Every Problem is an Opportunity

Apple is set to announce a new product line this morning — an Apple phone, previously called the iPhone.

The Internet is buzzing about this for one simple reason — the cell phone market today is one huge headache for consumers. The quality of the hardware and especially the software on phones is lousy. The carriers, especially here in the US, are all about lock-ins to long contracts, and towards that goal they use their bag of bait-and-switch, selective crippling, and other lock-in strategies against the consumers that they aught to be serving more honestly. Microsoft has been doing a better job with Windows Mobile, but still is resistant to open standards at the communication layer (e.g. syncing contacts).

Apple has a track record of taking a broken situation involving complex technology, focusing on the basics, and making it actually work. In recent years (since the second coming of Jobs), they’ve flipped to become a fairly steady supporter of standards. So thus all the hope and hype.

In this case, I have a nagging suspicion that expectations are running ahead of Apple’s ability to deliver. Many of the problems are too entrenched — for example, the rumor is that Apple will launch with Cingular, which is unlikely to change its ways for just this single partnership.

But we will soon see. The announcement, whatever it is, is minutes away now. And for anyone with a small business, it’s always useful to watch as others try, as we do, to turn problems into opportunities.

Technorati tags: Apple, iPhone, phone

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