A fascinating post over on Wired suggesting that the is of net benefit to the other smartphone/PDA manufacturers as it fills the role of raising the tide (and as we all know, a rising tide lifts all boats – well apart from those too tightly moored!).

Key quote from the article follows;

What the iPhone did was make it cool to use smartphones, before, you had the BlackBerry, which mostly just resonated with enterprise users or business people. Now, there’s a whole new market of smartphone consumers. Before the phone came out, I actually asked guys from companies like Nokia and RIM how they were going to respond, and the answer was unanimous — it was, “Welcome to the party, hop in the pool, the water’s fine”

The article draws parallels to the iPod which popularised the previously minimally succesful MP3 players.

And this I guess is the genius of Steve Jobs and the Apple design team – finding promising but unsuccessful product niches and packaging them together in a well thought out, well designed and easy to understand format.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • I don’t think they’ve lifted any other boats. I took a Nokia N95 to Europe last year and found it pretty cumbersome despite the huge amounts of functionality, have used RIM and WinMo devices over the last decade and continue to have my expectations dashed.

    My observation would be that people really wanted smartphones to be cool, it’s just that they weren’t. On top of that Windoes Mobile wasn’t that stable either and RIM and Symbian were more of an OS play than integrated hardware plays.Great in their functonal areas but – as you say – not the complete package

    I think the genius of apple was that they had a go at this with Newton, failed, and realised where they needed to make their vision real – and it was a long wait given Moore’s Law

  • Miki – I was referring to the sea lift in terms of sales – ie More N95s being sold post iPhone introduction than previously

    Wasn’t referring to the functionality discussion

    See the iPhone 2.0 though! woot!

  • The huge strength of Apple is that they don’t do focus groups. They take risks with products, and then see what happens to them once they are in the wild.

    But the real genius of Apple, beyond the UI, the product design and the software/hardware integration, is the marketing. The more you know about this, the more masterly you realise it is. The iPhone project started a long, long time ago: everything since has prepared you for the iPhone.

    And now – as Jobs said – it (/Apple) will change the world (again).

    p.s. my two-year old still finds the iphone/ipt interface intuitive and usable. Turning it on, unlocking, finding apps and doing stuff (flicking through material, zooming in/out, back and forth from thumbnails to photos is all – literally – child’s play).

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