Apple rethinks the mobile paradigm

21

January 17, 2007 by Soo

I love the way the iPhone looks. I love the interface, looks “really easy to navigate”, and coming from Apple, I bet the iPhone experience for calling, browsing the internet and listening to music will be superb.

But from my limited understanding, I have a few questions:

How easy would it be to actually use it?

No one has really used it, we only watched the videos. Personally I find touchscreens difficult to use. Maybe there should also be an alternative way of data entry. How fast would I be able to message on the iPhone?

How would it work with other mobile technologies in the market?

To me it looks like another “walled garden” scenario to me. Right now it’s operator dependent (Cingular) though that may change; and OS (OS X) dependent. Seems to me that’s a step backward for the Open Gardens/Open Source approach we’re all trying to push in the mobile domain. I would love to be proved wrong here. What about third party mobile application developers? What about releasing SDKs? I hope they do that too.

Would you be able to download software from the ‘net and use it on your phone?

A corollary of the earlier questions: in mature mobile markets users download software and applications and use them on their phones. They multitask a lot – voice calls, voice mail, text messaging, listening to music, taking photos, browsing the internet are pretty basic in mature phone markets. They also use the phone to download apps, synchronise with other digital products, play games, record videos, upload to the internet, blog from their phone, run 2 -3 apps at one time. I hope the iPhone does all this.

What about JAVA? I didn’t see it in the specs.

What about battery life?

I know this is a really banal question but I can go for 48 hours easily without charging my N70. With Apple’s slim design I wonder how powerful the battery would be. Would it also be replaceable? (Going by Apple’s products, I don’t think so.)

The iPhone is a wonderful new paradigm in the mobile domain, but I would wait and watch and hope that all these questions have been taken care of by Apple. They are the gurus, after all.

Update: I’m not the only one! Check out this blog post on Starry Hope!

Update: Impact of the Apple iPhone

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21 thoughts on “Apple rethinks the mobile paradigm

  1. rajAT says:

    Iphone a new paradigm in mobile domain ..

    ?????

    I guess steve jobs would be happy to hear that.

    jst tell me wht is there iphone which was nt present earlier right frm touch screen to ipod everything was there ..

    they just packaged it in it ….

    okk you wanna call cool packaging a new paradigm .. then thts u .. 😀

  2. Soo says:

    Even putting all the existing technology together and packaging it beautifully is a new way of thinking that doesn’t really exist in the mobile domain. Though a lot of mobile handset manufacturers are trying to push the envelope, are they succeeding? Maybe Apple will be able to…? They definitely have the guns to go for it!

  3. rajAT says:

    new way of thinking —
    thts wot i am trying to understand here ..

    a closed mobile phone — is tht a new way of thinking 🙂

  4. Soo says:

    just the interface…thats what I meant…

  5. rajAT says:

    hmm dont know wot you mean by interface ..

    i mean which interface in it is paradigmatically new ..

    i hope webster will add above word as thts new 🙂

    cheers,
    rajAT

  6. Soo says:

    You just don’t like the word PARADIGM

  7. rajAT says:

    ha ha ..

    naa .. its too big a word …

    a new tech or stuff should have big feet to fill in the shoe to be called paradigm shift..

    thts wot i feel… but then thts me 🙂

  8. Manu Sharma says:

    As Ziya said on the Sigia List, I too am appalled that some people don’t get the iPhone. It IS a paradigm shift. You will see that when the phone hits the market and sells like hot cakes.
    Ok here are your answers:

    1. “How easy would it be to actually use it? No one has really used it[…] ”

    Wrong. A bunch of people have used it and every one of them have said that looking at iPhone is one thing but taking it in your hand and actually using it is quite another. It’s *very* easy to use by all accounts. The only little hitch people encountered is in typing, but when you compare that with regular phone keypads (not QWERTY ones) it’s way simpler.

    2. “How would it work with other mobile technologies in the market?”

    Why is that an issue as long as you get everything from this phone that you need? Yes, it’s a closed platform. Jobs has said that you don’t want apps to mess up with the phone and break the user experience. They might still allow some apps but it will be in a controlled way, maybe in the widgets area they might allow some downloads.

    3. “Would you be able to download software from the ‘net and use it on your phone?”

    I think I answered that above.

    4. “What about JAVA?”

    It won’t be allowed. But again, who cares as long as most of the needs of the majority of the users are getting fulfilled.

    5. “What about battery life?”

    Please do your research!!
    iPhone has 16 hrs of battery life for songs and 5 hrs for the phone. That’s better than the best of the phones out there. Your N70 has 3-3.5hrs of total battery life. So in total, the iPhone has over FIVE TIMES the battery life of your phone.

  9. Soo says:

    Manu > Read the Open Source point again. Many times phone manufacturers & operators will only give you what they want.
    I can tell you, an evolved user will find the iPhone a bit hampering as he will not be able to customize it to his lifestyle.
    Manu, in mature markets, a mobile phone has even replaced a laptop, a digital diary, even a pedometer! Do you think an iPhone will ever be able to do that if it’s not open source?
    I would use the iPhone because I think Apple is the last word in DESIGN, but I would also carry with me another device in which i can carry around my whole life!! Check out Jan Chipchase’s work if you’re not convinced.

  10. Manu Sharma says:

    You said: “Read the Open Source point again. […]”

    I just did. Look, nobody cares what the phone makers have been doing because they really suck at what they’ve done on the user experience front so far. As Ziya said and as I wrote in my first reaction to the iPhone ( http://tinyurl.com/yvdpax )… these guys think only in terms of “features.”

    It’s not about “what” the iPhone does or doesn’t do (the “features”)….it’s about how *well* it does it. It’s about the user experience. iPhone is so advanced from anything we have on the market, people would be falling over each other to get it.

