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It’s The Interface Stupid!

by Sachin Balagopalan on June 27, 2007 · 1 comment

iphone11.jpg

After months of hype and not to mention the media frenzy the Apple IPhone will finally hit the stores on Friday, June 29th. As with every other product Apple has launched it has managed to get the public involved in almost a cult like fashion. By all accounts people have already started to linger around flagship stores across the country hoping to stake out their position in the front of the line by the time the doors open on Friday at 6:00 pm.

As with every other phenomenon or revolution or whatever you want to call it, there is a method to the madness and the IPhone event is no exception. Sure the “manufactured” hype and frenzy is responsible for a lot of the madness but there has to be substance to the madness as well. The Wall Street Journal today does a great job reviewing the IPhone in an article aptly titled Testing out the Iphone. Every other sentence in the article has some kind of direct or indirect reference to the user interface (UI) of the IPhone.

If you strip out or look beyond the UI there isn’t really much in terms of revolutionary technology. In fact it’s a bit archaic.

But the iPhone has a major drawback: the cellphone network it uses. It only works with AT&T (formerly Cingular), won’t come in models that use Verizon or Sprint and can’t use the digital cards (called SIM cards) that would allow it to run on T-Mobile’s network. So, the phone can be a poor choice unless you are in areas where AT&T’s coverage is good. It does work overseas, but only via an AT&T roaming plan.

In addition, even when you have great AT&T coverage, the iPhone can’t run on AT&T’s fastest cellular data network. Instead, it uses a pokey network called EDGE, which is far slower than the fastest networks from Verizon or Sprint that power many other smart phones. And the initial iPhone model cannot be upgraded to use the faster networks.

To be fair however the device is Wi-Fi enabled a feature not many other smart phones can boast. It also has the smarts to automatically switch from EDGE to Wi-Fi as soon as it recognizes an accessible network which could be advantageous in some cases but a drag in others especially if you’re mobile and you keep dropping the Wi-Fi connectivity and switching to EDGE.

Apple has figured out a long time ago that the majority of the customers don’t really care about the underlying technology or how cutting edge it is. Wrap it up in a nice cool looking package and you have whet the appetite of most of your consumers. I’m not trying to minimize the effort Apple puts into R&D and innovation as a company but all their efforts are concentrated in some fashion to the presentation or the gloss and not the plumbing. Other smart phone companies don’t get it when it comes to the interface and usability.

It has the largest and highest-resolution screen of any smart phone we’ve seen, and the most internal memory by far. Yet it is one of the thinnest smart phones available and offers impressive battery life, better than its key competitors claim.It feels solid and comfortable in the hand and the way it displays photos, videos and Web pages on its gorgeous screen makes other smart phones look primitive.

This basically sums it all up - great form factor, great resolution and a great UI. After the hype is over post July 29th this is what users are going to be talking about. Sure these early wave of users are basically the early adopters and they will be essentially QA’ing the IPhone and weeding out all the glitches. As long as Apple keeps up with fixing the bugs and releasing periodic firmware updates they will continue to attract a loyal following.

Watch out for other smart phone companies following suit.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sofia 07.02.07 at 11:32 am

I agree to some ext. Isn“t the cyberspace the crazyest thing ever? hahaha greetings sofia

http://sofiawinterborn.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/sofiaisnt-the-cyberspace-the-crazyest-thing-ever/

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