iPhone predictions: The right and the dead wrong
~ 25 July 2007 ~
Leading up to the release of the iPhone, I joined the fray of hype by publishing a few predictions and musings. The first post, “Why iPhone won’t revolutionize the mobile web landscape”, was published on January 10 of this year, just a few days following the iPhone announcement at MacWorld. In it, I break rank as Apple aficionado and argue the iPhone will do little to change the way we interact with web content using mobile devices. Following is accounting of my predictions.
Content zooming isn’t new.
REFUTED. While other mobile browsers have attempted content zooming, none execute it anywhere close to as well as the iPhone. Full stop.
Data costs will continue to plague subscribers.
NEUTRAL. Yes and no. While unlimited data plans are becoming increasingly common (and you can’t activate iPhone on AT&T without unlimited data), “cost” refers not only to the actual cost of data but also the time required to download that data. AT&T’s Edge network is painfully slow, and unfortunately I’m fairly certain they’re not the only carrier worldwide with less-than-desirable data speeds.
Context is still king.
RATIFIED. Yup, dead on here. Context remains, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a most critical consideration when developing, consuming, and exchanging web content. Gaddo F. Benedetti, in his article “Mobile First, Web Second”, perhaps says it best:
[W]hat sells the mobile Web is not how it is similar to the desktop Web, but how it differs. The mobile Web is a phenomenal platform to build and exploit applications. But until even we, the industry who build them, stop thinking of it as primarily “the Internet on your phone”, both users and clients will see it as little more than a poor man’s browser, making it a far harder ROI to sell to potential clients.
For me, this very argument remains the crux of needing a mobile web of some form or fashion. Let’s take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the context of being mobile, rather than merely struggling to reformat the experience we’re used to on the desktop.
And of the iPhone web experience specifically there has been considerable debate about whether optimized sites/apps for iPhone are necessary, but for me the heated exchange only emphasizes the importance of context. I’m not sold on the idea of creating content optimized for a single device, iPhone or any other, but I am sold on continuing to create content optimized for the mobile experience. For example, I frequent popurls.com often, and I’d much rather visit popurls.mobi — available by and formatted for any mobile device — as the incessant zooming in and out, scrolling, and small hit targets on the full site are almost unbearable with MobileSafari.
iPhone owners won’t be the typical mobile web user.
REMAINS TO BE SEEN, though I imagine it will take a good year or two before anything that resembles critical mass is reached, if that even occurs.
A second post, “iPhone musings”, was published a few weeks before the release of iPhone, as I casually pondered some of life’s most important questions:
At what time in the morning or day before will I be in line to buy one?
Oops, I should have asked, Will I pay someone to stand in line for me?
How high will the bid price reach on eBay on June 30?
The highest bid price — not asking price — I saw was right around $900 the day after launch. It seems those who posted 24-hour listings right after buying were able to reap the biggest rewards. Prices fell soon after that, as there wasn’t the shortage of phones at retail stores most of us were expecting.
How long before someone finds a way to unlock the iPhone and the first unlocked one shows up on eBay?
Will the iPhone eventually cause an industry shift in advertising … directly to the consumer instead of the operator/carrier advertising their network price/features/gimmicks?
As for the iPhone overall — hardware, software, user experience — I remain completely satisfied and even in awe in some instances. The deeper I dive into the UI, the more I’m impressed with decisions made at every level within the experience of using it. Simply stated, this is one killer device.
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