    You said: “an evolved user will find the iPhone a bit hampering as he will not be able to customize it to his lifestyle.”

    Maybe a few users will get disappointed with the closed model of the iPhone. But the value of the far superior UX will more than offset that except for a very small number of users who have to have those apps they can’t run on iPhone.

    The iPhone is not for everybody. No phone is for everybody. You can’t build any product that satisfies everyone. That’s not possible. What you do is target the largest and the most profitable chunk of the market. This is precisely what Apple is doing with the iPhone.

    It’s designed for the vast majority of the users who do NOT need to run MS office on their phone. You can’t try to replicate the UX of a laptop on a phone – you’ll fail miserably. The iPhone isn’t designed to replace everything on your laptop. It’s a highly advanced phone with a highly advanced iPod and browser built in.

    You said: “in mature markets, a mobile phone has even replaced a laptop, a digital diary, even a pedometer…”

    Please tell me about those “mature markets” in which laptop sales have done done because of these phones! Do you know what’s the market share of these “smart phones” in the total worldwide mobile phone market? Less than one percent!

    A vast majority of people do NOT want a laptop to fit in their palm. They want a good phone. Although Jobs compared the iPhone with Smart phones in the keynote, that is NOT the market he’s targeting. Which is why you can’t manage MS office files on iPhone. He’s targeting the other 99% who user their phone as… well, a phone. AND he’s targeting the 100 million iPod market. Which, I think is a super brilliant strategy. He already have these millions of people who want to buy the next most advanced iPod and now he’s giving them a phone with it as well. Apart from the *1 billion* cellphone market.

    You said: “I would use the iPhone because I think Apple is the last word in DESIGN, but I would also carry with me another device in which i can carry around my whole life!!”

    First, no matter how brilliant, no one is the last word on design. Second, this doesn’t make sense. Who wants to keep the same phone forever? People are known to change their phone 1-2 years in the west and within an year in the more advanced Asian markets. These are facts. No one wants to carry around the same phone for their whole life.

    You said: “Check out Jan Chipchase’s work if you’re not convinced.”

    What does a 4 year old study have to do with the iPhone? It seems like a decent study of the _need_ to carry a phone… I only scanned through it but don’t think he anywhere implied that people want to carry the same phone forever.

  11. Manu Sharma says:

    correction:

    * in which laptop sales have gone down because of these phones

  12. Soo says:

    Manu > Maybe this is what I would have said in 2005. But you can have the last word. I’m not the kind of person who gets sold on a fad.

  13. rajAT says:

    Manu – If Jobs will take 99% of of cell market with a 500$ price tag and a 2 year cingular contract then tht would be a paradigm shift in consumer electronics .. 🙂

  14. Soo says:

    It would be nice to see the iPhone for what it is, a very well designed product with superior UX. But nonetheless, it’s not the be-all and end-all in mobiles.

  15. Manu Sharma says:

    Soo said: “I’m not the kind of person who gets sold on a fad”

    Nor am I. People called the iPod a fad few years ago. Competitors laughed at it. Guess what, no one thinks of it as a fad anymore. No one’s laughing.

    Soo said: “nonetheless, it’s not the be-all and end-all in mobiles.”

    The iPhone is a giant leap forward in the mobile world. I don’t understand this kind of reaction. All you mobile guys should be embracing it…particularly you, with the background in user experience. iPhone celebrates the power of a better UX.

    raJAT said: “If Jobs will take 99% of of cell market with a 500$ price tag and a 2 year cingular contract then tht would be a paradigm shift in consumer electronics”

    It’s a paradigm shift in terms of *user experience*. It’s like the difference between a command line interface and a GUI.

    Obviously, they will not take that kind of market. But then, who is claiming such an insane thing? Jobs is targeting a 1% market share by the end of next year, I’m pretty certain he’ll cross that number easily. A 1% market share is 10 million units. With $500 price tag that’s FIVE BILLION in revenue within a year. Not small change, is it?

  16. Soo says:

    Manu > It’s a paradigm shift in terms of *user experience*. It’s like the difference between a command line interface and a GUI.
    IT think it should be UI not UX….then it’s totally a paradigm shift.

  17. Manu Sharma says:

    Ok you can call it UI if you want. I used the term user experience because it includes the UI but goes beyond it. The large screen, for example is inherently linked with the UX but is not part of the UI.

    Two years from now and you wouldn’t see those tiny screens in cell phone anymore.

  18. Manu Sharma says:

    Also because the iPhone interface is way beyond just satisfying the needs of the user. It delights them with its beautiful animations. Cover flow is such a beauty. Nothing like it ever existed on cell phones.

    Now compare that with what we have right now. The tyranny of the clickwheel, for example… so frustrating. Not to mention crippled keypad and several other annoyances.

    Here’s another example – the Blackberry Pearl, the so called “smart phone,” although it comes with music and video players they still ship it only with mono (not stereo) headphones. This is how much they’ve thought of the user experience!

    So, yes, I’ll stick to calling the iPhone a revolutionary user experience not just a revolutionary UI.

  19. Manu Sharma says:

    An absolutely brilliant analysis on why people fail to get the iPhone.

    “Apple once again showed a better way of doing something. Not a way of doing more things, but a way of doing things better […] Everyone else seems to be only capable of thinking in terms of raw features, rather than how those features are implemented. It’s as if everyone is wearing “feature” goggles. They think of smart phones as a computing tool, in which the number of features are more important than the user interface.”

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  20. Soo says:

    We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, won’t we? Neither you or I can predict the future 😉 anyway, thanks for the great discussion.

  21. mukesh says:

    i want to change my wap1.0 browser to wap2.0 thanks for giving me the instructions!!!

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