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Why the iPhone was never going to flop

Posted on 27th Jul 2009 at 11:13 by Mark Mackay with 26 comments

Mark Mackay
For the love of all that’s shiny in this world, just look at it. The first time I laid my eyes on the iPhone was in a very small column in the free newspaper Metro while on my way to work. It was love at first sight. I would have ditched my girlfriend in an instant to get my hands on one there and then, and at the time she was a Swedish blonde.

The image was a face-on shot of the iPhone on the home screen. All the colourful touch-sensitive buttons where laid out neatly in squares that I just wanted to press even though I didn’t know what they did. I was in love. So what?

Well, the point is that the iPhone has the shiny factor, and people love the shiny factor. If they didn’t Apple wouldn't be where it is today. Apple was about to release a slender slice of a device that was pretty much all touch screen and not much else. How was that ever going to do badly? Even if it was super flaky people would still buy it to get some posing in.

Of course, it isn't super flaky. On the contrary, it works so smoothly, you’d think the very electronics themselves had a permanent supply of lubrication. It's a well-oiled electronic culmination of touch screen and KY Jelly. Sumptuous.

Many of you would have read Antony’s blog on how much he loves the features of his new iPhone after suffering Windows Mobile for years. To say that Antony isn’t a fan of Apple would be an understatement. At the end of the day though, as a discerning technology enthusiast and someone that spends his money very carefully, it was clear that the iPhone was the right choice.

And yet many people, from random forumites to analysts, to the CEO of Microsoft, said the iPhone would flop. People loving giving it the big ones, especially on the internet. It’s much easier to do than face-to-face when you have to deal with a direct come back from a real person. And people love saying ‘I told you so’ too and it’s for these reasons that so many people ranted about how the iPhone was going to fail.

After some time of people scoffing and saying how it was overhyped nonsense, the dust is settling and the truth is becoming clear. The iPhone is one of the greatest bits of technology conceived by humankind and even Apple naysayers and those too proud to admit that they where wrong are starting to see that there is no better phone out there.

26 Comments

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kenco_uk 27th July 2009, 12:26 Quote
The image doesn't work and while you're correcting that, you may as well correct at least 3 textual errors.
Sifter3000 27th July 2009, 12:48 Quote
Not sure why that is [the image] - it worked in FireFox, but not in Chrome. Have taken it out for the moment.
Paradigm Shifter 27th July 2009, 13:21 Quote
Let's face it, Microsoft are pretty much obligated to badmouth their competitors products in the hope someone will listen to them. Apple to the same thing to Microsoft, the only difference being that Apple have people who would believe them if they said the sky was lime green with purple polka-dots. While I don't think Microsoft has anyone using their software who wouldn't at least tweak the curtain open to check. :)

As for the analysts... well, analysts say a lot of stuff. Frequently I think analysts just say as much as they can on the subject ("It'll flop/It'll be great/It'll... yadda yadda yadda...") so that they can then say they were right down the line. The number of occasions "professional" analysts have screwed up with their predictions, I'm amazed anyone takes them seriously any more. It's like believing everything Fudzilla or the Inquirer says... they take a shotgun approach to news, saying a bit of everything... some of it has to be correct, right? ;)

...

As much as I don't really care for Apple as a company, when they get something right, they get it right. I finally picked up an iPod just before they ditched the 160GB iPod Classics because it had significantly more storage capacity and battery life than any of the competing players. My old MP3 player I needed to charge every three or four days... this one I can use to/from work without charging it up more than every three weeks.
wuyanxu 27th July 2009, 14:27 Quote
i used to think iPhone will flop, that's with the original iPhone without third party apps. i thought about it when my Apple friend showed me Steve Job's announcement.

but after a year, when 3G came out. i bought the very original iPhone that i'd thought it's going to flop. now all my friends and i think it's the best mobile-device in the world. not the best phone compared to a dedicated mobile phone. but the best mobile device and best mobile gaming device.

the change came when i showed them what it can do, and how responsive the touch screen are. there's one thing watching the smooth videos on youtube. there's a different world when you are touching the device with excessive responsiveness.
and comparing to HTC Touch HD, Nokia 5800, even the original iPhone is way ahead of those devices.

so, i think iPhone didn't flop is because of the smoothness it offered along with the very large number of apps. OS 1.0 was a sure flop comparing to other smart phones due to limited functionality. OS 3.0 is going very strong, even after Palm Pre's taunt in multitasking. and OS 4.0 will sure bring more improvements.
Bauul 27th July 2009, 15:13 Quote
To be fair, the first iPhone was a bit of a damn squid. It was all shiny-ness and little real functionality in this country. As a phone it was adaquate, and as an internet device it was rubbish due to a lack of 3G. It didn't really do anything a phone and an MP3 player couldn't do in the same pocket.

With the 3G version, it suddenly became a viable 21st century tool, and the fact the 3G outsold the 2G version 3-1 in the UK proves that. It's a good phone now, but it took Apple a year since the first version to get there.
Hugo 27th July 2009, 15:40 Quote
The real killer with the iPhone is how well Apple ties in users - once you've owned an iPhone it's really, really hard trying to use anything else without the constant feeling that it's an inferior experience. I've got a load of phones (such as a G1, HTC Touch HD and a Nokia N97) available to me in the TrustedReviews office and I still bought an iPhone when it came out in the US and upgraded to a 3G this January.

