Apple’s competition is catching up designing sexy, iPhone-like gadgets: Research In Motion’s (RIMM) new BlackBerry Storm, for example, is probably the closest. So Apple’s software lead is increasingly important.
One of Apple’s iPhone software advantages has been many years in the making: The Mac software industry. Because the iPhone is based on the same OS X that Apple uses for its Mac computers, we think Mac-familiar software engineers and designers were able to hit the ground running. This has resulted in many iPhone apps and games more attractive and sophisticated than what we’ve seen on other mobile phones.
This isn’t new news, per se, but it’s been underscored by two things we’ve seen in the past week:
- RIM’s BlackBerry Storm launch last Friday. A good looking gadget several months in the works with software and a user interface that’s still far behind the iPhone’s, and weak third-party software offerings.
- A new, fast-paced iPhone puzzle game called Frenzic, which went on sale on Nov. 16. It’s fun, tricky, and gorgeous — one of the best looking apps we’ve ever seen for any platform, especially for mobile phones. And it’s created by The Iconfactory and Austria-based ARTIS Software, which have both been making software for Macs for more than 10 years.
Does this mean that good Mac software makers will leap to the iPhone instead of rivals like Google’s (GOOG) Android? No. Does it mean that good Mac software makers who try to make iPhone software will make good iPhone software? No. Does it mean that all popular or good iPhone apps will come from Mac veterans? Of course not. Does it mean that all iPhone apps are good? No way — many are crap.
But as mobile software becomes increasingly important, we think the Mac’s gradual ascent has given Apple (AAPL) a leg up against iPhone competitors like RIM, Microsoft (MSFT), and Symbian (NOK), whose current software just isn’t as slick.
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