i-get it after hacking my i-phone
After nearly three months of reading reviews of the i-phone and following the efforts of the hacker community to both “jailbreak” the phone from AT&T and unlock it for use on other GSM networks, I decided it was time to make the drive to Buffalo. The $200 discounted price on the 8 meg phone was certainly appreciated – and off-set the $71 in import tax I had to pay at the border.
As a marketer, i first appreciated the simplicity and design of the packaging. It’s the kind of box you want to keep around the house and not something you’d use as part of a re-gift. The next thing I noticed is that there were no instructions. Having lived in the PC world most of my life (and with the Atari 520 ST before that), you always expect 90% of the weight and half the package to be filled with manuals, instructions, waivers and other stuff I usually park close to the recycling box right away. Even Dell – known for their dummy-proof packaging and design ship their machines with loads of how-to paper.
What Dell, Microsoft, and other technology companies have failed to recognize is that it’s not about having the best and easiest to understand instructions, it’s about making your product so simple that you don’t need them.
The i-phone doesn’t come with any instructions for the same reason; you don’t need them. Try giving the latest Nokia, Treo, or Blackberry to a friend who has never seen them before without instructions and see how long it takes for them to get stuck and frustrated.
There are more technically advanced phones already on the market that actually support full 3G features (like MMS), but Apple has never been a technology company first. They are a fashion company that understands that user experience or user interface design will trump technology every time. By putting user experience ahead of everything else, Apple will continue to redefine every established market they enter.
It started with their original Mac OS – which inspired Microsoft to launch ”Windows 3.1“. Apple redefined the portable music space with the i-pod and the introduction of i-tunes. Their devices and services have succeeded not because they are the most technically advanced, but because they are so darn simple and easy to use that users feel empowered by their devices instead of ashamed. They also look really cool as fashion accessories… so the age of geek being cool has mostly replaced what used to be the sole domain of the jock.
After spending my Saturday afternoon researching, activating and unlocking my i-phone to work on the Rogers network, i realized that once again Apple’s success with this device is not tied to their technology – but the experience. Within minutes my email, photos, mp3s, ring tones, and contacts were synchronized. Lacking instructions, i relied on my intuition for navigating around the device and was really impressed with how incredibly simple and fun it was. Apple has even made text messaging and viewing photos a better experience by focusing on interface design. Sure there is some technical wizardry included with the i-phone… but that’s really window dressing when compared to the overall experience.
I’m not about to trade in my HP laptop and two Dell computers for Apple equivalent products, but as a fashion accessory (and mobile device), there is nothing else i’d rather have on my belt holster then my new i-phone right now.