Five Reasons Why iPhone Will Win

Having now wandered in the wilds of various cellphones over the last few months, I am re-reminded why iPhone is underestimated. I have a Treo 700, a Blackberry 8800, and a Samsung TV phone, and they all suck. Here are five things that bug me about the abovementioned trio, and that favor the iPhone:

  • Mobile browers are awful. The Treo isn’t bad, and it’s the best of the above three, but the Samsung and Blackberrry browsers should be outlawed. They are that bad. They are so bad that Blackberry users’ opinions about mobile services, mobile startups, etc. should be summarily dismissed.

    iPhone: Browser is reputedly very good.

  • Touch screens rule. Once you’ve gone touch you’ll never go back. Treo has it, Blackberry doesn’t, and it drives me nuts. Trying to use a thumb wheel to touch a specific screen element is like dancing about architecture. It’s briefly mildly entertaining, but ultimately stupid.

    iPhone: Touchscreen. ‘Nuff said.

  • Big screens rule. The Samsung screen is teensy and irritating. The Blackberry and Treo screens are bigger and better, but I want more. I hate having online real estate so crunched. It feels so … 640×480.

    iPhone: Big, bright mofo screen.

  • Mobile fonts are shit. The Samsung and Blackberry have fonts that only an MS-DOS fan could love. They are clunky, brain-battering and largely unreadable. The Treo fonts are marginally better, but they’re still woeful.

    iPhone: Lovely fonts, at least in pictures. Would design-obsessed SteveJ ever have it otherwise?

  • Mobile interfaces are thoughtless. The bizarro combination of escape key and menu key on the Blackberry — neither of which are labeled in a way that gives any indication what they do — is maddening. Controls are highly modal, which means something that works one way in one app works totally differently in another. A little thoughtful UI design would transform the market in a heartbeat.

    iPhone: You can accuse Apple of many things, but thoughtless interfaces aren’t one of them.


  1. Disclaimer: I worked at MS for close to 10 years, the last 4 in the windows mobile division. I no longer work there as of last November.
    I’m not convinced the Apple phone will succeed as well as everyone believes. Yes the interfaces is great, but in the end, people just want a phone that is easy to use.
    Think about trying to dial the phone without looking at it (like driving, not that anyone does that). I can do that now with the phone I have, but on a touch screen, it will be very difficult.
    In order for any device to be truly useful to browse the web, it must have an easily readable screen. But by the time you have a screen that is really large enough to be used in that manner, it’s too big to be convenient as a phone.
    I can just drop the phone I have now in my pocket. I don’t think I could comfortably do that with the apple phone.
    While working on mobile devices I had my choice of latest and greatest, sometimes pre-release, hardware to use. After going through several, my favorites were always the devices that worked most like and resembled a generic cell phone. I did (and still do) use the browser for quick checks on email and weather. But primarily I use it as a phone and I think that is what the industry in general is missing. An easy to use phone, that fits in your pocket or purse without being damaged or damaging you.
    Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a cool device. But it’s not really a phone. It’s a mobile computer with phone capability built in, that is still in a lot of ways a compromise.

  2. The one thing missing is a keyboard.
    Touch may be great, but it’s probably not gonna beat an actual keyboard for email users.

  3. Jesse —
    I actually agree with your phone point, and have said that many times. Perhaps the weaknest — or at least interesting — aspect of iPhone is its phone aspect.

  4. You should do an equally compelling article entitled, “5 Reasons Why iPhone Will Lose.”
    The iPhone is a basically a tiny laptop with voice capability, similar to the Nokia style web-surfing tablet. While it undoubtedly changes the game, I think it’s too soon to claim that it will win. Though, it may.
    This is a defensive move on Apple’s part. So much of their business plan around the iPhone smacks of desperation. As computing moves to the truly personal computing future as hinted at by smartphone uptake, Apple had to take a leap into the marketplace or risk being marginalized further.
    The phone is where the growth will be because the phone is the one device you’ll never leave behind.
    Apple’s entry is on a greater scale but in a similar vein as Garmin’s entry into mobile phones. They’re both trying to take a leap and cover their vulnerable flank. Garmin in GPS, Apple in media.

  5. two thumbs has become an industry standard input device for phones. 😉 in that sense aapl is breaking from standard. I believe the phone will be embraced by the “cool”, the folks with plenty of money and time on their hands, and scorned by the people who work for a living and use crackberrys. i also think the battery will be a problem. I will take the other side of this and say it will dissapoint as a product.

