Why do people confuse success with failure? I'm referring particularly to today's reports on recent surveys which suggest considerable interest in the iPhone, but are being reported as warnings of failure. What's all that about?
You see, first thing I thought when I read a survey claiming one-in-four people would switch networks in order to get their hands on an iPhone was "oh, that's a lot of people".
I think that's pretty good going for the gadget – after all, this is a busy market, (100 million handsets sell each year), so convincing 25 per cent of users to be potentially interested in switching smells like success to me.
But it's being reported as failure. It's as if some reporters think that the iPhone will be a failure unless it achieves the same level of dominance within the mobile industry as the iPod has in terms of music players.
That's ever so sophistic. You can't accuse an unreleased product of potential failure when you describe an unrealistic target for it.
No one in their right mind would attempt to create a product designed to dominate the mobile phone handset industry in one single move. Except us journalists, probably.
The mobile phone industry is incredibly diverse. It serves such a wide array of needs that one product just isn't going to take the business over, no matter who makes it.
There's this huge, big, church of different mobile phone users and they all have different needs. Would you believe it, many mobile phone users just want a telephone that they can talk (anyone else remember talking?) to people on.
I understand how astonishing it may seem that many of us still like to use mobile phones to talk to people, and don't give a flying duck how many megapixels the camera has.
Today's surveys aren't a description of failure – that's just headline action – if anything, they prove Apple's stated ten million sales target for year one is conservative – and possible.
Add the recent Canalsys survey claiming half of Europe's iPod users will consider an iPhone next time they upgrade their mobile, and Apple seems on track to hit its sales target.
Isn't releasing a product and achieving your stated sales targets for that product actually a pretty good definition of success?
Success in this won't be measured by these surveys – or the anti-Apple headlines – it'll be measured by how well the device works when it ships, and what feedback iPhone users give their mates about how good – or bad – the device is to use.
Some iPhone users may even use their Apple gadget up to call their friends up to tell them all about it. (I really don't think lack of Exchange support is going to bother many people at all, well, no one with mates).
At the end of the day here, I think Apple is being slammed for potentially failing to achieve an unrealistic sales target the company itself has never said it's aiming for.
Success will be ten million sales in the first 12-months. Stellar success will be eleven million. These surveys suggest stellar success, despite the headlines.
(But if Apple don't get something sorted for .Mac soon, I'll get all antsy, like).