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article imageApple iPhone Losing Market Share to RIM, But Patent Could Indicate Future Features

By Chris Hogg     Jun 1, 2008 in Technology
RIM is cleaning up in the smart phone market, but for how long? The 3G iPhone is widely expected to be launched in a week, and documents released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show iPhone features we haven't seen yet.
Digital Journal -- Investors and tech heads can never get enough Apple iPhone news, and this patent-filing by Apple, released this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, surely won't disappoint.
The massive 371-page document includes a number of product diagrams for features now well known in the iPhone, as well as many that have never been launched. The iPhone patent reveals features such as a GPS, video conferencing, video recording, and a "blog" and dictionary application that Apple has not included in the iPhone as of yet.
iPhone Patent
The patent filing for the Apple iPhone shows features not yet available on the handheld, a possible indicator of what is to come.
Screen grab, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Everyone wants to know what is next for iPhone, so many bloggers and analysts have been scouring the Web and mainstream press for news about anything. Apple has a goal to sell 10 million phones by the end of the year, and investors don't want the company to fall short of that goal.
Everyone is waiting for June 9, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at the Worldwide Developer Conference. It's widely expected he will announce the next-generation 3G iPhone for sale immediately (3G phones will make the iPhone's data connection faster, along with quicker Web browsing and video streaming) and pundits are waiting to find out how Apple plans to gain smart phone market share.
A report from IDC shows Apple has been losing market share in 2008 to both Research in Motion and Palm; RIM scored 44.5 per cent of the market for the first three months in 2008 (up from 35.1 per cent in the previous quarter); the iPhone placed second with 19.2 per cent market share (down from 26.7 in the previous quarter); and Palm placed third with 13.4 per cent of the market (up from 7.9 per cent in the previous quarter).
The first look at these numbers show a belly flop for Apple, but the smart phone market is more intricate than what the numbers show. For example, iPhone users or prospective iPhone customers could be holding out on purchasing a handheld if a 3G unit is coming. The 3G iPhone has been rumoured now for months so Apple could be losing market share because of its upcoming (anticipated) launch.
Apple is smart, so it knows it has a lot to do to catch up, so Jobs' keynote in a week's time could be a whopper. A 3G iPhone would be a big push forward for the device, but I would imagine Apple won't stop there. Expect the company to announce new iPhone partnerships, features or unique monetization opportunities for developers. The company needs to get market share, and needs it in six months. Expect a very aggressive Apple in the coming months.
As a final note, it's worth pointing out something on the first page of the iPhone patent, namely who got credit for its invention; the header on page 1 notes a number of inventors for the device, but Jobs is listed at the top of the page. That's right, under inventor it reads "Jobs; Steven P. ; et al." No doubt Jobs has popularized the device, and likely played a vital role in its development, but is this self-congratulations taken to the next level?
iPhone Patent
In the iPhone patent filing, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is listed as the inventor of the device.
Screen grab, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
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