Years ago, Apple launched the "Think Different" campaign. It worked nicely. When your customers are a small minority, why not make them feel special? Otherwise, they will just leave you.
Few years later, Apple has made a spectacular comeback. The AAPL stock went up almost 10% in after hours trading today. They are selling Macs and iPods like crazy (and a few iPhones ;-) They are becoming mainstream. Why? Because they now sport Intel laptops, iTunes runs on Windows and so on. They are thinking mainstream...
Now I am starting to wondering what they have in mind for developers on the iPhone. If you look at their current propaganda, it is all about Web 2.0 applications. Do they really think running apps on a mobile browser is the best for us? Do they really believe this is the way for thinking differently in mobile, instead of having applications on the phone? Are they really crazy?
Maybe not. If I look at my iPhone tonight, I have full ssh access as root on it, I can sftp files to it, I have a Funambol icon on the screen that opens up a browser (separate from the Safari one)... I have full control of the iPhone and I can develop any app I want on it. I do not need the browser anymore, I can create real local mobile apps (I just wish I had the time and the skills to do it ;-)
Now, it took our beloved hackers three weeks to make it. It was too easy. Too easy. The root password can be cracked in 12 seconds with basic tools. The system is completely open, once you have control of it. It is a developer dream, that leaves Windows Mobile, Palm and BlackBerry in the dust.
I have the feeling Apple left the door open. They could not do it "officially" because at&t wanted to control everything, from ringtones to applications. The door is therefore officially closed, but you just had to push it a bit to slam it open. Now we can build real mobile applications and more...
They might be still thinking differently. But they are becoming way smarter at it. They are now thinking mainstream, and they still make you feel different.