Is Richard Sprague going to eat his words?

A year ago Richard Sprague wrote:

I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone. Even some of my blindly-loyal pro-Microsoft friends and colleagues talk like it’s a real innovation and will “redefine the market” or “usher in a new age”.

What!?!? Without even mentioning that the same functionality has been available on PocketPC, Palm, Nokia, and Blackberry for years, I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful). People need this to be a phone, first and foremost. But with 5 hours of battery life? No keypad? (you try typing a phone number on that screen, no matter how wonderful it is — you will want a keypad). And for all that whiz-bang Internet access, you absolutely need the phone to work, immediately, every single time. Will it do that?

So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction: I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008. Okay, it’s possible there are enough Apple religious people to buy a lot of them at first, but even the most diehard Mac fans who buy one of these will secretly carry two phones. One to prove how loyal and “cool” they are, and the other to actually make and receive calls.

I remember the lessons I learned working with the Newton team many years ago. I was in Apple’s marketing department at the time and we did this big fancy user study which basically proved that nobody would buy the thing at the price and functionality we were building. So what did we do? We shoved it into the market anyway because it was “cool”. Cool is great, but you still need to make phone calls.

Now how did that work out?

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