Faced with saturated mobile phone markets, mobile operators and handset vendors in Europe and the US have been searching for new mobile data services that can drive increased average revenue per user (ARPU). But most of those efforts have ended in disappointment. Despite heavy investment, most data ARPU in the US and Europe continues to come from the Short Message Service (SMS) (Pawsey, 2006). The disappointments include:
- Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) was expected to produce heavy browsing of data on mobile devices, but most of the traffic did not materialize.
- Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) was supposed to drive extensive sharing of photographs over wireless connections. Although many users happily acquired subsidized cameraphones, the photos they take generally stay on the phones rather than being sent to others.
- The smartphone was supposed to drive a constellation of new mobile data services and applications. But smartphone sales grew more slowly than initially forecast,i and more importantly, those that were sold have generally not driven the hoped-for rapid growth in average revenue per user (ARPU). Telecom analyst Dean Bubley argues that smartphone shipment data should be heavily discounted because it "includes a huge number of 'closed' operator-customised phones developed on theoretically open OSs (eg DoCoMo FOMA use of Symbian & Linux) which are locked-down for 3rd-party software, plus a vast number of Nokia S60-based devices bought by people who neither know nor care that their device has an open 'smart' OS. The proportion of smartphones bought by individuals who knowingly choose an 'open' & flexible software platform is probably less than 20%." (Bubley, 2006)
- But this report was written in 2007 when iPhone have not reached maturity. The new Smartphones such as iPhone 3G/3GS/4 have changed the total landscape of mobile internet. Coupled with easy to use GUI and amazing applications, the users now use the device differently from the days of Year 2007.
- Apple, either knowingly or not have transformed the way we look at the Internet.
- But then again, Apple is unlike any other Company, its brand was its greatest asset. "What are the great brands? Levi's, Coke, Disney, Nike," Jobs told Time in 1998 " Most people would put Apple in that category. You could spend billions of dollars building a brand not as good as Apple. yet Apple hasn't been doing anything with this incredible asset. What is Apple after all? Apple is about people who think outside the box, people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference and not just to get a job done"
- With the introduction of iPhone in Jan 2007, iPhone 3G in July 2008, iPhone 3GS in June 2009, iPad in April 2010 and the recent iPhone 4 in June 2010, Apple has tremendously helped the growth of Mobile Internet usage around the world.