iPhone: 2nd-gen phone in 3rd-gen market?

The iPhone: not just another smartphone, but a reinvention of the PDA

The iPhone is "a cool toy," says Aleksandra Bosnjak, lead telecoms, media and technology analyst at StrategyEye Digital Media. "But that's it."

Ahead of the UK iPhone launch on Friday 9 November, Bosnjak is one of many people voicing reservations about Apple's do-it-all smartphone. We've had some ourselves. There's no 3G in this version. It costs £269 (and that's just for starters) and the 2MP camera is hardly high-tech.

iPhone not such a smart phone

"The end result," suggests Bosnjak, "is a second generation mobile phone in a third generation market... Many of the iPhone features are wants not needs. It whets consumers' appetites, rather than satisfies their hunger."

All good points. But let's not overstate the 3G issue. Nokia packs 3G plus Wi-Fi into its N95 and, should you use either on a regular basis, you'll typically not get much more than a day's usage out of the phone. Many users have found that they need to charge their N95s up every night. This is hardly ideal for a so-called smartphone.

She's dead right about the camera though.

The very fact that the iPhone is a 'jack-of-all-trades' phone means (if we adhere to the old saying) that's going to be 'master of none'. As we've written before, you can think of the iPhone as a phone with a built-in iPod. Or you can view it as a sexy, connected PDA (or Internet Tablet), that you can also make calls with.

Part of a bigger strategy

We agree: the iPhone isn't the most advanced phone in the world. It's allure is in the way that Apple has presented and designed its features. Aleksandra Bosnjak suggests that the iPhone's impact will be wider than just the mobile phone market. The iPhone could be part of an Apple strategy that embraces the 'connected home' or 'digital home'.

"The iPhone is just another example of a 'connecting' element," says Bosnjak, "and possibly the most critical one - in Apple's quest to conquer the home market through its devices, content and digital content distribution."

And while Carphone Warehouse expects to sell 10,000 iPhones on Friday, there might not be the mad rush to buy one that we witnessed in the US.

"We believe that Apple's key challenges in the UK and the rest of Europe with this product will be to fight consumers' price sensitivity," adds Bosnjak. Apple will be reaching out to "mainstream, picky mobile users who want full content portability rather than a partial service".