasis on World of Warcraft, so sitting in the audience with a wifi connection should prod me to make some progress on that!

Virtual Goods is, of course, all about the brilliant notion of making cheap virtual goods and selling them to a captive audience for real-world money. It’s a surprisingly large market. One of the first speakers was from Tencent, the operators of QQ, the major China web site. Some 65% of their quarterly revenue of some $100M is from virtual goods. This might sound like a lot, but considering that QQ is Alexa – ranked 10 in the world, it’s actually a relatively humble number.

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The New Era of Scaling

Intel seems back in form over the past year or so. The Core 2 Duo systems (in particular the MacBook Pro I’m writing this on) is incredible and not matched by AMD; and Intel is continuing to rediscover the fact that the x86 instruction set (IA) pays all the bills at Intel so perhaps shouldn’t be treated with total disregard. Many of the announcements from IDF in Beijing last month were reinforced in various Intel talks here at MPF today.

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Microprocessor Forum 2007

Just uploaded my draft of a morning posting on my In Progress page. Fun stuff in the pipe from Intel.

Web 2.0 could be a little more Web 2.0

Last month was Web 2.0 expo, and I recently got the “give us feedback” email. So I thought I’d give some feedback, and shoot a pointer to this posting over to O’Reilly. [UPDATE: never heard back from them.]

The Web 2.0 expo was intense and rewarding, so let me start by saying that I really enjoyed it and it was well worth the time and expense. Kudos to the organizers for putting together a great program and attracting a great crowd.

However, I was struck by how “un-web-2.0” the conference was. And I don’t mean in the manner that most participants were whining about – the low-capacity wifi solution and the dearth of power plugs (bring a second battery; buy a broadband card). What I’m referring to is the soul of whatever “Web 2.0” is.

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