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Imagine a world where no-one much cares for an iPhone – You’re living in it

Have you ever asked yourself what the world might look like if the Apple iPhone was NOT the most popular phone in the world, and if Apple simply becam

By PETER WHITE

Published: 24 February, 2011

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Have you ever asked yourself what the world might look like if the Apple iPhone was NOT the most popular phone in the world, and if Apple simply became just another company? No we’re not saying that Apple never existed, just that after it revolutionized handsets and cellular devices and other “connected” devices such as the iPad, it then faded into being an also ran?

Could it happen? Well let’s not worry about the fickleness of consumers right now and how they view brands, but let’s assume it COULD happen. What would the world look like, post iPhone, if Apple was once dominant, but no longer?

Apple fans everywhere will be cringing at the thought, but we thought the same back in 1978 when Apple really did invent the PC industry, and then along came the PC, and then Windows and there is every chance that history will repeat itself. It’s not a certainty, but there is a chance.

This is not just Faultline’s predilection for backing the underdog (though we heartily backed Apple when it was the underdog), but because there have been a few headlines this week which made us ask this question – first that the iPad 2 may be late, and secondly that the iPhone has now fallen behind HTC devices in popularity in some parts of Europe. You add the fact that last week the Wall Street Journal talked about European and US legislators looking closely at the terms and conditions Apple is imposing on iPad content suppliers. The European Union is said to be “monitoring the situation.” Effectively Apple’s terms prevent Android Market offering content more cheaply (this is already common with Apps) as well as raising fear, uncertainty and doubt among some content suppliers whether or not they will upset Apple if they sell their own product from their own web site.

There is no greater way to erode a giant than to bring it under anti-trust scrutiny, just as its popularity wanes, and when it begins to get the technological side of its knickers into a twist.

The reports of iPad delays come from Yuanta Securities analysts quoted in Bloomberg, talking about “production bottlenecks” at assembly partner Hon Hai Precision Industry in Taiwan. This has resulted in some design changes made by Apple in February which might push the shipment date back from April to June, which in turn will give other tablets, mostly Android based, a chance to catch their breath and catch up some revenue points. This is particular good for challengers Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 version. Previously, like lambs to the slaughter, these products would have hit the shelves just as news of the imminent iPad 2 emerged, which would have slowed sales.

It could be that the reports of delays are not true, or that Apple goes ahead and announces this in March for a June delivery. But both strengthen rival offerings.

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