Wired’s Cult of Mac on why the iPhone is remarkable – even if some features are not new. Writer Pete Mortensen is surely right about this. Newness alone could never be the be-all, end-all of cool.
I have to roll my eyes at this article about the chilly reception of the iPhone among Japanese cell phone enthusiasts. I think the general thesis is probably right — that the iPhone looks significantly more breakthrough to people in the States, simply because available services are so much better in Japan. On the other hand, you don’t prove that the iPhone is boring by pointing out that people can buy movie and sports tickets from their cell phones in Japan. That’s like saying the Wii isn’t much of a breakthrough because the PlayStation Portable can play movies in UMD. True, but pretty much irrelevant.
The article also discusses how baseball games and other programming can be watched live on cell phones…like they can in the United States with Slingbox. This is the sort of analysis that shouldn’t even be performed unless you can characterize the problem correctly.
The innovation of the iPhone is first, next and last about its incredible multi-touch interface and fantastic integration with iTunes. It will take features that have technically existed on cell phones for years and years and years and make them something my Mom could actually figure out how to use. Honestly, I’m not sure if she’s ever even sent a text message in her life. She would with an iPhone. It’s an adoption curve problem. Features might come first to other phones — and certainly to the Japanese market — but Apple will make sure people understand how to use it and that it’s meaningful for them. Features are irrelevant if people don’t know how to use them. More than irrelevant — alien, non-existant.