Although, that said, if I hadn't been able to unlock mine I'd never have got them - O2's tariffs are almost criminally worse than my current one is.
delriogw 27th July 2009, 20:45 Quote
"and at the time she was a Swedish blonde. "

what is she now then? a ginger german?
ray0203 27th July 2009, 22:37 Quote
Well it's only normal for companies hitting on each other. I don't want to be biased but yeah, I'd choose iPhone anytime. Though we can say they do have some downs and sometimes unruly customer service, there's no way ill choose microsoft.
koola 27th July 2009, 23:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by delriogw
"and at the time she was a Swedish blonde. "

what is she now then? a ginger german?

rigor 28th July 2009, 00:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by delriogw
"and at the time she was a Swedish blonde. "

what is she now then? a ginger german?

Sarcastic ? Or just another idiot in the world ?
airchie 28th July 2009, 00:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
To be fair, the first iPhone was a bit of a damn squid.
Do you mean a damp squib? :)

I can't deny the iPhone hardware works well but I can't abide by Apple's policies of screwing the user over at every chance.
How else can you explain the prevailance of jailbreaking etc?

I think once Android gets a little more mature and is mated with similarly sexy and potent hardware, nothing will touch it.
It can already do everything the iphone can and more. :)
Cutter McJ1b 28th July 2009, 01:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by delriogw
"and at the time she was a Swedish blonde. "

what is she now then? a ginger german?

Nope. She is your Mum :)
Cutter McJ1b 28th July 2009, 01:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
The image doesn't work and while you're correcting that, you may as well correct at least 3 textual errors.

Cool, thanks for pointing those out.
phuzz 28th July 2009, 10:40 Quote
I'm not convinced by the iPhone. I've had one from work for about three weeks now, and I hardly use it. Of course, it's less usable since I smashed the screen after dropping it once (not very robust are they?), but my biggest problem is my usual problem with apple devices, they're great if you want to do what they'll let you do, but if you'd like to, eg, listen to a .ogg file, or use a program other than (bloody hateful) iTunes, then you're stuck.
Believe it or not, I actually prefer my crappy free-on-a-cheap-contract sony-ericsson as a phone.

Although, given, I'm the only person I know that doesn't go gooey over the thing.
Fod 28th July 2009, 10:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by airchie
Do you mean a damp squib? :)
best. misquote. ever.

android will never be as shiny smooth as the iphone. You know why? For the very same reason you find negative about the iPhone - it's a tightly controlled platform, therefore it can be very finely tuned as a user experience.
Rkiver 28th July 2009, 11:38 Quote
Quote:
The iPhone is one of the greatest bits of technology conceived by humankind and even Apple naysayers and those too proud to admit that they where wrong are starting to see that there is no better phone out there.

Ahem, HTC Tytn II, HTC Touch Pro, HTC....anything really.
Cutter McJ1b 28th July 2009, 12:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rkiver
Quote:
The iPhone is one of the greatest bits of technology conceived by humankind and even Apple naysayers and those too proud to admit that they where wrong are starting to see that there is no better phone out there.

Ahem, HTC Tytn II, HTC Touch Pro, HTC....anything really.

There are good reasons why these devices flopped and the iPhone is a massive success.
Hugo 28th July 2009, 12:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter McJ1b
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rkiver
Ahem, HTC Tytn II, HTC Touch Pro, HTC....anything really.
There are good reasons why these devices flopped and the iPhone is a massive success.
Yup:

Tytn II - far too bulky, clunky user interface, terrible web browsing experience (out of the box - Opera Mobile is about acceptable I guess), screen ridiculously is unresponsive compared to a capacitive one.

Touch Pro - Jarring transitions between TouchFLO and Windows Mobile make for a frustrating user experience. While the custom skin works well most of the time, you are dumped back into vanilla Windows Mobile far too often. No audio output (except via an awful-sounding USB-3.5mm adaptor).

HTC Touch HD - Again, while the touchscreen interface works well, it only works where the custom interface is present - as soon as a 'normal' Windows Mobile program launches everything falls apart. Also, while this handset does have the best example of a resistive touchscreen it's still nothing like as nice to use as a capacitive screen.

NONE of these handsets look as nice or are as pleasant to hold or use as the iPhone.

I could go on...
Cutter McJ1b 28th July 2009, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter McJ1b
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rkiver
Ahem, HTC Tytn II, HTC Touch Pro, HTC....anything really.
There are good reasons why these devices flopped and the iPhone is a massive success.
Yup:

Tytn II - far too bulky, clunky user interface, terrible web browsing experience (out of the box - Opera Mobile is about acceptable I guess), screen ridiculously is unresponsive compared to a capacitive one.

Touch Pro - Jarring transitions between TouchFLO and Windows Mobile make for a frustrating user experience. While the custom skin works well most of the time, you are dumped back into vanilla Windows Mobile far too often. No audio output (except via an awful-sounding USB-3.5mm adaptor).

