<< A small update to the last post, "I, Pirate". | Home | News from Missouri: "My iPhone flew away!" >>

How and why Apple got it right

Presentation of the iPhone

I have already talked about my now ex phone: The SPV-C500. This was a phone running Windows Mobile.

I now own an iPhone. I probably never would have bought an iPhone, but it was a gift.

Until I got one, I was very interested by the iPhone. No doubt I already loved it (virtually that is). And I laughed everytime I read an article saying "Nah, it ain't 3G, it's gonna flop". Or the like. And trust me, there was plenty of such nonsense all over the press. How could anyone resume the success of a device to the raw list of its functionnality is beyond me. iPods always have been behing their competitors on the feature list. Yet...

And so history repeats itself with the iPhone. Migrating from the SPV C500 to the iPhone has been going backwards on many levels. Or at least not going forward. No memory card slot, no replaceable battery, no standard Jack connector. And that's just on the hardware side. On the software side: No video recording, no vocal notes, no contact sending through bluetooth, No instant messaging, no games, no ability to search (textually) for a contact, no synchro without a wire, no mass storage (to be fair, the SPV is "almost" a mass storage), etc...

The only things that got better are the gorgeous screen, the 2MP camera and the EDGE network (and Wi-Fi). And even there, apart from the screen, the iPhone is vastly behing the competition. For instance, you can't place a call through Wi-Fi. No 3G. Camera is only 2MP, no flash.

And there, I remember almost every article before the iPhone got out shouting: "What the h*ll ? This is a lost cause. It's never going to work."

The first thing when you turn the thing on: You have a bunch of icons, under which is a short text that describes what it does. All of the iPhone software is there, one tap away from your fingers. And the label clearly states what you are going to find behind, save Safari and iTunes where, if you're not an Apple afficionado, you might wonder what the hell it means. When you start a Windows Mobile phone, you have a Start menu... Icons in the main screen don't have any labels. You're stuck to explore, when you should just have to choose.

The second thing you will notice is that there is no user guide. WHAT ???!! No user guide ? There is a small notice explaining a dozen tips, but no user guide.

And the explanation is that you don't need a user guide. Everything seems natural and sleak. Simple, powerful and sexy. And as always with Apple, you have the frustration of not being able to fine tune anything. That is the price to pay. And the price is small compared with the benefits.

The main problem with my SPV C500 is that most "advanced" features are so clumsy to use that you just get used to ... not using them. Getting to the calculator is 6 key taps. It is just too much for such a simple application. Not worth it.

There is the "lock-in" factor as well. I can install any app I want on my SPV, not on my iPhone. That said, I played a bit with my SPV that way, and ended up not using any app at all, save the MP3/Video player. The iPhone is already loaded on that front.

Complaints about my old phone? It doesn't work. If you really use extra features (camera, media player, etc...) the thing will let you down on a phone call after several days of uptime. For sure. So you don't use the extra features anymore.

Another complaint? The user interface has been designed by a "blind monkey". I love that expression in that it is very visual, funny and right on spot. To be really fair, there are a few things - interface wise - that are really well thought out. The rest is horrendous. On the iPhone, everything is on the same level. Simple, intuitive, appealing.

In short, the iPhone is something you get used to in no time. Will I get tired of it? Only time will tell. For now, given the choice, I'd go back to no other phone.

Tags : , ,