Apple announced a long rumored, much anticipated, highly coveted mobile phone called the iPhone. Jobs promised to revolutionize mobile phones, and being one to never disappoint the masses, I believe he did. This is part II of the two part post on why we think the iPhone is revolutionary.
Revolutionizing the Mobile Service Provider
Being intimately familiar with the difficulty of dealing with mobile service providers (aka carriers aka operators), Apple has done only what Apple could do. They strong armed carriers to bend to the will of what consumers want, not the other way around. This is a mobile first.
I can only imagine the negotiations with Jobs and the mobile service providers. I can imagine him claiming “this is going to be the biggest thing to happen in mobile. You are either with us or your aren’t.” Remember, this is the man that negotiated the 50/50 deal with Disney for the then unknown studio known as Pixar.
Apple has obviously pushed very hard to redefine the mobile experience from the ground up. They threw out everything established, questioned the rules and did it their way, in only a way that they could. Creating a truly people-centered experience on the phone.
This isn’t something the other big boys in mobile like Nokia or Motorola has been able to pull off in a long time. Nokia is far and away the best at developing compelling Mobile UIs, but after today, they have a lot of ground to cover. (I actually wonder is Nokia is partly behind the iPhone. Apple had to get that experience someplace and they have been working with Nokia for a while. My guess is Nokia or HTC, who makes virtually all Windows phones, helped make the iPhone happen.)
If Apple is successful and they see even modest consumer adoption, this will be the biggest thing to happen to the mobile space in a very long time. The consumers expectation of what a phone can do will be transformed and they will finally see that a phone can be more than just a phone.
If Apple can duplicate the cultural success of the iPod with the iPhone, consumers will demand more from their mobile devices, demand more of their mobile content and demand more from their mobile service providers.
Revolutionizing the Mobile web
Finally, the iPhone will bring about the greatest of revolutions. It brings the mobile web front and center, creating the first decent experience on the mobile device. Now those of you with newer Nokia devices know that Safari has been on s60 Nokia’s for at least a year now. The mobile web experience demo’ed today looks similar to the experience of the new Nokia browser. But of course Apple has made all the expected user interface refinements to make it easier to use and an enjoyable experience.
But the real advantage is the screen. Text is easy to read, even while zoomed out. The user is able to shift focus quickly, literally pointing to what they what to read. The iPhone looks like it could be the first serious contender to readable digital content in a handheld device.
If other device manufacturers follow suit with their mobile web experience I predict older versions of the mobile web (like WAP 2.0) could quickly become extinct. It is possible that the division between the mobile web and the desktop web could disappear much sooner than I ever expected.
In addition, the iPhone will bring two communities together for the first time, the mobile community and the web community. These groups have been apart for a long time. And the introduction of the first mobile device that web developers and designers can get behind will create a boon for mobile web content creation.
Right now it is difficult to get more than a passing interest in web developers, meaning less content to consume, less consumer interest. But given that members of the web community are likely to carry their iPhone like a badge of honor, I expect an enormous increase in mobile web content in the next 6-9 months.
Why should you care?
If for any reason you have ever overlooked mobile, saying it was too soon, technology wasn’t ready, or consumers won’t buy it, I argue today is the day you should sit up and start paying attention.
Apple has pushed mobile into the forefront of the consumer consciousness, brought us the future of communication and in my mind has brought has one of the biggest events of the Information Age.
Jan 9th, 2007 was a very big day.
Click here to read Part I of this post.