Even thought Apple was not officially present at the recent GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (now running through February 19), the Handset of Jobs still commanded a lot of attention from the attendees.
F'rinstance: Skype's announced alignment with Nokia and Sony Ericsson to provide voice-over-IP functionality didn't have quite the impact all parties involved would've liked — because the iPhone already supports VoIP apps in a way that doesn't tick off AT&T. Similary, Cisco's reveal of WebEx software for latter-day BlackBerry, Nokia, and Samsung models got a "been there, done that" reaction from everyone who knew the iPhone already had it. Nokia's Ovi software store? Microsoft's Skymarket? Can you say "App Store," boys and girls?
Every announcement, it seems, smacked of "well, WE can do that, too. So take that, iPhone!" Yawn.
Given's Apple's care as to when and where it makes major tech announcements (the type usually reserved for CES), their absence almost made sense. Keep in mind, as well, that despite the meteoric success of both iPhone hardware and software, the House of Jobs is still a lightweight in the handset industry; consider how many different phones an LG or Motorola offer, for different worldwide platforms. Apple? One handset. (Okay, two, if you differentiate between the 8 gig and 16 gig models…)
But it's clear that one handset has set the bar for everybody else…