Jakob Nielsen on the iPhone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by geese, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. geese macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    London, UK
    Usability bore Jakob Nielsen writes this on the iPhone - its not on his www.useit.com website though, you have to subscribe to his alertbox newsletter:

    Apple's new tablet phone finally implements my recommendation from 2000 to
    make a mobile device that spends its entire surface on a screen and
    doesn't have the traditional push-buttons.

    In 2000 I said "Kill the Telephone Keypad":

    > http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000917.html

    It only took 7 years. The other no-keypad tablet phones on the market were
    also introduced within the last few months.

    Feature-by-feature, Apple's phone is not that exciting. For example:
    * touch-screen-only tablet phone: LG KE850, NEC n908 are like this
    * shut off screen when close to the face: my Sony R1 camera does this
    * rotates screen when device rotated: my Canon SD800 camera does this
    * gesture-based UI: countless prior art, from Go to Apple's own Newton
    * multi-touch: I saw this in 1994
    * context+detail zoom browsing: Nokia E61's Mini-Map - same or better
    * visual menu for voice mail: some corporate voice mail systems do this

    And of course, the most hyped feature, a MP3 player in a phone: *many* new
    phones have this integration. In fact, music players as a stand-alone
    product are doomed, so Apple probably decided that if their best-selling
    product was doing to die, they might as well jump onto the next wave.

    Apple supposedly applied for 200 patents for its tablet phone, but there
    is extensive prior art for the things that matter to building other good
    tablet phones. Thus, either the patent applications will be rejected by
    the Patent Office or they are for minor tweaks where alternative designs
    will be as good or better.

    Thinking about the prior art rekindled my pain when the Newton was
    discontinued. Just imagine how much better tablet-based devices we would
    have had today if the new phone could have leveraged ten years of
    continuous refinement and third-party software innovation for specialized

    Of course, what's exciting about the Apple phone are two things:
    (a) the features are integrated in a single, smooth user experience,
    instead of being found one at a time across multiple systems, and
    (b) it's on a device with mobile connectivity.

    Take voice mail access by selecting from a visual menu of messages on the
    screen: doing this requires integration with the back-end. It's thus easy
    to do on corporate PBX systems, but impossible to achieve in mobile
    without the cooperation of the network operators.

    Steve Job's real contribution is his willingness to bang heads together at
    Cingular to force them to upgrade their network for the "trivial" reason
    that it affords a smooth user experience on the device. You could never
    imagine Ed Zander (Motorola's CEO) call up the head of T-Mobile late at
    night and yell until they changed their system enough to make the Razr
    easier to use.

    Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola have many great designers and usability
    experts who know much more than Apple about how people around the world
    use mobile devices. But they don't get the backing from executives to
    force the network operators to prioritize user experience.
    Maybe this will change now :)

  2. ero87 macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2006
    New York City
    i don't agree with this guy. He thinks stand-alone mP3s are doomed? no way.

    As cool as the iPhone looks, i don't want my cellphone to have headphones wrapped around it. Sure, it will work well when you're already listening to music and you just flip the microphone switch. but otherwise, it's awkward!
  3. scan macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2005
    agree. I will not bring the iPhone when I go to the gym. My nano is perfect for the gym and it will stay that way.
  4. geese thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    London, UK
    If that was true, iPod sales would be slowing down now, which it isnt. Might be because no-ones made an mp3 phone thats works well as an mp3 player. (i'm using a Nokia n73 with a 2gb card as my mp3 player, its OK, but too many flaws to make it an iPod replacement)
  5. stcanard macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    I'm really torn on this one -- I use my cellphone almost exclusively with a headset, so I already have the headphones on -- it is a pain to have to choose between phone or iPod, or have one in each ear. My current solution is that my bluetooth headset can fit over my in ear headphones, but I'm not sure that's ideal.

    OTOH I already tried a convergence device, a Kyocera 7135 (Palm Smartphone). It had a good quality phone, decent MP3 player, and the Palm integration. I loved it, until the headset port broke, and I could no longer use it as an MP3 player. Then the phone died, but the Palm part kept working, and I had to decide to dump it, and then lost the convenience of the Palm.

    This of course goes back to the big problem -- combinations are great, but if one thing breaks you have to replace the whole thing. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.
  6. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    If Apple is able to integrate the headphones with handsfree I'll be sold. I also hate switching between my iPod phones and cell phone. I also hate the in-ear headsets.
  7. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020


    Nov 21, 2009
    Up There
    WOW, this Jakob guy must feel pretty darn stupid right now, Apple has surpassed RIM...

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