What iPhone 2.0 says about the global economy

I have now had a chance to watch Steve Job’s keynote (well, 3/4s before traffic clogged up the stream). The new applications for the iPhone are amazingly good and most impressive is the ability to develop these — they developed one during the keynote itself (well pretty much). I had 10 application ideas before the talk was over; most of which I believe my 7 year old son could program. (I need to download the SDK right away). What is more, Apple have made it simple to distribute this through the iTunes store. And what is more, all of the business apps, will be a huge challenge to the Blackberry. All other mobile platforms have just been disrupted.

But I want to focus here on what is perhaps more significant: the iPhone, so previously an exemplar of US-centric thinking in business, is now the pre-eminent example of global thinking. Jobs said, “We need to sell in more countries.” Everything about 2.0 is attuned for the non-US market. Starting with 3G that hardly exists in the US, there is language support at an unprecedented level. This includes Chinese character recognition developed in a way only a touch screen keyboard can allow.

There is more. The App Store is a way for developers to “reach every single user.” As one of the developers said, “the Apps store is the only place you can sell and distribute your programs to the entire global market.” It will be available in 62 countries; that is more than music, movies or anything. It just goes to show what you might do when you are freed of copyright holding masters. We can only wait to see what the pricing will be like. Will it be one price or currency based? This will be an important signal as to the future.

I think the iPhone 2.0 will mark a significant change in how we think about global economic leadership. Up until now, almost all consumer-oriented innovations have been US focussed. Now I suspect that Apple have recognised that their future lies elsewhere; earning non-US dollar revenue. It takes advantage of the fact that in emerging economies, most computing power is lying with mobile devices and it exploits that to the hilt. This is the new world we are living in.

2 thoughts on “What iPhone 2.0 says about the global economy”

  1. Apple have traditionally been very mindful of international markets. There’s an apocryphal story about the early Unicode meetings where an Apple engineer started to speak about representing ligatures and symbol unification.

    “Pfft, who cares about that?” says another engineer, variously ascribed to be from Microsoft or IBM.
    “700 million in India. 800 million in China. 100 million in the Middle East”.


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