Why Apple made a mistake releasing two phones.Well let’s see… Apple releases two new phones and I’m pissed that I didn’t order the Nexus 4 yesterday and now it’s out of stock. I feel like a dumb ass. I wanted that phone. I’m rather tired of the iPhone. Why? well it’s slow as molasses these days. Every progressive iOS update seems to leave the phone slower and slower and the apps buggier and buggier. And Android has caught up with the iOS features and now it seems de-coupled from Android updates.
You see the bane of Android is fragmentation of the platform. Huge amount of screen sizes, processor, etc. But the Nexus devices and the maturity of the Android market has made that less of an issue. This was Apple’s greatest strength: a unified platform. Because on hardware (features), they were already the same.
Apple’s last true innovation in the iPhone line was the retina screen. That’s the iPhone 4 (the one I have btw) and it was fantastic. We are three models in after that. Three years. No break-through device in that time. Bigger screen, eh, faster processor, eh. How about longer battery life? nope. Free cloud back up of all your phone’s data? nope. Well what good is the other stuff then?
Without having any true significant innovation in the mobile space all that was left was cachet. Android phones were the space of the uninitiated, the late adopter. iPhones were pioneers… That is until you go ahead a release a ‘cheap-looking’ but still very expensive iPhone and another blah upgrade to a phone that does nothing interesting: ‘more power!’, like your Angry Birds experience would improve because of that. It’s 64 bit? Only interesting if any iOS app for that platform would be immediately compatible with Mac Desktops and thus unifying purchases across both devices. (Play Plants vs. Zombies on your Desktop too!) Otherwise who cares?
Recently I saw a superb talk on design (heard about it on ruby rouges, btw) and it talked about how a huge part of design is realizing which problem you should solve. A machine to buy tickets for a train may solve the problem of buying a ticket for the train, but the problem you want solved is getting to your destination — not buying a ticket at all. The same thing with all these upgraded features on the iPhones, none solve problems I’m interested in. Pretty colors?? Yeah I buy a phone to have it be champaign colored.
Amazing how Steve Jobs absence is felt so acutely.
Check out the talk on design: Superheroes and Villains in Design and see the true value of design. The new iPhones don’t have it. Hope it’s a stumble and not a omen of things to come.