(…about the Apple iPhone?)
So I made bold statements yesterday that the Apple iPhone is just as revolutionary as the computer was some 30 odd years ago, while most tech journalists gave it an objective look with pros and cons.
So yes, I am drooling for about 30-35% of that statement. The rest of it though, is grounded in some analysis.
So here is why I (still) think the iPhone is going to permanently dent the world.
1- This is the first revision of their product line. Considering the high cost and risk of the consumer electornics industry, first revisions always have limited features and poor designs. The aim is to improve it over time. Take a look at MS Zune and XBox, TVs, Apple II (PC), Nokia 3300 series, and even Apple’s own iPod. They were all ugly and awkward and have taken years to evolve into beautiful design.
The iPhone’s first revision puts Apple in front of most of the cellphone pack, and gives them a chance to channel that revision into even more amazing design features over time.
2- The cellphone industry is one of the toughest to enter into today. When Apple introduced the iPod it was actually easy because the only next best thing were CD Players (anyone remember those things?) But the cellphone industry has been rife with mature designs and extensive feature sets. Take a look at Moto Razr , LG Chocolate and Nokia N-series, which are all fairly impressive products — as the package goes.
For Apple to make such an impressive entry into a crowded mature market is certainly remarkable.
3- Apple iPhone represents all of my product design perspectives. Their entire UI is built almost precisely as I’ve been advocating phone UIs– pure user-first design, not technology-first. It is a good lesson in usability studies and ease-of-use.
4- I am not looking at iPhone as a product, I look at it as a platform. Think of all of the features of the iPhone as just a big technology demo (“Hey look at what we can do with these high-quality rendering — we can do a google maps with a richer UI than ajax”)…. this gives them an incredible base to build on top of. Specifically, they could create any wireless solution they could think of with the mix of widgets + EDGE + rich UI.
So, I expect not only consumer-side design to change, but I also expect the concept of software on phones to change permanently as the iPhone rolls out into mainstream consumer acceptance. This point then represents a time in history after which all the cellphone / software companies started doing things differently. It is a bend.