- Focus. Apple is marketing the iPhone by stating that it "combines three products". Is it a phone? Is it a digital media player? Or is it a device for accessing the Internet? A lack of focus often leads to product failure.
- Naming. Cisco is suing Apple over the name "iPhone". More importantly, the name is generic. Generic names usually make the worst brand names.
- Differentiation. Apple tried to "think different" in designing the phone. Did they succeed? The phone includes a "visual voice mail" feature in which you can view a list of your pending voice mails and select which one to hear. I don't know of any other phone with this feature. Most of the other hyped features (including touchscreen dialing) seem to be available in other phones.
- Brand extension. Apple changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc. The iPod is not a personal computer, yet it has been a huge success for the company. The iPhone is another deviation from the notion of Apple as a traditional computer company. For what does "Apple" stand in the mind of the consumer?
- Pricing. Apple chose not to compete with other phones on price. Competing on price is typically an indication of incompetence in marketing or a lack of differentiation. A high price, on the other hand, sometimes is perceived as an indication of greater value.
UPDATE: While no mobile phones have the feature, the concept of visual voice mail is not new.