HTC Touch HD - Again, while the touchscreen interface works well, it only works where the custom interface is present - as soon as a 'normal' Windows Mobile program launches everything falls apart. Also, while this handset does have the best example of a resistive touchscreen it's still nothing like as nice to use as a capacitive screen.

NONE of these handsets look as nice or are as pleasant to hold or use as the iPhone.

I could go on...

Very well said. I'd just like to add that Windows Mobile is an absolute sack of poops and is the main problem with any phone that uses it. A stark contrast indeed to the responsiveness and usability seen in the iPhone OS.

I could go also go on...
wuyanxu 28th July 2009, 15:12 Quote
the only REAL competitor to the iPhone is Palm Pre and the HTC Hero android phone. any resistive touch device are so old.

but HTC Hero's CPU is same as iPhone original/3G, so buying that is like buying last year's CPU. Palm Pre has good concept, but their SDK is behind, Pre's SDK is somewhere between original iPhone's webapp and new os 2.0 without any access to hardware acceleration.

with iPhone 3GS update, its faster CPU together with large RAM. if jailbroken, it can beat Palm Pre in terms of background tasks (come on, 150MB free memory! that's 8 apps open at the same time) and have best mobile gaming capability for a smart phone.
Sifter3000 28th July 2009, 15:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
the only REAL competitor to the iPhone is Palm Pre and the HTC Hero android phone. any resistive touch device are so old.

Yes, agree absolutely - used a friend's Nokia N97 and was appalled by it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
but HTC Hero's CPU is same as iPhone original/3G, so buying that is like buying last year's CPU. Palm Pre has good concept, but their SDK is behind, Pre's SDK is somewhere between original iPhone's webapp and new os 2.0 without any access to hardware acceleration.

Again, right on - certainly from what the reviewers say, the Hero's CPU is too slow for the custom HTC interface. I think the Pre stands a better chance against the iPhone, although as you point out, WebOS isn't ideal for games and other demanding apps which will be an issue. At the moment, there really isn't much competition for the iPhone, TBH.
Bauul 28th July 2009, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fod
Quote:
Originally Posted by airchie
Do you mean a damp squib? :)
best. misquote. ever.

Bloody typos. That said, I'm not editing it now as it is actually quite funny.
Hugo 28th July 2009, 16:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
Yes, agree absolutely - used a friend's Nokia N97 and was appalled by it.
This.

It's woefully bad to an extent that I find it hard to explain in a way that will get anyone to comprehend just how much Nokia has messed up. Stupid things like putting the space bar to the right of the keypad not the centre are really frustrating.
Spaceraver 31st July 2009, 17:28 Quote
Yes it's lovely for what it does. But that means succumbing to iTunes to use it. I would rather masturbate with a cheese grater than install iTunes.

And there is always custom ROM's for WinMo.
I recommend EnergyRom. Alltho the power consumption is a bit high in it after you flash. Install Yota Contacts and Fingerkeyboard and be done with it.
Dreaming 4th August 2009, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
The iPhone is one of the greatest bits of technology conceived by humankind and even Apple naysayers and those too proud to admit that they where wrong are starting to see that there is no better phone out there.

Sounds a bit like fanboyism there. Apple are really good at doing some things, but not so good at doing others (like free / open stuff, i.e. they have control over all applications and so on). Nobody can say the iPhone isn't a great handset, but look at Microsoft's angle: they produce an operating system that was designed to allow some more features that you couldn't get on a typical phone - email, outlook contacts, calendar, word, excel, internet explorer (and you could install your own programs too) and it took off, especially for people who need to be connected to their networks etc. iPhone isn't a directly competing product as when it first came out, it was significantly more expensive than most other mobile phones, had less 'features' in the sense of GPS, 3G, and so on, and had a completely different identity to a typical smart phone and appealed to a different kind of user.

Well done to Apple, it has been a massive hit, and I am really happy that other companies are starting to follow Apple's direction (this isn't a bad thing, despite people who think copying is evil - if something is successful companies should try and copy it and make it their own, this gives the consumer the greatest choice and greatest innovation).

I have the HTC TyTN II and want shot of it, but I wouldn't want an iPhone either. I want a simple phone for making calls on and texting. I've grown out of the need to have the latest toy, just happy saving money at the minute and playing pc games. In a few years when I've got a job it might be nice to get something fun to show off but for the time being I'm just using my phone as a phone.

I've said it plenty of times before but Apple's greatest asset beyond it's technical wizardry, beyond it's innovaters, beyond any of that - is it's brand. So said Steve Jobs.

"greatest bits of technology conceived by humankind"

it's a phone!
Chocobollz 5th August 2009, 00:58 Quote
LOL yeah I agree, it just a god damn phone >.> And to add a bit irony on it, they were once saying that "they can't make a US$ 500 computer that isn't junk", now, how much does the iPhone costs? Maybe US$ 200? Then that would means it is junk? :P

IMO, most of the Apple's products is overrated, that's why they often said to have the best marketing teams in the world, because they can make an ordinary commodity to be extraordinary.
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