My Take on Someone Elses Take on One Month With the iPhone

Dave Weiner writes about his first month with an iPhone. I generally share his criticisms, but he gets off to a rough start by resorting to a common but intellectually dishonest journalistic touch at the beginning

He uncritically restates the overly simplistic headline of a NY Times story, (thereby reinforcing it) and takes it at face value as a segway into the rest of his own piece.

The NY Times reports that iPhone sales are disappointing, I’d like to add that the product itself is disappointing.

This is a problem, because the NY Times story draws shakey conclusions based on suspect and incomplete data. The only data available when that story was written was the # of iPhone activations on AT&Ts service over the first 30 hours after launch. That number is not the same as the number of phones Apple sold in the first weekend, it doesn’t count Sunday, July 1st, and it doesn’t take into account the phones that people didn’t activate immediately, either because of AT&Ts systems problems that first weekend, or because the buyer didn’t have time right away.

The NYT compares the 142K phones activated in the first 30 hours to the most wildly optimistic estimates of iPhone sales for the entire weekend.

As to his critique, I agree that rendering full web pages intended for desktop browsers isn’t the ultimate mobile web experience, but I don’t think Apple thinks that is the whole story. By making the web at large practical for mobile users, Apple brings more mobile users to the web at large. This creates a larger installed base, which creates incentive for publishers to invest more effort in creating optimal experiences for users of small-form-factor devices. Plus, mobile safari gives them a rich platform for developing that experience. Apple has provided a mobile device with backwards compatibility on the web, while also providing the incentive for 3rd party developers to take advantage of the new features provided by the platform.

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