Ok, there are two basic arguments here. I’ll summarize them below:
- Features Rule Everything (Anti-iPhone) Look, it doesn’t matter how cool people think the graphics or effects look on the iPhone. The fact is that there are phones that do everything the iPhone does, plus a lot more, and don’t cost nearly as much. As much as Apple zealots want to believe it’s all about the “look and feel”, people are simply not going to buy a phone that doesn’t offer as much as existing, cheaper competition. To believe that they will is just fanboy fantasy.
- It’s Not The Features, It’s The Experience (Pro-iPhone) Actually, it’s not just about what all a device does — it’s about how it does those things. Apple’s gamble was to go the opposite way of everyone one else out there. Previous attempts at the market have tried to pack as much functionality into a kludgy interface as possible. That’s compelling, but only when compared to other kludgy interfaces. The gamble here is very simple — do fewer things, but do them far better than anyone else.
So that’s it. It comes down to a question of taste. People arguing for point 1 generally don’t care how things look; they’re all about what something can do for them. People arguing for point 2 care greatly about not just whether something is done or not, but how it is done. Guess what? Nobody’s right or wrong.
Trying to prove who’s “right” about this is just as stupid as arguing which movie star is more attractive, or which food tastes better than another. It’s a preference issue — a matter of taste. And as such, there’s only one way to solve the iPhone debate — we let the consumer decide.
Quite simply, if the iPhone fizzles out and they don’t meet their 10M unit number for 2008, well then we know the features argument won out. And if the iPhone sells virally despite its flaws and it meets or exceeds the goal of 1% of the market, then Apple (and the UI camp) were right about user experience being more important than features in the current market.
So in the meantime, let’s remember that to claim that something truly is revolutionary (or utter crap) is a personal statement. It’s your opinion. Anyone wishing to extend that out to a general statement of “truth” has to be backed by some data. And in this case the data in question are sales numbers for the iPhone.: