Go read show number 1453 in the Apple iPhone sequel (and the responses) – if you care. Nothing new there. My interests in this is not merely due to a personal hope of owning a decent mobile phone in this life. Rather, it’s the very widespread futuro-sentimental complaint about the miserable state of current mobile phone design and the standard response to it. “I don’t NEED a friggin camera, video-calling, or crappy games” most people I know say. Yet that is what producers seem to focus on.
What’s most fascinating to witness is how a whole breed of digi-cool commentators being so unanimously fed up of bloated mobile phones. And whom does everybody turn to? Apple of course, the company that gave us macs and iPods with their ‘feminine’ design ideology of beauty, intuitive appeal and friendly usability rather than horsepower, features and techno-logic. (I know, it’s not quite that simple, it just sounds better). For computers, if you get depressed by the windows feeling (as I actually do), you can always get a mac. But with phones you can’t. There’s only bad (Nokia), worse (Sony-Ericsson) and horrible (LG, Samsung, Motorola and smartphones). Note, this is a very intuitive and probably unfair judgment, not based on much hands on analysis.
But the reality is that Apple haven’t been able to create the same user experience with a phone. If they had, they were probably already shipping. What if designing decent phone just is very hard? What if these huge market players actually have a firm analytical grip on the true desires of customers? Well, I just don’t believe that before I see an honest attempt of getting rid of the 85% features you don’t use everyday and wrapped in nice simple hardware. Don’t tell me it’s only the problem of controlling the whole value chain/experience (service provision etc.) that stops Apple and others for creating the phone for the iPod-gen? Is it really that hard to provide a service (with sound quality, coverage, etc)? No, it cannot be. So what is it?
Whatever the answer to this mystery, all this gossip about an iPhone says something about the general state of mobile phone design I guess. But also something about a new techno-folklore on the white knight Sir Apple coming to rescue us. Any thoughts on that?