MobilityArena veteran, Afewgoodmen, argues passionately that the iPhone is a truly revolutionary product of the mobile age.
There are many things you may have heard about the iPhone. Some of these are good, but more often than not the comments are those of critics. When the author first heard about the iPhone it was from the hands of the latter. It appeared that the iPhone was a good for nothing device.
Eldar Mutazin from Mobile-review.com gave a disparaging appraisal of the iPhone and its features, several other sites also had no kind word. It was in this light that the author watched a review of the iPhone on CNN and watched the long queues a year after at the Apple stores as individuals lined up to be the first to lay their hands on the iPhone 3G. It was even christened the “Jesus phone” then because of all the emotions or commentaries that it generated, whether those comments were favourable or otherwise.
Now the question is, what is the iPhone? Has it lived up to its hype? Is there anything that it has to offer? Is it just overrated? Overblown? You may say that this article is belated and that the iphone is actually an old topic and that I shouldn’t stir up old wounds. But then the iPhone still needs to be discussed and laid bare in its intricate perspective.
Only then would you see that the iPhone is perhaps the only phone that generates such emotions from both sides of the divide. And the article becomes all the more expedient following the premise and inference from another article published recently here on MobilityNigeria, iPhone myths propagated by US bloggers. I think our readers have the right to see the two sides of the coin and make their own inexorable conclusions.
An unbiased mind will be the best bet to properly put the iphone in its perspective from my discourse. Just let go of any idiosyncrasy and any previous conception of what you felt you knew and let’s rediscover the iPhone all over again.
But the iPhone does not support multitask? It has no copy and paste (oops, it now has). There’s no Flash support and you are stuck with the itunes store to buy applications! You have to use itunes to sync music, videos, apps… Oh, wait, it is still very expensive.
Yes; we have heard so much about the shortcomings of the iPhone. Despite all these it is still a top seller. It still has a following. The question is, Why is this so?
There have been gorgeous phones before the iPhone, but among touchscreen phones, the iPhone has set the standard. It has a pretty one-off design, with an elegantly designed body, and a 3.5 inch touchscreen and metallic back finish. The battery is not replaceable. Some may think this is a minus. That may not really be the case. What it shows is quality.
Apple feels that the phone has been manufactured adequately and that the battery should not fail you. There are few manufacturers today that can survive with an irreplaceable battery on their feature phones!
The iphone 3GS has an oleophobic layer on the touchscreen which is anti-dust. Have you seen other elegant touchscreen phones before the iPhone? Maybe. Now with the advent of the iPhone, so many other manufacturers are making iPhone look-alikes and the so-called iPhone killers. And mind you, no iPhone killer really exists to this day.
Iphone OS platform
Yes, it’s true that the iPhone did not invent the mobile operating system but should I say that perhaps it re-invented it. Before the iPhone, if you purchased a 100,000 Naira feature phone and a new one comes up then that was the end of your feature phone. You may need to discard it or give it out as a gift to get the latest version. To keep up with the trend, you have to cough up more money to buy the next latest. Over more than one cycle you become filled with remorse or anger at your device manufacturer. Don’t get me wrong, there was limited firmware update alright, but that still robs you of having some of the features of the newer feature product. All these changed with Apple iphone. APPLE updated the iphone Operating System (OS) of all its older products which was of course was forward compatible with the newer versions.
To be more exact, you can own the first generation iphone and be able to upgrade to the 3rd generation OS i.e. from the 1st generation iPhone 1.0 to the iphone OS 3.0 or iPhone 3GS. The hardware remains the same but you have the feel of the fluid interface and all the improvements of the latest OS.
Now you can buy a phone and you will be rest assured that in three years time, the phone will not be outdated or obsolete. This was not so in most other manufacturers until the advent of the iphone. Samsung was a culprit, it was even applicable with windows mobile phones.
Now, we now see updates to Windows Mobile 6.1 version to 6.5 and some limited firmware updates in some Samsung phones e.g. the Samsung Omnia i8910 and some Nokia phones. Mind you, in the majority of these phones, the full OS is not updateable as is done by Apple, only the firmware or some features of the phone.
These is evident that Apple, apart from the quality assuredness of its products also gives good customer support. It makes them to be able to create tremendous customer satisfaction and following.
Apple Apps Store
Before the iphone, an application store to take care of all the third party software application needs of a smartphone was not popular. With most of the smartphone manufacturers, it wasn’t even existent. Now came along the iPhone, and Apple’s app store.
As at today, there are more than 150,000 applications in the Apple app store. The apps there are varied, ranging from productivity, kids’ stuff, games, to professional. And there are lots and lots more. There are virtually apps in all categories you can think of. A lot this is even free. Even the commercial applications have their free or lite version which you are free to use and then buy the paid and full version if you are satisfied with them.
With the success of the Apple app store, Android, Blackberry, Samsung and even Nokia (Ovi store) created their own apps store. As at today, the android store is next to the Apple apps store in terms of popularity amongst third party developers with about 20,000 applications.
Multi-touch Screen and Fluid interface
What strikes you when you pick up the iphone is its smooth and fluid interface. Simplistic, yet complex and well thought through. The productivity of use alone makes you feel contented, in awe and wonder if this equipment was not out-of-the-world!
Apple did not invent the touchscreen. And perhaps neither did Apple re-invent it. As a matter of fact, Apple probably innovated from careful engineering, R&D and acquisition, Apple created the multi-touch technology which it has patented. Back in 2005, Apple had acquired Fingerworks, a company involved in touch screen technology.
In fact, Apple pioneered the GUI (Graphical user interface) with Mackintosh in the 80s. I believe that with the convergence of these technologies, and careful research, Apple pioneered the multi-touch touchscreen technology which gives one the awesome impressions of manipulating data with the fingers.
You see the coverflow artwork in the music folder, and flip pictures with precision with the flip of your finger, you pinch to zoom photos and web pages, you manipulate games and apps with the inbuilt multi-touch and accelerometer, and the effects feel truly magical.
Many smartphone manufacturers have tried to copy this. And of course the Apple iPhone leads the pace. Apple had to sue HTC for the infringing on the multi-touch patent for their copy-cat product, the Nexus-one.
The iPhone; A pacesetter to make other phones better
Even among the iPhone’s greatest critics, they cannot honestly deny the trend that the iphone has started. Everywhere you look, you see the proliferation of touchscreen phones. And a new adjective to the Techworld vocabulary is the word; “iPhone killer”.
Throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009 we keep hearing that term “iPhone killer”. Over and over again we see new phones on launch, like the palm Pre (Doing awfully bad in sales), Blackberry Bold, the Droid, Nexus One, Samsung i8910, and the Nokia N97 with one thing in common, which was the question of if they would be the “iPhone killer”. No one would disagree with the fact that the iPhone has been a pace and trendsetter. And like the proverbial Bigfoot, we only hear of iPhone-killers, we have never ever sighted one with our eyes!
The iPhone, A True revolutionary product
To understand why the iPhone could be regarded as truly revolutionary one need to appreciate what the iPhone has done to the mobile phone world. With examples enumerated above, I believe that it isn’t too difficult to appreciate.
To look at the iPhone as a phone with some good features and with some yet missing features is to totally miss the point. If you actually do that, the good features will definitely outweigh the missing ones.
The iPhone is a brand new platform, (compared with the likes of Nokia and Blackberry, it is still in its infancy), it is an exceptionally powerful mobile computer too and is the best selling touchscreen Smartphone today.
I believe it has totally revamped the mobile market and it is the harbinger of yet better phones to come.