Monday January 22, 2007

I, Phone.

I don’t mean to add fat to the already saturated iPhone discussion, but a snippet from a recent Pathfinder article got me thinking about the real “innovation” that the iPhone is bringing to the table:

Why does this phone elicit responses like Alice’s [...]? Which I fully admit I shared as all the Mac addicts read the real time blogs from Macworld while Jobs was unveiling it. Oh yeah, it is cool!

But what it makes such a big splash is a study in contrasts, and how the competition failed to develop and market something that people can feel affection for.

Feel affection for. I couldn’t agree more. What truly puts the iPhone (and basically all of Apple’s products) ahead of the curve is its ability — even from just a video of someone else using it — to draw a truly visceral, pleasurable reaction from people.

I’ve long insisted that Apple does not sell hardware, or software. Yes, those are the tangible products that stock the shelves. But what Apple really sells is user experience, and that is why the iPhone is getting so much passionate discussion. It’s not about the touchscreen technology or the digital keyboard — although these technologies are certainly impressive. What’s really exciting and innovative about the iPhone is the emotion it elicits. It sparks the imagination. It moves with your touch. There is a real sense of “feeling” the digital space in a way that most people have only seen in the movies.

Anyone can develop technology. It takes a special kind of vision to turn that technology into an experience.

Commentary


Abel Rios » 3861 days ago #

I like to think of the iPhone as “IT”- Inspirational Technology. This is the experience geeks like us have dreamed about in our gadgets. At a point in time, we could only relate to what we saw in movies, now it’s real.

I couldn’t agree with you more on the fact that Apple IS user experience. They understand it and take pride in it. This is why with every product there’s so much emotion.

Nathan Smith » 3861 days ago #

I agree, Apple makes stuff you love. When using a Windows machine, it gets stuff done, but I don’t feel any particular attachment to the computer – not like with a Macbook. One sad thing about the iPhone is that Apple stole the name from Cisco.

Kraemer » 3860 days ago #

Right on, Jared. At the risk of sounding like a consultant, they capitalize on experience synergy between the hardware and the software.

But I think they’re at risk of controlling that experience with the iPhone in the same way they do on computers or iPods. The iPhone will be at the mercy of the provider network. Dropped calls, late arriving voicemails, and other strength-of-signal-related issues are a huge part of phone experience. Will a frustrated iPhone user project their bad experience on Apple when the network drops a call? I think they’re exposed here more than they ever were with Macs or iPods.

Matthew » 3860 days ago #

The only thing that is missing from this swiss army phone – is a built in webcam for realtime video conferencing. Did Apple forget?

Kyle Haskins » 3857 days ago #

You are absolutely right. I’ve heard the same comment about Starbucks. They don’t just sell coffee, they sell an experience. I think Starbucks has even made this into their philosophy.

8 in 48 » 3830 days ago #

That’s really true, I love any Apple product so dearly more than any other. Not only because I spent so much money on it.
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