15 January 2007

Apple's iPod/phone mashup

I'm purposefully steering clear of Cisco's iPhone brand name in the title of this post in the event that Apple lose the impending court battle. Not that this will make much difference now that every reference to Cisco's product is now buried underneath a mountain of links to Apple's. Anyway i will hereafter refer to Apple's product as the iPhone although i recognise this is Cisco's brand name yada yada...

I wasn't going to blog anything about the iPhone because there seems to be plenty of that going around already, all along the lines of "The 10 worst things about the iPhone (but i'm still going to buy one)". However the comments in an article on the BBC News website entitled From iPhone to iGroan have prompted me to get writing.

It occurs to me that a lot of the contributors to the article haven't really considered their comments and are just complaining for the sake of it, the TV show "Grumpy Old Men" springs to mind, however...

I'll start my deconstruction of these arguments with this excert from one of the contributors:

The functionality really doesn't differ that much from some of the mobiles already on the market. It's just another example of how well Apple have mastered the use of brand loyalty.

When the iPod came out it didn't differ in functionality from other MP3 players on the market. The things that set it apart were its design and Apple's meticulous attention to detail making it perform those functions in the best way possible. You just need to look at the number of units sold to know that it's not just the loyal Apple fans who appreciated that and bought one. Its success had nothing to do with brand loyalty and everything to do with the fact that Apple had created a great product.

Older people seem to miss the point of convergence devices, saying things like "Why do i want to take photos on my mobile phone?". The point is convenience. Your mobile phone, by its nature, is something you have with you most of the time. By building functions like cameras and music players into them it means that with no extra effort you can also take photos or listen to music when you want to. How many time have you wished you'd had a camera with you? How many times have you remembered a favorite song and wanted to listen to it straight away?

Several contributors allude to the fact that they have somehwhat of a love/hate relationship with their phone. They can make calls but all the other features are hidden away behind a labyrinth of menu screens. Convergence devices are all well and good but as Apple know there's no point making something unless it looks nice and is easy to use. Just as with the iPod, it's these two factors that will set the iPhone apart from the crowd and it's these two factors that will ensure it's a hit with not only the iPod generation but also the skeptics.

This leaves me asking one question - in this day and age, where cultural misunderstanding and racial hatred are rife, how can anything that facilitates better communication be a bad thing?

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