The iPhone 4 is our flavour of the month!

We’ve spent months building up to the local launch of the iPhone 4 and now that it has finally hit South African shores, it seems that all the hype was completely justified. Proof of this is the fact that Google’s Zeitgeist tool, which provides insight into Internet search trends, revealed that the Apple’s iPhone 4 ranked number one in terms of internet search interest in SA by the beginning of this month.

And if that’s not enough, by 11am, on the first day of its launch, Vodacom SMSd all its customers to say “Thanks for your interest. The newest Smartphone in the world was, however, SOLD OUT on its debut.” Regardless of it being great PR by Vodacom, this kind of overwhelming consumer interest is extremely telling when it comes to the future popularity of iPhone apps. And the fact that we’re a leader in the development of Smartphone apps means we’re perfectly positioned to take advantage of this huge step in the evolution of the Smartphone.

In this issue: In tandem with the local launch of the iPhone 4, we focus on a number of issues surrounding this worldwide phenomenon. We also feature a fascinating piece by immedia Head Strategist Anice Hassim on FaceTime that has got everyone talking well…face-to-face!

How FaceTime changes everything

immedia Founder and Head Strategist Anice Hassim says the Apple phenomenon of FaceTime has raised some interesting social issues such as…how will cheating lotharios hide their assignations when their spouse simply says “switch to FaceTime”?!

Last month Apple updated its line of iPods with iPhone without the telco version of the iPod Touch, complete with Retina Display and more interestingly, FaceTime. Having spent almost six months on a Wi-Fi only iPad, I was anticipating that the FaceTime feature would be more useful than most were expecting.

What I was not expecting was the many ways in which it creates changes in expectation once you have it weaved into your family.

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Why Africa should prepare for smartphones… and Apple rising!

A year ago, the Apple iPhone launch, the arrival of the mythical Jesus Phone on Chinese shores, was met with a collective yawn from the market. On launch weekend, Apple barely managed to move 50 000 units. Consumers punished the initial iPhone for China for lacking WiFi, a failing quickly remedied a few months later.

A year later and riding the iPad wave, a sleek glass tower in downtown Shanghai lit up the sky with crowds hundreds strong queuing to get their hands on iPhones and iPads. The iPhone 4 moved 250 000 units from China Unicom on launch weekend, with Apple selling directly an undisclosed amount (although surely substantial) against a backdrop of riots, scalpers and rampant fan adulation – in other words, business as usual for Apple.

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Sooner or later everyone loves the iPhone!

Moneyweb’s resident techno geek Hilton Tarrant contributes to Broadband, a column that covers the ICT sector in South Africa. After a few years of umming and ahhing about the iPhone, now that he has one, he can finally see what all the fuss is about!

First, a confession: I finally get it. After years of stubbornness and (not-so-polite) scoffing at friends and colleagues who couldn’t put their iPhones down, I now understand the allure. I’ve hardly been able to put my iPhone 4 down over the long weekend (pretty good timing for a launch). Human beings have that giddy fiddle-with-everything period with most new gadgets, but then again with the iPhone there’s just so much to fiddle with. There are around 270 000 active apps in the US iTunes App Store (with over 50 000 inactive ones)… lots to play with.

It’s easy to dismiss a Smartphone that you haven’t had a chance to use properly. Typing a quick SMS or flipping through app screens on a friend’s phone does not count (as I’ve figured out).

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