…a lithograph of the Mona Lisa is never going to be worth more than the original even if the lithograph is nominally “better” because it uses archival quality pigments and has brighter colors. People will always value the real thing more than a high quality copy.
Interesting argument by Chris Seibold that claims the iPhone has stifled innovation because competitors are focusing only on making a knock-off, not on innovating to make something better. This isn’t the iPhone’s or Apple’s fault, and Seibold doesn’t say it is, but there’s some merit to his overall point.
Look at the competition’s ads aimed at the iPhone. They’d have you believe their “innovation” is, for example, using a hardware keyboard. Yet a hardware keyboard runs counter to a hand-held touch device. I wonder how many are used not because it’s a Good Thing, but because they can’t wait for a decent software keyboard to be completed before shipping the product. The Palm Pre sure feels like this.
For another example, look at Android’s fragmenting market of phones with different screens, hardware keyboards, software keyboards, varying UI experiences from handset makers, etc. Google doesn’t have the power (or desire) to prevent this, so it’s touted as a “feature” of the platform being “open”. Yet a fragmented market will limit Android’s overall appeal and success. See Windows Mobile for an example of that. Millions of WinMo units sold, but all so different there’s no UI consistency, and no cohesive entity — like iTunes and the App Store — to make a complete system that breeds customer satisfaction, loyalty, and a disincentive to go elsewhere.
In short, the only “innovation” from iPhone competitors so far has been to copy as much as they can, and then spin what they couldn’t copy as a “feature”.