Posts with tag "iPhone"

The iPhone fails the First Use test

This post is written by Alexander van Elsas. Alexander writes daily on his social media weblog, and is a regular contributor to the WinExtra blog by Steven Hodson.

This is my first post in what I hope will be a regular contribution to When Steven asked me to write on his blog I didn’t hesitate long. I have always enjoyed reading Steven’s posts and I’m honored that he thought of me when looking for regular contributors.  For those of you that haven’t heard of me before, a little background on what drives me when writing.

I see myself as a person understanding technology (developments), but I’m not fascinated by the technology (development) itself. What I do care and get passionate about is the “first use” of new technology.  First use is a term I have used throughout my career to describe the most important aspect of new technology, the first use of it by a user. We can spend a lot of time developing the best, most high tech, innovative technology (solution) that we can think of. In the end all that matters is if it solves a need or problem for the person using that technology. The basic challenge is always the same. Is a user willing to put in the effort to learn about this new technology and incorporate it in his current habits? The answer in any case is that willingness is related to either solving a problem or creating another type of value for the user. If this isn’t obvious from the start, then the user is not committed to put in the effort of integrating this technology into his life.

From a first use point of view I would like to argue that the hype over the new iPhone is greatly exaggerated. I find the iPhone to be a mediocre mobile phone. I realize this is not a popular stance. I feel that Apple has designed a fantastic handheld computer device that has very poor mobile phone capabilities.

The iPhone fails in the most basic usage of a mobile phone, calling and SMS.  It is as simple as that. This is an estimated 1 Trillion dollar business world wide! While the USA lags behind in SMS, the rest of the world produces 5-10 SMSes on average per user per day. SMS is a $ 100BLN business. A business larger than ALL social media and advertisement business on the entire web! Probably less than 5% of that big pile of revenues goes to data services. It will be growing for sure the coming years. But $ 1000 BLN is a really big number.

When we get all excited about the iPhone it isn’t due to its phone capabilities. We are excited about its ability to browse the web, to act like a small yet powerful handheld computer, and the WOW effect it has on others.

But the iPhone fails at very simple mobile phone tasks:

  1. Try walking around, or driving in you car and then call someone. Calling is the most used functionality on the move. But when your body is actually moving, or you need to have your attention to more than the screen, it is nearly impossible to select a contact using the touch screen and the contact list interface. I have made numerous phone calls to people I didn’t want to call simply because I failed to select the right contact. And when I did succeed to make the call, it got disconnected randomly. Either because I touched the screen by accident or because of poor reception quality.
  2. Try typing an SMS. Notice that the touch screen and the interface provided literally suck all of your attention into the screen. Now try to type blind, or try to move your body and type. It is impossible not to make mistakes. And if you are concentrated enough you will bump into anything as you find you can’t walk and type at the same time.
  3. The iPhone battery performs poorly. With the increased feature set comes a power drain. A well performing battery is one of the most important features to me. But when I use the iPhone normally I’m forced to carry around cables to be able to charge it, afraid I won’t make it through a day. Arguably, this is an issue that most modern phones perform badly on. But even my Nokia N95 did a better job at it.

I believe that Steve Job did a much better job at creating a desire for the iPhone than actually bringing us a better mobile phone. It has set many new standards. The touch screen, the way you browse the web and operate the User Interface are truly unique. It makes the iPhone an interesting handheld computer. But all of these great innovations and UI novelties can’t mask that the iPhone fails the First Use experience with respect to the 2 most important functionalities of a mobile phone.

There are other area’s in which the iPhone could improve. The camera sucks compare to the 5Mpix standard that has been set by competitors (the Carl Zeiss Tessar-lens 5 Mpix camera build into the Nokia N95). The lack of flash support makes browsing the web a challenge as the rest of the world does support and use flash in web sites. It lacks the tactile feedback needed to type blindly, and an interface that supports common day use.

