Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The iPhone is NOT the WiiPhone

A couple weeks ago I was talking about how I felt the Wii pointed the way to a possible technology shift to simplicity. Some readers have pointed to the iPhone as a possible answer to this challenge. I disagree.

This post from Martin Geddes summarizes the problems nicely. When using the Wii, it's easy to see how Nintendo took the same complex feature we were familiar with (playing video games) and made it drastically simpler. Apple had the opportunity to take the same features we knew (using a phone) and make them simpler, but they didn't. They just made them prettier.

Adding a multi-touch screen does NOT make the basic features of telephony simpler. Just like the iPod didn't make using an MP3 player simpler. What made the iPod simpler was the whole package which includes iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. Without iTunes and the music store, I believe the iPod wouldn't be the MP3 winner today. In fact, the entire Mp3 player market might have never even materialized.

So, what can we learn from this? I'm not entirely certain. But a few key points are clear.

First, the interface change from joysticks to motion-control, HAS made the Wii easier to use. So an interface alone, can make a difference. But that interface needs to be very well conceived.

Second, the iPod interface isn't what made the iPod succeed. It was the entire package, including iTunes.

Third, the iPhone hasn't made using a phone simpler. Just prettier.

It seems that Apple could have taken two possible approaches to making the iPhone a better device. The Wii approach, where they radically rethought the interface. Or the iPod approach, where they improved the experience by providing all the missing pieces.

What do you think? Is there a phone interface that is radical enough to be Wii-worthy? Or is there a more full experience that Apple could have included to make the iPhone significantly better than the competition?

1 comment:

Brent said...

My two cents: Wii vs. iPhone