I have a lot of debates with people about the iPhone, and so for posterity’s sake, I thought it prudent to write down my prediction of the iPhone’s future.
What most people don’t care about is that Apple has always been a very closed, very proprietary company. That is why they lost the first war against IBM. This time around, however, they hired some marketing geniuses (to whom I give unconditional kudos), which blinded everyone to Apple’s core philosophies.
Microsoft’s Windows Mobile was never much of a platform because, as I’m sure they now realize, they only put a half-assed effort into developing it. This is what Microsoft always does until they have a reason to do otherwise.
But then comes Android, which I see as a very large threat to Apple’s closed platform. Sure, it’s been here for a little while, but we’re just now seeing some real phones being built that use it. At first it will only appeal to geeks and developers because it is so open. However, it is only a matter of time before the applications surpass those that currently exist on the iPhone.
I say the Android applications will surpass those available on the iPhone because the Android is so much more open to developers. There are already 10,000+ apps available to it, and this number is bound to grow exponentially as the platform is embraced. Linux-minded developers aren’t the only target, either, due to the existence of Microsoft’s Silverlight platform that the Mono project has developed.
Because of this, unless Apple makes their platform more open (e.g. removing restrictions from their 3rd party software distribution network), I foresee the software development community embracing the open Android platform, and the Android taking, at very least, a large chunk of Apple’s market share.
Unfortunately for Apple, if history is any indication, Apple has no intention of ever making things more open.