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Magical. Revolutionary. These are the words Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs uses to describe his company's iProducts.
"iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone," Jobs said in introducing the iPhone in 2007.
So far, he's been right. Apple has already sold 50 million handsets, and media reports say that AT&T (NYSE: T ) has already taken 600,000 pre-orders of the new iPhone 4. This looks like yet another iWinner in the making.
Skeptics such as Tomi Ahonen say the new handset cedes a huge chunk of the smartphone market to Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) for failing to include a QWERTY keyboard.
Others will tell you, rightly, that Palm (Nasdaq: PALM ) was well ahead of Apple in allowing two or more apps to be active at the same time, a process known as multitasking and a signature feature of iPhone 4.
And, of course, there's AT&T, whose security gaffes have caused trouble for first the iPad and now the iPhone. Gawker reported yesterday that users who pre-ordered the device may have had their personal data exposed.
Troubling? Sure, who wouldn't be troubled by these breaches? But I'm not convinced they'll halt Apple's momentum. Nor am I convinced that Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) big Android partners, Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) and HTC, will blunt the iPhone's edge.
Instead, I see this as becoming a two-horse race in which the major app platforms -- iPhone and Android -- vie for dollars. Apps are catnip for today's mobile users and these platforms are attracting more than their share of coding talent.
But I'd still bet on the iPhone over Android because of its international reach. China has taken to the device. So has South Korea. In each case, Apple has left open the possibility of doing business with more than one carrier.
How big is Apple's iPhone opportunity? By volume and scope, bigger than anything the company has ever undertaken. That's why growth grabbers continue to like the stock at these levels.
But that's also just my take. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Tell us what you think about the iPhone opportunity by voting in the poll below. You can also leave a comment to explain your rationale.
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