Will 'Cool' Count?

Will apple’s new iphone do for multimedia mobile gadgets what the iPod did for portable music players? Probably not, according to a new study by technology research firm In-Stat. Despite a rapid rise in the number of cell-phones that can play digital music, video clips and fm radio, U.S. subscribers aren’t enticed by these options.

More than 80 percent of those with music-playing phones, for instance, rarely, if ever, download MP3 tracks.

While consumers like the idea of all-in-ones, they often carry separate appliances anyway, notes In-Stat analyst Bill Hughes. “I liken this behavior to the notion that golfers should like the idea of the universal club,” says Hughes. “However, most golfers I know tend to prefer to carry a whole golf bag full of clubs.”

The In-Stat report sees the iPhone as an endorsement for the combined approach, which “may overcome users’ reluctance to the use of their phones as multimedia players.” And while the research firm expects the iPhone to be a success, it won’t be as big as predicted by hyberbolic Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

“My judgment of the research data is that this market will continue to sputter for a while longer,” says Hughes.

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