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Why the iPhone is Great

There’s a lot to love about the iPhone, but arguably its most important, most alluring, and most magical feature is its screen and interface.

I showed the iPhone to my brother Brian last weekend, and I think it’s safe to say that he was blown away by it.  He seemed most impressed with two things in particular: first, that pretty much the whole interface is draggable, flickable, or tappable, making it not only simple and intuitive to use but also just plain fun; and second, that when you turn the iPhone on its side, it automatically rotates the entire interface (say, the web browser or the photo you’re viewing) to be taller or wider depending on how you’re now holding it.

While most iPhone owners are overwhelmingly happy with the device, there is no shortage of iPhone haters.  One of the most common anti-iPhone comments is that it’s "not new", that other devices have been doing the same stuff for years now.  That’s technically true in some ways: some Blackberry and Palm devices for example are able to do email, browse the web, and make phone calls, although most people who have actually used the "web browser" on those kinds of devices will readily admit that it’s not like the "real" internet.

But even if we grant for the sake of argument that there already were existing devices with the same feature-list as the iPhone, the fact is that the iPhone is far superior to them because its interface is far superior to theirs.  What Apple has brought to the game here is not so much new features -- though there certainly are some -- but a new design that makes all of those features easy (and enjoyable) to use.  It’s something that you can’t really appreciate until you actually pick up an iPhone and use it for a few minutes.

Interface design is one of Apple’s chief strengths, and considering how awful most portable device interfaces has been, it was an obvious move for Apple to enter this market and wipe the floor with them.  It’s interesting to note that the iPhone comes with no manual at all; that’s how intuitive and easily-discoverable all its features are.  My old Motorola i760 cell phone has no features and it still came with a manual that was a half-inch thick.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Comments:

01. Jul 22, 2007 at 03:02pm by Maria:

You really love this phone, don’t you?
Not that I can tell or anything... ;)

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