iPhone Versus the Rest: More Evidence Smartphone Makers Are in Trouble

Apple’s iPhone is without a doubt a game-changer for smartphones, whether it actually sells well itself or not. Smartphones have simply been to clumsy to use to be practical for a wide audience. That all changes with the iPhone, and it doesn’t even have to sell well – nay, doesn’t even have to actually be available – in order to harm the competition.

According to USATODAY, Cellphone users set their sights on Apple’s iPhone: Priya Sanghvi wants an Apple iPhone from AT&T’s Cingular Wireless when it comes out in June, and she is already strategizing how to get it. Now a Verizon Wireless customer, she’s exploring a range of options, including trying to wrestle with Verizon to let her out of her contract early, using one of the new online swap services to dump the remaining months of the contract, or even just paying the $175 early-termination fee.

“I just
switched from a Dell to an Apple laptop and love the Mac lifestyle,” says Sanghvi, 22, a recent graduate of New York University. “I never go anywhere without my iPod and cellphone. Now, I’ll only have to bring one device with me.”

Cingular will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone. The multifunction device is expected to ship in
June and cost $499 or $599 with a two-year contract. Part-iPod, part-smartphone, it is already one of the most eagerly anticipated
gizmos of 2007.

Like Sanghvi, Atlanta software customer service manager Nate Mansfield is ready to dump his Verizon service
with a year remaining on his contract, even though he’s perfectly satisfied with it.

He’s got iPhone fever, though he’s never seen the phone in person. He says that from what he’s read about it, he expects it to be a more productive tool for his business.

With potential buyers scheming months in advance on how to get hold of an iPhone, it’s a safe bet they won’t be buying a BlackBerry, Treo, Nokia, Motorola, or whatever. And yes, we know there will be some people who prefer the traditional models and continue to buy them. But many of them will also wait to check out the iPhone, just in case.