iPhone will trail mobile market, unless Apple adds a keyboard

10 Jun 2009

A leading technology industry analyst has railed that Apple has missed out on an opportunity to broaden the appeal of its iPhone portfolio, and said the lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard will give the Palm Pre a decisive advantage in the smartphone stakes.

Earlier this week, Apple launched its latest iPhone – the 3G S – which comes with a brand-new 3-megapixel autofocus camera, video-recording and the ability to send multimedia text messages plus cut-and-paste text.

The company also launched its OS 3.0 firmware that existing iPhone and iPod touch owners can use to upgrade their devices and get 100 new software features.

But analysts at Strategy Analytics are unimpressed, and say it is new software but in the same old chassis that Apple uses for iPhones and iPods.

In a new report entitled ‘iPhone 3G S: New Improved UX, Same Old Hardware’, the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab research team argued that Apple’s strategy fails to tailor the size and physical interface of its device to the needs of segments outside of its primary target group.

“Phone size is a key factor in the mobile device purchasing decision for 84pc of mid-tier mobile phone buyers,” explained Kevin Nolan, vice-president of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice.

“Strategy Analytics believes that the iPhone is above the upper size preference threshold for many of these consumers. Until Apple adds a physical QWERTY keyboard, the iPhone will trail devices such as the Palm Pre for the mobile messaging experience.”

Paul Brown, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added: “While the numerous enhancements to the iPhone 3G S are likely to solidify Apple’s position as a provider of the premier mobile user experience, we believe the company’s strategy for expanding its dominance outside of its core target audience is insufficient.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Strategy Analytics analysts say Apple’s decision not to have a physical QWERTY keyboard on its new iPhone 3G S means it has missed an opportunity to broaden the mainstream appeal of its smartphone

Image courtesy of Apple