Yesterday, a Twitter follower of Mr. Scoble stated that he thought "iPhone users were beyond reason," referring to the almost unnatural fixation that most of us have for our phones. Scoble brought up a very good point in his blogged response -- every app that comes out on the market (more than 85,000 at this point) provides another way to customize your iPhone to the way that you live and work.
In order for another manufacturer to come out with a device that will pry that iPhone out of our fingers, they're going to need to exactly duplicate or surpass the functionality that we've become used to. That's not likely to happen, in Scoble's opinion, because the 85,000+ apps that filter down to a couple of dozen (or hundred) apps on each iPhone turn that iPhone into something completely unique. It's not likely that any iPhone user is going to want to give up that up unless every app in the special combination on his or her iPhone is replaced by something better.
It makes sense. I've worked with all of the other smartphone platforms, and in no case have there been compelling apps that hold me to the platform. With the iPhone, I've tried thousands of apps, kept about a hundred, and those hundred apps let me work and play the way I want to. iPhone developers have also made sure that the apps are simple to use, too.
Perhaps the Android or some other smartphone platform will eventually evolve to the point that there is a critical mass of compelling apps that provides the same magical combination of power, ease-of-use, and fun, but until that time the iPhone will reign supreme. That's even despite Microsoft CEO and iPhone hater Steve Ballmer's recent assertion about the iPhone, "That's why they've got 75,000 applications -- they're all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone."
Obviously Mr. Ballmer hasn't used an iPhone, or he'd realize that the iPhone is much more than Web apps. That might also give Ballmer a clue why Windows phones aren't even on the radar for most smartphone buyers today.