Although some have been critical of Apple over the past year about its decision to block third-parties from creating applications for the iPhone and its reluctance to bring much-desired functionality to the device, the company has turned the tide and is doing everything right.
Over the past year, Apple has learned quickly that the cell phone business is extremely difficult to be successful in and realized that its tried and true tactic of keeping its device closed off to outside companies is not the best way to do business.
If nothing else, Apple has gone through the growing pains of selling a cell phone to the world and has the scars to prove it. But in recent weeks, the company has turned the tide. Instead of floundering like many other companies in its position, Apple adapted and has single-handedly built the framework it needs to become the dominant player in the cell phone industry.
Ever since it was first announced, almost everyone has complained that the iPhone doesn't have a chat application. Can you text your friends? Sure. But why can't you IM them too?
So maybe that desire isn't the most well thought-out -- let's face it, no other cell phone has a really great chat app -- but it was a sticking point nonetheless. Realizing that, Apple has filed for a patent that would bring iChat-like functionality to the mobile phone. Is it a guarantee? Of course not. And as we're all too aware, companies of that size file patents every day for any conceivable idea just in case something big happens in that space years from now.
Regardless, it shows that Apple is in tune with what's going on in the market. People have demanded a chat app and Apple has given in to those demands. Will it come soon? No one knows. But you can rest assured that Apple is listening to what we want.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the company's decision to allow third-party developers to create applications for the iPhone. Should it have happened months ago? Sure. But the very fact that Apple is allowing developers to crack open its iPhone and let people have just about any app they want, shows that Apple knows what's really going on in the industry.
In the cell phone industry, a locked-down phone simply doesn't work. And although it took the company a while, it eventually realized that the iPhone simply wasn't doing what it should and it offered few possibilities for growth. And in an environment where competing products are capable of doing much more than the iPhone, that was simply unacceptable.
On top of that, Apple realized that third-party applications could make the device a more business-friendly gadget and in order to compete with RIM, that's a necessity.
To make the iPhone even more enticing to business, Apple unveiled a slew of enterprise improvements including push email, calendar syncing and Exchange support. And as businesses rejoiced and RIM groaned, Apple made its intentions clear: control the entire cell phone industry.
Finally, and perhaps most important, Apple announced on Tuesday that it acquired a chip design company that could have a major impact on the iPhone and the company's other mobile products. According to the company, the chip designer's powerful, yet low-power components would make them an ideal solution for the iPhone and help lower the cost of producing the device without sacrificing quality and functionality.
For once, a company in the cell phone business has realized that in an extremely competitive market with slumping margins and a small window for success, integrating its production is key. And now that it controls a chip designer, is there any stopping the company from pushing the limits on the iPhone and putting RIM and other smartphone manufacturers on the run?
Although I think there leaves much to be desired with the iPhone, Apple is setting its plans in motion and is doing what it should to turn the tide in the business and create an environment where it will not only profit off the device, but become the dominant player in the industry.
And if nothing else, RIM better be worried.