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Summary:

Say what you will about the iPhone, and no one seems reluctant to do so, the iPhone is the most significant consumer electronic device to come along since, well, the iPod.  Dwight Silverman has an iPhone and he’s bumping into the "he’s got an iPhone!" syndrome […]

Say what you will about the iPhone, and no one seems reluctant to do so, the iPhone is the most significant consumer electronic device to come along since, well, the iPod.  Dwight Silverman has an iPhone and he’s bumping into the "he’s got an iPhone!" syndrome wherever he goes.  Even though it’s low on smartphone features compared to current competition even power users I’ve spoken with who have bought and subsequently returned the iPhone express "returner’s remorse" after doing so.  The draw of the device is its greatest strength, and that is attracting millions of users to the iPhone.

Apple has not only done a remarkable job marketing the iPhone (business schools should study what they’ve done) but also in producing another device that is not only cool but simple to use.   Case in point- yesterday I had the good fortune to perform my civic duty and report for jury duty.  A gentlemen I peg to be in his 60s was sitting in front of me playing with his iPhone for hours.  I could see he was surfing the web and working with his email.  I struck up a conversation with him and it was quickly apparent that this guy is a complete neophyte when it comes to smartphones.  One statement he made is proof what Apple is accomplishing with the iPhone- "I didn’t even know you could surf the web and do email on a phone".

That statement is proof positive that Apple is achieving a great thing with the iPhone.  They are bringing millions of newbies, and not kicking and screaming, into the smartphone age.  It was totally cool watching this guy being productive in a setting he never would have been otherwise.  This is huge in terms of bringing technology to the uninitiated, and Apple is to be congratulated for this.  Yes, the iPhones have it.

  1. You hit it right on the nose… I was thinking the other day that all the writing about the iphone having impact on smartphone design and function was missing the biggest impact of all… it has single handedly, and already, made smartphones ubiquitous. The penetration of the technology into society just took a huge leap forward. Now that… is an accomplishment.

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  2. You hit it right on the nose… I was thinking the other day that all the writing about the iphone having impact on smartphone design and function was missing the biggest impact of all… it has single handedly, and already, made smartphones ubiquitous. The penetration of the technology into society just took a huge leap forward. Now that… is an accomplishment.

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  3. What is so surprising?!

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  4. The difference in focus between WM and iPhone is remarkable. The iPhone was built to enable people to use it and improve their lives. The WM Phones are from the company that wants to “knife the baby”, “cut off the air supply” and otherwise finish off Palm.

    Given the buying choice: I’ll take the product that wants to be easy to use and improve my life please?

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  5. I bought my wife an iphone for her birthday and I believe that she is one of those ‘profiles’ that fits this first generation of iphone users. She has been a cell phone user for a while and has used palm pilots/ treos without data plans in the recent past. She would use my smartphone while we were not at home to check email or surf the web. She did not own an ipod, but would borrow mine when it was available. She was on the fence about the iphone unitl she has one and now she loves it. It was easy for her to set up. (I helped a little bit)

    If I had given her a full fledged, power user smartphone, she would probably would not get the full use out of it or be turn off by its complexity. The iphone is a great bridge in the mobile divide that will bring many new users to the game and hopefully hasten the powerfull devices and networks that our European and Asian mobile brethren are useing today.

    Long live the iphone!

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  6. If there’s one thing I think the iPhone will do, despite its ‘failings’ in the first rev, it’s get internet access in the hands of more phone users. Since you pretty much have to get a data plan with your iphone….

    Mobile internet is really, really useful. I find myself using it a lot on my WM device, mostly in places where I’m suddenly going, “hmm, what do I want for lunch.. does place X have gluten free food? Let’s pull up their website and look!”, or “I’m in line, blah, let’s go on Google Reader!”

    I think that if the iphone forces more people to have mobile internet, there will be a trickle-down effect where more websites are designed to be usable on all sorts of platforms without weird concessions.

