Category: developers journal

How I embraced iPhone, trashed my “normal” phone and what have I learned

Author: Daemon October 28, 2009

From the very release of iPhone I was seriously against it. From the pesky idea that everything is locked to Apple (let's get real, most of the people do not have skill or confidence to Jailbreak it), over the "OMG I do not want to install iTunes", to the software keyboard which lacks feeling of clicking it.

A lot of people still think this way, and reject the very idea of having iPhone or iPhone-like device.

However, the main reason behind such reasoning is the idea that has embedded in our heads over the years of using normal, call it "stupid"-phone. We are used to the pattern of using our mobile phones to make calls and send SMS. If you love charts, here is one:

Some Graphs!!11

You see, when Apple released iPhone, people were furious about "how will we make phone calls, browsing the Contacts is hard, sending SMS is super-hard with no keyboard, ...". And yes, to this day, I still agree with this. It is pretty hard to send SMS while you are walking, practically impossible. It is pretty hard to find someone in the Contacts (mainly because search filed is not fixed at the top, rather you have to scroll up to get to it), and it takes ages from the moment you decide to call someone to the actual call if that person is not in your Recent calls list.

However, iPhone, and smartphones in general, are not mobile phones. They are computers that let you do whatever you want (more or less, let's not argue on this one) and making calls is just a small fraction of possibilities they offer. With that in mind, I will gladly send that 2 hard SMSes daily, and at the same time have super-convenient access to Facebook, Twitter, email and other communication services.

Continuing this rant, there was a nice post about iPhone not winning the game in the long run mainly because platforms that are coming in (Android and Maemo for example) will be more open to developers and to people using them.

I - STRONGLY - DISAGREE

If this all was happening 10 - 20 years ago, then yes, I would agree. The metagame was different then. However, as we as civilization make progress, we are looking more and more into DESIGNED objects and not MASS PRODUCED objects. The designers (all sorts of designers, industrial, digital, interface, ...) have enough knowledge today to produce really neat, almost perfect products and objects. The failures on the market will, soon, cease to exist. Remember Nokia's N-Gage? Sure you do. It was fail of epic proportions. Mistakes like that are very likely never going to happen again in any field any more. All new products are tested, designed, tested again, honed to perfection, prototyped, redesigned, and then launched out.

The people do not want to choose from 20 bad devices any more. People want ONE GOOD DEVICE.

People do not want to download 300 free software that is hard to use and poorly designed. People want to pay for ONE GOOD SOFTWARE.

Open type of thinking for Android means one thing: thousands, ney, MILLIONS of applications and phones that suck. On the other hand, Apple will have to at least look once at the Application before it hits the App store. I am not saying App store is full of diamonds and pearls, but at least everything there has been looked at before it went to the open world.

Not to go into territory of evil applications that do some malicious things while you are not looking. Deleting your contacts, using your phone as an SMS bomber device, and many other fun things that will happen on open platforms.

Being able to control Applications and it's hardware, Apple controls your user experience of iPhone. And they are doing it well. Do you think that multitasking (e.g. running Apps in the background) is disabled on iPhone because Apple programmers suck? No, it is disabled on purpose to give each application full processing power. This means that your experience with iPhone will always be the same - flawless. Whereas if you run apps in the background on your "other" smart-phone, you will have to think what to close in order to play that 3D game, etc ...

I firmly believe that controlling the User Experience - and that experience being REALLY good - will outmatch open type of unattended approach. Design will outmatch mass production. And time here is on the Apple's side - the further we progress, the more designed objects we will want.

Author
Daemon

    2 thoughts on “How I embraced iPhone, trashed my “normal” phone and what have I learned”

  • Must say I mostly agree with everything stated above. Ask me 3 years ago if I would ever pay for an app to keep my tasks organized, would I? Of course not! And when my dear friend Nino comes and shows me where and how I can get it for free, do I? I don’t? I rather pay 10$, and stop fooling myself that I can hack anything, even a toaster. Make something well designed and I will pay for it.
    Fact is, 3 years ago, if I wanted something spectacular on my phone, I had to ask others to do it for me. Now… Now I don’t.
    Users are all ready suffering from choice paralysis in different aspects of their lives, and while it is in consumer’s nature to strive for diversity, a new appreciation is being found for the simple things that just work. So what am I really trying to say?
    As market for technology spreads to new segments of our society, the bar is being raised for all companies. Apple has shown that you can empower the user, while others still depend on the users to power their products. Design better, and don’t think that just because I can (or in my case can’t), I want to add value to your products. Just give me the value, and I’ll give you profit.

  • I agree with almost everythig said.

    Apple has already with the macbook generation of products taught the market that well designed stuff sels. Simplicity sells.

    You can even lack some basic functions the competition has, if your product is better designed and simpler.

    P.S. About those 2 hard SMSes, they can be pretty expensive if you get hit by a car while typing-walking. Almost been hit a few times, I should know. :))

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