The iPhone hit the stores five years ago today. Before it hit the stores, industry pundits had much to say about the future of the new device, much of it bad. Network World has revisited these “experts” to see what they have to say for themselves now.
Over the past few days, I’ve reached out to some of these prognosticators via email and asked: “What do you have to say for yourself?” The good sports replied — including a colorful mea-culpa-tinged, Apple-bashing rant from John (“Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone”) Dvorak.
We’ll just touch on a few of the comments and “apologies” here, I recommend visiting Network World at the above link for the whole story.
David Platt: author, teacher, wrong about the iPhone.
Then: “The forthcoming (June 29) release of the Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld (dating myself again, aren’t I) combined. And it’s not for reasons of price, or limited cell carrier options, or lack of corporate IT support, which are the mainstream media’s main caveats when they review it. (See the June 19 issue of the Wall Street Journal for the latter). … Instead, the iPhone is going to fail because its design is fundamentally flawed.”
Today: “Often mistaken, never in doubt.”
Al Ries: marketing consultant, author, wrong about the iPhone
Then: “When Apple introduces its iPhone this month, will it pass the acid test? In my opinion, no. Prediction No. 1: The iPhone will be a major disappointment.”
Now: “Well, I was certainly wrong about the iPhone, which turned out to be a miracle of engineering. But my larger point was the issue of divergence versus convergence.” (Huh?)
Mitchell Ashley: IT executive, blogger, wrong about the iPhone
Then: “I’ve blogged in the past about Apple’s remarkable ability to innovate and set new directions in our industry. But as much as Apple is able to innovate, they are just as inept at dominating markets they enter. The iPod is really the only exception, and iPhone will fail to dominate as so many other Apple products have failed to in the past. The iPhone is certain to fade into history …”
Now: Seems it was a personal thing. His email to McNamara reads:
“Never say anything out of spite — just get over it. My blog post received massive page views but it was an epic fail. I wanted the iPhone to fail out of anger for all those difficult years prior to Apple adopting Intel and the Mach OS kernel. Now we support Macs alongside PCs where I lead IT and my family sports iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macs. Apple was big enough to admit they were wrong, and now so am I. Through it all, Steve Jobs never stopped being one of my tech heroes.”
John Dvorak: MarketWatch columnist, wrong about the iPhone
Then: “The hype over the unreleased iPhone has actually increased over the past month despite the fact that nobody has seen or used the device. This, if nothing else, proves the power of branding and especially the power of brand loyalty. It’s the loyalists who keep promoting this device as if it is going to be anything other than another phone in a crowded market.”
Now: Dvorak primarily blames Apple for forcing him to opine about a device he had not held. This is how his piece ends:
“When I actually got to see the phone I was enthralled like everyone and regretted getting screwed over by the Apple ‘machine.’ But it was an entertaining exercise and a lot of Apple fans think it’s hilarious I could be so wrong. But these people never liked me in the first place. And as for my prediction that this phone would be a bad idea for Apple to pursue, anything can still happen. Time is a cruel mistress.”
Even when pundits admit “I’m wrong”, they find a way to consider themselves to be right. So the next time you read an opinion about a new product, service, or device, take it with a grain of salt. They’re not always right, but they’re never wrong.