Third Opinion on Dvorak's Second Opinion (Update 2)

John Dvorak argues that Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone in his latest column. He says Apple products work best in emerging or declining markets. For example, the MP3 player:
Then there was the online music distribution business, again unfocused and out-of-control with little marketing and a lot of incompatible technologies. So Apple comes in with a reasonable solution, links it to the heavily promoted iPod and bingo. A winner.
He's got it in reverse. Apple came out with iTunes first, then the iPod. The iPod was Apple's portable solution to the music distribution problem that they solved years before with their Rip-Mix-Burn iTunes software. And I'm not sure the business would be languishing without Apple-- it just wouldn't be as sexy. Sony, Sandisk, and Microsoft have music players, as do a number of phones, and the party's just starting-- Verizon is heavily promoting it's music-playing cellphones, for example.

He argues that the cellphone market is in the process of consolidation, with Nokia, and of all companies, Motorola, being the two leaders. Nokia may be a leader, but it's hardly buying up the competition-- LG, Samsung, Kyocera, RIM, and Palm all have stakes in this game, and they're not going quietly (at least Palm isn't). And Motorola just crashed after announcing lower earnings due to lack of cellphone sales and management departures, and sources say there isn't much advanced R&D for future products either.

He also says the margins are small. This is completely untrue. The reason for the excitement for the iPhone is that people will pay a premium for portable technology that works. If Mr. Dvorak uses a cellphone he would know that most of them have too many features that no one knows how to use, most of which do not do what we want them to-- like tell us how many minutes we have left and what each call is costing us, or get us on the internet without limiting us to a 10x10 pixel view.

What naysayer Dvorak is missing is that the Apple iPhone is a paradigm shift in cellphone architecture-- it's no longer the hardware that will drive sales, but the software. Apple is shipping a blank screen-- what is on it 3 months from now when your average razor-flip-camera-phone becomes unhip depends on the latest software release Apple-- or another third-party vendor--pushes onto it.

Don't mistake the iPhone for just another entree on your provider's menu of products-- it's a whole new menu.


No Impact Man

The Times has an article about a guy attempting to have "no impact" on the environment for a year:
The Year Without Toilet Paper
I wrote my comments on his blog:
I have to say that this makes me angry-- self-congratulatory sustainable living in a city is much like bailing water from the titanic. I wish I could see it as a baby step towards better living, but I'm afraid things have to get much worse before they get any better. It seems like a great experiment while you can afford it, but what happens if you both lose your jobs and have to declare bankruptcy? Do you continue your experiment when you are struggling to put food on the table, or do you throw all your high and mighty ideas out the window? I'm sorry but I can't help thinking that people like you can live any way they please. Good luck in your exclusive club, New York Times articles written about you, guests marveling at how brave you are in taking this on, writing about your experience so that the other 1% can support you and think for a second about their impact on the world before they reach for another canape and change the subject.
And more comments on another blog:
It is clear to me after reading Mr. Beavan's reaction to the Times article (his "If I could change that bit..." PR move) that he is doing this to make money off the resurgence of the green movement and to sell his book and documentary. How quaint for two upper class, young professionals and their small daughter to experiment with no impact living, while not giving up their New York penthouse and privileged jobs. In the past year I have done my part to reduce my carbon emissions-- I live 15 minutes from work and ride my bike there everyday, buy from a CSA during the spring and summer months, and practice the three R's-- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. But I am not writing a book about myself or stand to gain economically from my living. I think Mr. Beavan's extremism and time limit on his "no impact" lifestyle is detrimental to the whole idea behind leaving no footprints. What is he going to do when the year is up? Return to his old ways? Lighten up a little? His reaction-- drastic changes to a problem that has been ongoing for longer than he has been alive (increase of greenhouse gasses)-- is overdone. Instead of swearing off toilet paper and trash for a year, he should consider the small changes he could do now-- or even the drastic change of moving to the country and starting a small farm... but then he wouldn't have a book deal, would he?
Yes, they are angry and negative, but that's how I feel when upper class people with better lives and more choices than me preach about how I can sacrifice my life to make things better for their world.