Saturday, June 23, 2007

Felt Needs

I grabbed this picture of the iPhone home screen from the new Guided Tour I referenced last night. If you click the picture you can see the apps that will come pre-installed. I couldn't help but notice there is a YouTube app in the middle row, far left. I don't know if that means that it will be able to handle flash or if YouTube is accommodating the iPhone in some other way. However they do it, that closes one hole in the iPhone armor that I keep hearing people talk about. There's even a new commercial that features YouTube on iPhone. It's universally appealing features (on the popular level) and the fact that developers can get the phone to do just about anything you want via web 2.0 apps confirm my suspicion that this device really can change everything.
NOTE: You can already try out some of the iPhone web apps on the web. I like
OneTrip. It looks like a good replacement for one of my favorite Palm apps called HandyShopper.

But I have to admit, the features that make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end probably will not end up being the theme of he next iPhone commercial. I have been a Palm OS fanatic since 1995. I started with the U.S. Robotics Pilot 5000. I waited for it because the Pilot 1000 didn't have enough memory to run Franklin Quest organizer software. I worked for Franklin Quest (later FranklinCovey) who had the foresight to team up with U.S. Robotics and so I bought the new PalmPilot/Palm device almost every year at a discount and sold my old device at my cost. In addition to the 5000, I have owned the PalmPilot Pro, Palm IIIx, V, Vx, m505, m515, Tungsten T, Tungsten T3, Treo 600, and now I have the Treo 650 (yes, I know I have a problem). You might say I'm rather interested in the PDA functions of the iPhone. I want to track timed (appts.) and untimed (to-do's) events. I also want to be able to capture and retrieve information (personal-contacts and other-notes). I have been waiting for Apple to make a PDA since 1995. Palm was simply the next best thing. If these features work half as well on the iPhone as they do in my desktop iCal and Address Book, I will be in the PDA promised land! That leads me to the subject that inspired the title of this post.

While those features may not make for a universally compelling iPhone commercial, they do dispel (at least for me) the other popular criticism/concern I hear about the iPhone. Everyone is saying that the absence of tactile response will be a big issue. I have been using Palm's PDAs for 12 years and until I took the plunge and moved to a Treo, I never felt like I was missing tactile response. I loved that there were only 4 permanent buttons on the thing. That meant that the interface was always customized to the application. In fact, my only constant gripe about Palm's devices was that they needed to get rid of the dedicated graffiti area and replace it with a virtual graffiti pad that could go away when you don't need it.

I use my Treo everyday, more times a day than I can count, and I have never once thought, "I wish this thing would vibrate when I tap a button." or "I feel at a disadvantage because I can't feel the buttons on the dial pad." Further, the audio feedback (ticks and beeps) available on every Palm device I've ever owned gets turned off about 2 minutes into my ownership because I think it becomes annoying. I don't really need anything more than the extremely impressive visual feedback that you'll see in the Guided Tour. The flat, two-dimensional images on the screen look, move, and respond like real objects. Cover Flow view looks like an opening in the phone into which you can look to see your collection of CD's. The "pinch" and "flick" gestures could not be more intuitive. Maybe the naysayers are right and most people need some sort of additional feedback. As far as I'm concerned, this is exactly what I've been waiting for. I have a feeling that once it's in hand, most people will agree-this is the new Perfect Thing!


Anonymous said...

And, the reviews are out now.



And they're positive reviews!

Unknown said...

Thanks Brian. Hadn't seen them before you pointed them out. Pogue's was more reserved than I expected. He sound's ticked about the AT&T thing. That will be the one sore spot.

On the other hand, AT&T should see a nice bump up in their new subs add rate and Apple only has to keep one wireless partner happy as they develop this new platform. Sounds like a sweet deal for both of them.