All right, time for my take on the latest iPhone announcements. The big lesson: SMS and email will remain most important for those who want to reach iPhone-using consumers.
At first glance, you might think, ”No, Web ads will reach iPhone users best.” A logical conclusion, given the way Apple is focused on changing mobile Internet the way it changed digital music. But I disagree, and believe older messaging technologies will stay relevant for iPhone users.
First, consider the impact of the hotly-anticipated price break. Handsets will start at $199 for an 8-gigabyte model, so Apple needs another way to reap revenue on its high-margin gadget. To that end, AT&T is subsidizing the lowered prices – but is increasing its iPhone data plans by about $10 per month. Since it will cost more to use mobile Internet, consumers might not want to spend as much time online with their phones – and thus could be less likely stop and look at ads, or let themselves be directed to websites they didn’t intend on viewing when they turned that iPhone on.
Meanwhile, as reader ”Martin” noted earlier this week, Apple’s gadget still lacks MMS (multimedia messaging) capability. Especially when communicating with friends who don’t have the same handset, then, besides voice calls iPhone users are left with: SMS, for text-only messages; and mobile email, which is the only way they can send out photos from their 2-megapixel camera phones – thereby taking up precious mobile Internet time as mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Of course, some may point to the $199 starting price as reason to think a lot more consumers will switch to the Apple handset, making iPhone-specific modes of communication and content the most important. But those on a budget – and, lets face it, that’s the majority of cell phone users in both the U.S. and around the world – are going to stick with cheap phones with SMS. Meanwhile, executives who ditch their BlackBerry for the iPhone will still need colleagues, bosses, and subordinates to be able to communicate with them via email.
No doubt about it: SMS and mobile email will remain at the forefront, no matter what Apple does.
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”