The iPhone is Perfect
Many words have been waxed about the iPhone since people first got their hands on them last Friday. After waiting 15 hours in line and using the iPhone for a couple of days I wanted to add my opinion to the voices out there.
John Gruber got it partly right, except for the 95 percent part. The iPhone is 100% perfect by any measure of the imagination.
Sure, there are details that are missing, GPS, 3G, video recording. But all these are mere details. When looking at the iPhone as a whole, when using the device as it is designed, now it is clear it is a perfect piece of design.
There is a precedence for this from Apple. The first perfect product they made was the original Mac. It was a stunning revelation for anyone who used it for the first time: a completely new paradigm for navigating what is now known as the Personal Computer. The original Mac didn’t do a bunch of stuff we expect from computers today, but what it did do was break down the barriers about what a computer would be.
Fast forward to the iPod. It, too, when it was first released, was a perfect product. Yes it has evolved over the years, but when it first came out (although it took some time for people to see it) it was also a category-changing product. No it didn’t have an FM tuner…but that wasn’t the point. The point was that it tackled the digital music player challenge in a way that no product had done before it and no product has since.
This brings us to the iPhone. After using it for a couple of days it is clear that this device changes what it means to be a mobile phone. It is light years ahead of anything else out there in terms of design and functionality. The new stylus, the finger, is something no one else has done before. It is a new way to interact with digital devices and it works.
Many people will draw up lists of what is missing in the iPhone. These are the same people who dismissed the iPod because it didn’t have as many “features” as the competition. These people don’t get it. Design is about making decisions about not only what to include, but what to leave out. Steve Jobs has once again shown that an organization led by a strong advocate for design can indeed create products that aren’t me-too. They are perfect.