The hard part about writing these sorts of things is the audience: the people who will read this and get will probably agree because they’re experienced it before and then I’m preaching to the choir, the people who read this and not get it will assume I’m some mindless Apple fanboy and dismiss me entirely.
I assure you I’m objective. It just so happens that the iPhone truly is rocking it in ways that the old school won’t understand.
In two parts: First, above is a video shot with the new iPhone which is quite nice and features the new DoF (depth of field) the phone’s camera has. It’s a five element lens and even if the sensor is smaller than your pinky fingernail it seems to hold it’s own against the proven DSLR sized sensors. The sad thing, to me, is that the consumer market will only see one number: 8MP. Then, they’ll write this number down and go over to the Droid section and see some other number and make a buying decision based on which is higher or lower. They miss the point entirely.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat the specs we used to use aren’t nearly as important as the ones we should be using.
We used to measure megapixels because that actually made a difference. It doesn’t now. I keep my DSLR at around 3MP, does that make the photos worse? No. It just means I don’t want 5MB photo files because they take up unnecessary space. The MP spec is almost useless now because it’s topped out to a practical limit. You don’t need any more than that. So, instead, we add cool things like DoF which is incredibly important for both still and video taking. Does that make it to the spec sheet? Not really.
Okay, so there’s been a huge hubbub lately about this Siri and so far it’s been pretty positive. I appreciate sites like these because although they’re often immature, there is a message in all of it. People can, in fact, bond to virtual things. It’s sort of like those virtual pets you had as a kid. You felt sad when it died, right? Just a little bit. I’ve been exploring this topic for a few months now and I think Siri is the perfect capstone to the idea that we can, in fact, design that emotional connection. Of course we know most of it is pre-programmed messages, but as long as it’s convincing, it works.
You realize that Siri, by anthropomorphizing the iPhone, creates a huge mental lock-in to your smartphone? You just can’t ditch her. … The iPhone becomes more like a pet and so many people will develop an intense emotional bond with it. This is marketing GOLD.
Even beyond being marketing gold (which it is) it’s a reminder of the old designers. I’m thinking mostly of the Eames here. They worked as toy makers and movie makers and knew how people responded to objects. They injected that bonding to their designs which, given the MCM context they exist, is remarkable to say the least.
So it’s inspiring, really. We have chairs made of walnut and leather that grow with you, and we have a brick made of glass and aluminum that will grow and bond with you, and the difference between that and some generic version of the item is very honest, intentional design.
And that, is the thing people comparing RAM counts on spec sheets will never understand. It doesn’t matter.
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