Tuesday, 20 January 2009

'How', not 'what' - and why

Four months into using the iPhone.  I like it a lot.  There's all the obvious stuff that it really ought to do that it doesn't do, sure.  But because it does what it does do so very well I rarely miss what it doesn't do.
I'm struck, though, by the App Store, and what it might be a sign of.  So, what about ...
  1. The importance of an ecosystem, rather than a single instance of core or application functionality in driving usefulness and making the device compelling.  So, the killer app is a meta-app?
  2. How cheap the apps are - I'm almost embarrassed to have paid for any, let alone as much as £11.99 (Omnifocus, and yes, worth it).  How can this not have an impact on applications software pricing first in the consumer space, and then through that spilling over, in the corporate space?
  3. The way it throws out apps that do one thing really well.  Those apps I especially like include Movies by Flixster; TubeStatus; BibleYouVersion; Facebook; AroundMe; and TwitterFon.  They're changing how I expect to access content and functionality away from a browser interface to something that's more akin, dare I say it, to an applicance.  I'm intrigued that widgets on my Mac weren't nearly as compelling, despite working pretty much the same way.  My sense is that we're seeing an early stage of usable, compelling, mult-function information appliances.
  4. I'm wondering about how these applications, their pricing, and the appstore are signs of future shifts in what mainstream corporate IS will look like - just today Mark Raskino posted a tweet (@MarkRaskino) from the Gartner BI Summit in Den Haag where a large corporation were reported to be finding that the iPhone UI was stimulating executive interest in Business Intelligence. 
So, perhaps stating the obvious, I think the 'how' often matters more than the 'what' in content / application / service provision - and that buried in the iPhone and its App Store are some pointers to a wider future.

And, in case you wondered, Cowabunga.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right. As you know, I've got a device (HTC Touch HD) with a noticably bigger screen with a much higher resolution, its got a better camera and fully functional Bluetooth. The underlying Windows OS mightn't be to everyone's taste, but with HTC's TouchFlo3D it does the main stuff well (including c&p between apps!) What I find is missing are the one-task apps you get so easily on the iPhone. The really useful stuff gets here eventually, but cool stuff goes first to the cool iKids, while the obscure-but-useful stuff might not ever make it. I'm currently waiting for a FixMyStreet app, but it's not being developed yet for WinMob, while there's been loads of launch publicity for the iPhone app. Oh well, I'll just have to occupy myself watching hi-res video and BBC downloads!

Stephen Gower