While the world, lead by Saint Jobs, might run away with the new iPhone, I’m hoping that companies like Nokia and maybe even Google will challenge the iPhone and set even better standards. We will all benefit from this. I’m with Fred Wilson on this one. Maybe the new Google phone will become a new dream phone. I sure hope it will provide better support for calling and SMS ;-)

From the Pipeline – 8.6.08

It may seem like I’ve been pretty quiet today when in fact I’ve been fairly busy with the other part of WinExtra. While most might only know of me or the site because of the blog the fact is that there has been an active community in the WinExtra forums for going on almost ten years now. Lately though I’ve become really irritated with the software that has been running the forums and today I started working on the next generation of the forums with a new software package called Vanilla 1 (which is very nice BTW – I’ll be doing a write up of it later). Hopefully everything will be in place late tonight and I’ll be able to take the wrapper of the revamp WinExtra Community Forums. In the meantime here’s a few things that I did manage to find during my occasional breaks on today’s FriendFeed pipeline.

 This Home Doesn’t Call 911 [nw] :: My [confined] Space – the scary part about this is that there actually could be people like this.

Gold Porsche [nw] :: My [confined] Spaces – I guess if you can afford this you wouldn’t be too worried about its gas mileage

Researcher discovers targeted iPhone app “kill switch” [nw] :: Apple Insider – first it’s people being offered a $999.99 iPhone app that does absolutely nothing other than look pretty and now this – I can just image the uproar if other companies allowed this kind of stuff.

Why a Wii could be good for your health [nw] :: Guardian – well I guess this is more productive than them all playing Rock Band

From the Pipeline – 7.23.08

I’m not sure how many are listening to the new WinExtra Discussion Points podcast that I am doing on the blog but I’ve enjoyed doing them and really look forward to making it a regular thing. For those of you interested in either calling in (via Skype or some other phone type) just drop by the Talkshoe page for the Monday to Friday show anytime between 9PM EST (6PM PST) and 9:30 PM. You can participate either in the chat room or talk with me one on one about the topic of the evening. In the meantime here’s a few things that I found of interest in today’s FriendFeed pipeline.

Top 10 Best Ever Hackers [nw] :: TechCrunchIT – like most lists this one has some obvious flaws but still fun to look through anyway

A Product’s Place Is on the Set [nw] :: New York Times – whether it be the big red Coke cups on American Idol or now the McDonald’s Iced Coffee on the evening news desk product placement is coming blatantly front and center. Funny thing is that the Iced Coffee isn’t the real  thing.

If Tech Blogging Fails So Hard, Why Can I Buy Groceries? [nw] :: Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins – just a few ideas on the changing landscape of blogging and the social media landscape from a good friend of mine.

5 Free Useless iPhone Apps All the Cool Kids Are Downloading [nw] :: – Cyndy whose is one of my favorite bloggers but who let me down by succumbing to the evilness of the iPhone has a handy list of what the cool iPhone app downloads are.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Full Memo to the Troops About New Reorg [nw] :: Kara Swisher – there appears to have been quite the shakeup today at Microsoft and Kara has the Ballmer email to the troops for you to read.

From the Pipeline – 7.21.08

It never fails that when you try something new and different something somewhere along the line will get all messed up – much like what happened with today’s first Discussion Points podcast call in. Finally got it sorted out and learned a few things in the process which is a good thing. In the meantime here’s a few things that I found of interest in today’s FriendFeed pipeline for you.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro: New Image Gallery with 50 Photos [nw] :: Carscoop – if you are into the old style Camaro’s then get your drool towel ready for this one.

2009|2008 Challenger [nw] :: Dodge – couldn’t let Chevy get all the press without a little something from the other side of town.

Don’t Drink And Drive Sexy [nw] :: On The Ground Looking Up – some more guerilla marketing to make you stop and think

iPhone unboxing is a macro-marvellous [nw] :: iPhone Buzz – one of the more interesting and fun product unboxings I’ve seen

We Need Social Media Interpreters, not more Evangelists [nw] :: Shey Smith – truer words haven’t been spoken