2009 is over and very soon the Mobile Data Association will be releasing its messaging figures for the year just gone. These are going to be much more interesting (to me anyway) than most years because of one thing – the iPhone.

In June last year, Apple released the 3.0 update which enabled long-awaited MMS functionality on the iPhone 3G. The newer iPhone 3GS shipped with MMS as standard. What affect will all these dormant iPhone have on

Lets take a look at the figures:

Video and Picture messages (MMS) usage stats for the last 3 years in the UK:

2008 total 553 million (+104 million from previous year)
2007 total 449 million (+113 million from previous year)
2006 total 336 million

These statistics can be broken down as follows in 2008:
Year on year growth (2008 vs 2007): 23% growth

As you can see the growth is pretty steady, which is great because it makes any spikes easier to spot. You would normally expect something in the region of +/- 10 million from 2008s figures for 2009.

I’ll check over the figures when they are released for any¬†abnormalities, and do a bit of digging to see they can be attributed to the iPhone. The majority of the spike would need to be from O2 as they had exclusivity on the iPhone until late 2009.

A far cry from the MMS is dead talk hey?

What’s interesting is how much a phone with a great user experience can improve usage of traditional mobile services. If the iPhone can have a massive effect on MMS, imagine what it could do to Mobile TV and Video Calling?

Could one phone bring down the barriers that have held back these services in the past? I honestly think it can, we’ve seen how applications have been transformed with the iPhone.

In June I wrote about the potential of what the iPhone could do for video calling, although it never happened with the 3GS, the next update could prove different.

However it’s not just down to the iPhone to aid adoption of services, it’s down to operators too. Without unlimited data plans would iPhone applications have been so successful?

MMS, Mobile TV and Video Calling needs to be thrown into flat rate tariffs otherwise they will never succeed. The iPhone played a massive part in making flat rate data the norm, maybe it will have the same effect on other services.