  6. Franklin Stubbs says:

    Now that’s funny. As I was reading these comments I thought to myself, when is that benditlikeballmer guy gonna chime in. And voila…
    p.s. I know it’s buffett in your handle, not ballmer, but dude: the real Warren Buffett would not be betting on technology, let alone highly burn rate technology (ahem Xbox cough cough), and in fact would not be pontificating on the outcome of technology wars in any way shape or form.
    p.p.s. whatever happened to odds? I give the iPhone a better than 50/50 chance of winning, based on Apple’s stellar track record in design–which includes Apple Stores as well as the stuff that’s sold in them–and as PK pointed out, the utter suckiness of Apple’s competitors.
    p.p.p.s. does anyone else think Blackberry might be jumping the shark? There are so many jokes about crackberry and blackberry thumb out there, it’s like the in-trend that consumed itself. I a guy’s gotta wait and see if a touch screen keyboard can work well or not, but if it can, blackberry could go the way of members only and swatch.
    p.p.p.p.s. from a money making perspective, who cares? This is all good as long as it’s recognized to be for entertainment purposes only, as I imagine guys like Taleb and Kessler would agree…

  7. Nokia E61 or Nokia E90

  8. iPhone and the Future
    Apple’s innovations: 3 things –
    1. The use of OSX – this choice empowers the device to be able to run Safari, mail and widgets. It continues to unify the Apple product line, not fragment it.
    2. The use of a new consumer user interface [UI] and the deletion of so many buttons and choices (this was what we did about 16 years ago with Windows and 23 years ago with the first Mac and now we are doing it again).
    3. The realization that Moore’s law scaling of silicon is continuing and this makes the possibilities of integration infinite.
    These three innovations offer up the opportunity for Apple to become the laptop replacement.
    The longer term story may, therefore, become very different, as Apple expands out of the Consumer segment, and uses its “Ultimate Convergence Device” positioning to go after small laptops, NOT just the SmartPhones. This would require them to address issues like an enterprise class messaging system, the core differentiating function for the RIM Blackberry lines. However, that is still probably a few years out.
    IMO the iPhone REALLY changes the game and think they’ll kick some serious butt !

  9. What is this ‘win’ you talk of? How does the iPhone win? Is this a unit target or some zeitgeist target? What is everyone betting on here? No one has defined success.
    Without this anyone can come back and say they were right. “See the iPhone really did kick some serious butt!”
    My view on this is Apple has made a nice looking device for the consumer. But mobile phones are hard to make. Really hard. All that radio signal combined with tons of chips that bleed their own similar frequencies means the engineering is hard. It’s going to take Apple a long time to get this one right.
    The phone will look and play well but something will screw its usability. Something that we can’t test right now or see from product shots. Reception will be a disaster or battery usage will be abysmal. That Apple moved devs from OSX to the iPhone is not that big a deal. Sending them to Taiwan is. That means this is a hardware/software problem and those are ugly.
    They may get this right eventually but version 1 will not be a good product.

  10. A windows mobile division at least 4 years old…
    Well remember when the head of Google came out and drove home the idea and edict that was and will be Mobile, mobile, mobile…!
    Apple’s got its job cut out for it…
    When was there any time where you walked onto the turf of old business not to mention the rich and the powerful and ever walked away with what put them there in the first place? Everything in their lives is defined by it whether material or not, direct or not, stock options or not… EVEN their legacy cost depend on it! You got to know what you want and take it cause these folks time will not give it up w/o a fight.
    Apple’s had a remarkable success with iPod, iTunes that it even created a market for itself but it is really gonnna have to hit more than just a couple of home runs to make inroads to displace the bells of mobile, the search giants and old media itself! But i think Apple is much smarter than that, we’ll see how much of a dent we can make and how much of a bottom line in terms of growth this will give us.
    It is not only in interesting times we live in but to follow as well!
    Go Apple!

  11. I predict Apple has one more killer app in development for the iPhone which will be announced at release – targeted at business users.

  12. The iphone is amazing, it have owned mine for about a month now and its just a jewel!. I hardly use my laptop anymore, I’m on my iphone right now on your blog. reception is fantastic, all functions on the phone are amazing. All you guys that are up here BS’ing back and forth should get up off your asses and run don’t wall to buy your iPhone. I have owned a palm Treo 650, and Blackberry last model before the iphone. The other phones are not in the same league in any light!
    Reg From Canada