In a package that weighs less than five ounces, Apple is giving people a phone, voice mail, an organizer, an e-mail device, a camera, a video player and--most important--a Web browser display. And there are other devices on the market from Motorola, Nokia and Research In Motion, among others, that offer similar capabilities.
Then think about this: The iPhone is coming out as the market for on-demand Web software--the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model--is catching fire. Gartner, in March, said the worldwide SaaS market hit $6.3 billion in 2006, and predicted that the market for on-demand Web applications would grow to $19.3 billion by year-end 2011. Most business people already use some online applications--e-mail, business intelligence, customer relationship management and, most likely, some financial package. And just about every software company, from Microsoft to SAP to Oracle, is laying plans for even more robust applications tailored for the Web.
Now think about Apple's marketing muscle, and remember that there were MP3 players on the market for some time before the iPod arrived and changed the music business forever.
Will the iPhone herald a similar shift? Will we see mass adoption of handheld Internet access products?
There are some I.T. experts who think so. Indeed, says Mike McGuire, a vice president of research at Gartner, the combination of on-demand Web applications and a portable device that can access those applications "is going to set a new standard in how you present information."
Potential applications are everywhere, including sales, distribution, supply chain, retail and medical. It's easy to envision the units at the assembly line, the hospital bedside, the loading dock and the boardroom.
Source: Baseline, http://www.baselinemag.com
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