It was a mixed day for Apple yesterday. Thousands lined up to purchase the iPhone 3G, those that got their phones acted as if they won a lottery and there was great excitement around the brand launch. In Tokyo, a gentleman arrived at 6.30 am to the Apple Store only to find about 1300 people already ahead of him. Overall, the phone got good reviews (see CNET’s review here) and the new App Store is seen as something that can change the way applications are distributed around the world. But its not all good news. Technical hitches plagued Apple through the day, across all markets. Those that bought the machine could not activate it, lending it a mere expensive brick. See here, here, and here. The phone still lacks some basic features, available in less expensive phones. So the hooplah around the launch is slightly tainted with the glitches galore and sime mixed reviews. As the New York Times said, “Apple’s stumble was an unusual one for a company that has taken pains in recent years to become more customer-oriented. The technology blog Gizmodo dubbed it the iPocalypse. When the original iPhone was introduced, AT&T took the blame for most of the early service problems.”
I guess Apple was not prepared to handle the demand. 6 million current users upgraded their phone software and several new buyers were activating the handset – all at almost the same time, causing a gridlock.
What I was excited about was the App Store. Hundreds of new applications exclusively meant for the iPhone have been created by developers. Some are free and some are paid-apps. Apple has a revenue sharing mechanism with these developers. Many of the apps are trivial, but some are cool. You can get the app only if you have an iTunes Store account. Since I don’t have one (you need a card billed in countries where there is an iTunes Store), I was majorly disappointed. This has potential to be a huge thing. The top paid-apps were usually games (ranging from $0.99 to $10). The Guardian of UK says: early third-party applications are disappointing, but every rainforest needs a carpet of decaying litter to flourish.
The apps make for great eye-candy. I am familiar with the iPhone-optimized sites, thanks to my iPod Touch and it makes surfing on a phone a pleasure. If you have a mid-range or a premium phone in India, chances are that you have GPRS and some apps lurking in the innards of your phone. How often do you use them? Many of the handsets in India have options to download a paid-software? How many of us actually download a paid software? Very few I would imagine. The app store has potential to change all that and make some developers deservingly rich in the bargain.
Apple, please launch the iTunes Store in India. I assure you that the bank of music, video and audio products available in India is mind boggling. There is a market for international music, Hindi & regional film music, music videos and other such in India. And we have credit cards here too.