Interesting article on BBC News about the impending iPhone 5 launch by the chap behind the “fake Steve” blog.
Definitely some valid points made, especially with reference to the leaks in the run up to the launch about how potentially unremarkable the iPhone 5 could be, that Apple’s share of the smartphone market that they helped to define is being thumped by the nimbler Asian companies’ Android handsets, and that Apple’s spend on R&D as a percentage of revenue is a paltry 2% under Cook’s leadership. There’s a good argument which says that for a company like Apple, it needs the yin and yang balance at the top – both the eccentric visionary to keep driving new ideas and push to take risks, and the number-crunching expert to keep the corporate feet on the ground once in a while, and stop the money running out. Very rare you find these qualities in the same person, if you ask me.
But there’s one comment which doesn’t sit right with me, and that’s the comment that the UI hasn’t changed in years, and that is somehow a bad thing.
I don’t know about you, but people who lead busy lives don’t appreciate having to start on a whole new learning curve just because they’ve updated their device. People like familiarity, which seems to be something Apple haven’t lost sight of.
The “familiarity” aspect is a huge selling point for those who don’t have time to to re-learn, or if you’re someone like my parents, don’t really want to have to re-learn, because they a) don’t much like change, and b) are a bit technophobic, usually because just as they get the hang of something, the UI changes on them.
But, I’ll go one step further. The entire smartphone market is, at first glance, pretty unremarkable now. They are all hand-sized rectangles with a capacitative touch screen on which you can read your email, a half decent point-and-click camera, and you can even make and recieve phonecalls.
So, does this give grist to the “upgrade the UI” mill? Maybe there’s some way of keeping both camps happy – like a “simple” and an “expert” mode?
As for Steve? I’d say he’s screaming and spinning in his grave.