Mark Hewitt - June 29th, 2007
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is widely recognized for his Product Prowess – the ability to build to the consumer’s dreams – and the creation of the iPhone is another great example of that ability.
The iPhone however has done one thing that will change the way you see and view wireless devices – it may actually be the primary catalyst in reforming the Wireless industry.
Upcoming infrastructure called WiMax technology is growing in much the same way as did Cellular across the US market, where today we have several duplicate networks each incompatible with the other – in other words my Sprint phone won’t work on the Verizon network, or my ATT phone won’t work on the NexTel system, TMobile won’t work on Alltel – and so on.
The original idea was that competition would bring the best technology to the top of the food chain – the reality is that the overall US Cellular networks have been obsolete and still today US subscribers pay more for less service than any other place in the world.
We are today all aware of how the propriety nature of each of these carriers has led to failed innovation and competitive features – for example my Verizon phone will not play MP3 music files because the carrier though by restricting the phone’s actual music player to play only Verizon downloaded music would make them more $$.
The iPhone has now broken this choke hold on the consumer – ATT in order to gain the exclusive rights to this new device has broken their own service agreement. Today iPhone users will be able to watch video, play music, and interact with the Internet without carrier restrictions.
Others will follow – now let’s see if Congress and the FCC will move to standardize the Utility of wireless or continue to push our economy and infrastructure back into the dark ages. (which I highly doubt will occur)
I predict that the initial release of new WiMax services will also follow the Cellular model and carriers will build exclusive networks. This however will be set back in a couple of years when the increases of cancer and health issues from these new high powered devices become recognized. (it is interesting to note that new WiMax spectrum is very close to that of Microwave Ovens) The next iteration will center on the “Unlicensed” spectrum where standards begin to take over. This is called WiFi technology and even though it is Unlicensed this will become the dominant “Last Mile” of wireless – and while I don’t believe the current 802.11N will be the standard that does this, it will tend to be a protocol that incorporates error correction similar to EVDO or perhaps just basing the primary radios on QAM – regardless within three years the rest of the market will begin to see a clear path to a Standard Wireless world.