    However, that last part is wishful thinking…

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  7. I must commend Apple for their utter genius in design and marketing. Although clearly the iphone is inferior to a true smartphone in most if not all categories, thru marketing and design they have ensured that it will be a huge hit.

    Microsoft really really needs to get off their butt and wake up. Years of having lame companies like Palm as competitors have really made them lazy. You can see some motivation in push email after RIM hit it big, but still needs more work. MS’ laziness and lack of motivation/vision shows for example in WM6, for a couple of years wait we get almost no improvements in the entire OS. I just have no idea what these WM developers do during that time between OS, it certainly cannot be coding and R and D.

    Although I prefer a WM device, I still would love some kind of fusion with the iphones presentation and WM’s functionality. Neither is good enough alone. Although an iphone won’t fulfill my needs I am extremely excited about it pushing MS and other companies to finally put some pride into their design philosophies.

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  8. In reality most of the ease of use and capability that the iPhone offered has been available in non-smartphones (like my Sony-Ericsson S710a) for at least a couple of years, with Opera Mini’s release being a huge jump as of last year. The problem isn’t that smartphones are too complex, it’s that other carriers and manufacturers were too busy advertising text messaging and ringtones (chasing after the money) and how the phones looked instead of showing the newbies how easy it was to do things. The Nintendo Wii and iPhone have shared a strong marketing view on the market: instead of telling the power user what they can do (which they already know from reading every preview/review), show the mainstream consumer what they can do easily.

    It doesn’t hurt that the iPhone has a gorgeous screen, of course.

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  9. Very intelligent post- it’s hitting the nail on the head. I remember when the iPod was first announced. I used to see this little hard drive based MP3 player at CES and other tradeshows. It was every bit as capable as the iPod, yet when SJ announced the iPod, I thought so what- that’s already out there. Of course the key was that no one else knew about it. It seems Apple is great at making the world think they are the first and only ones with this feature, which must make the rest of the companies furious as they watch. Yet no one ever sues for false advertising (case in point, where are the class action lawsuits against Apple for saying the full internet when it’s missing half the sites that use Flash, every other internet protocol besides POP3, IMAP, SMTP and HTTP, etc. Whereas poor companies like Palm got sued for telling people their Palm VII has internet Access on it but didn’t specify in the ad that it required service. How is it that every other company in the world has a million little disclaimers on their ads, yet Apple’s are all black and just a single word or two of hyperolized text along with an image? Has Apple just been lucky to avoid the legal pitfalls of such advertising, or have every other company just been gunshy to take the chance?

    Nonetheless, Apple has once again delivered the world something that they believe didn’t exist before and the world shlops it all up without question. It’s more than just a business class exercise, it simply boggles the mind of anyone who has even a passing interest in technology.

    As you said, the advantage we can all see in this, is that the world is now using the technologies that seemed so useful and revolutionary to us geeks/pioneers and hopefully this awareness helps the industry improve and grow from their silly selling of ringtones and text messages into more sophisticated service offerings at mass market prices!

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  10. Constable Odo Friday, July 13, 2007

    Glad to hear this information. I keep being told that the only people who are interested in iPhones are Apple fanbois. Once those million or two Apple lovers all buy iPhones, sales will fall flat. I’m curious on how well that senior citizen was able to use the multi-touch keyboard. Tactile keyboard users claim the MT is next to useless for typing. Youtube videos show otherwise. At this point in time the iPhone cannot compete with a BlackBerry due to lack of push-mail. Understandable. The iPhone doesn’t do user customizable ringtones and IM. Understandable. But the infrastructure is there in OSX. The memory is there without having to purchase SD cards. Aside from long term contract costs and ATT EDGE problems, the iPhone is destined to succeed if people that have very little smartphone savvy can work with a potentially very powerful communication device such as the iPhone. I’m really anxious to see if they can sell as many iPhones as they predict. I’m sure people all over the world are lined up to purchase them, so I think there’s a good chance to reach those sales goals.

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