04/13/2017, 10:45 AM
Today I was rewatching the presentation of Steve Jobs of the Iphone back in 2007. It's 10 years now. And I thought about it some more and I think one thing stands out.
All his presentation was based on bashing "smartphones" as not being smart. He showed the Moto Q, the E62, a Candybar Blackberry and the Treo Pro. And to back up his claim his main argument was that the 'plastic' keyboard was useless in many usecases and took up half of the screen.
He didn't critizise the software so much, it was the hardware. (no wonder why everyone is badmouthing keyboards that much).
But that is not the point I want to make. What struck me is the use cases he highlighted (It was calling, music consumption and internet surfing). None of them the key use cases of the aforementioned smartphones.
So what I was thinking is this. It is like back in my days as a scholar at university. If you wanted to take down a theory and praise your own, you would choose a rather arbitrary side aspect of the theory you want to destroy. You would take this minor part and elaborate how important it is and that the theory you discuss mishandles this aspect and that the whole theory is rubbish (because of that). (with no word you mention that the theory never was intended to handle this small side aspect - because it is a neglectable point for the theory which is of no central importance - but THAT for sure you do NOT say). To the contrary, you go on and present your own theory as solving the problem in question much better. It would be THE solution to overcome all shortcoming of its competing theories and thus shall be included in all curricula at school.
And that is pretty much what Steve Jobs did. The listed smartphone were built to serve business people so that they get their jobs done - mainly lots of communication, coordinating, meeting and decision making. For sure they weren't designed to listen to music or take photos (maybe to make a photo of a flipchart once a week or so). And also the internet scenario Steve Jobs described (which turned out to be, as we all know, to consist mainly of facebook, youtube and twitter) was not at the heart of those smartphones. Only the telephone component was central to both kind of devices. And at that the Iphone certainly didn't excel. Managing lots of contacts with corporate structure information and integration was and partially is not existent in the Iphone. As if Apple ever suggested to present a viable alternative to Exchange Server or Blackberry Enterprise...
So at the end, it seems like it was all a big misunderstanding, or? No, it was not. Steve Jobs had is Internet Ipod and he looked very strategic at the weaknesses of the business phones. He was right, they did not provide what an average facebook consumer would look for. Basically the Iphone was an upgrade to the dumb phones. It was designed for the standard consumer listening to music, making some calls and surfing the web. And in that regard it did a good job. But he did not direct his critique at the feature phones of that days. He did choose the business smartphones. Why? I guess because they did sell much more expensive - so there was much more money to gain. If he would have said: Look it's a feature phone to share photos and surf the web, Apple would not have been able to sell it at a premium price to the ones who have lots of money to spent - the business people.
I think it brought at the end lots of innovation to the smartphone world by putting pressure on the established manufacturers. But the problem is, he did it that well, all of them died (Nokia, palm, Blackberry). And all business people are suffering from the consequences since. Kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time. But I guess this is the irony of universe.
PS I really would have liked to see the presentation as a comparison of the Iphone during a standard office day of the standard business men or women - so to say when the smart of these smartphones came into play.
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