Apple’s launch of the iPhone X last week was notably different from its original iPhone launch in 2007, as I said in the intro to my Techtonic radio show on Monday evening.
Here’s how I put it on Twitter:
• Was the home button irritating users?
• Did users hate the kind of metal Apple was using?
• Did users want their faces scanned?
• Is this for users?
In other words, the features Apple touted about the iPhone X – face-scanning through FaceID, the edge-to-edge screen without a home button, and (my favorite) “surgical-grade stainless steel” – are all impressive technology, but I’m not sure they solve users’ primary pain points or unmet needs.
Compare this with the original iPhone launch from 2007, in which Steve Jobs demonstrated a complete revolution in how people would use smartphones. The iPhone solved chronic problems in smartphones of the time – managing contacts, three-way calling, accessing voice mail – while adding a number of other benefits. There simply was nothing else like the iPhone when it launched.
Going further back, compare last week with twenty years ago, in 1997, in which Jobs made the famous statement about Apple’s new strategy:
You’ve gotta start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to sell it.
I wonder what Jobs would have made of the surgical-grade stainless steel, the face-scanning, and the rest of the iPhone X features. Did this launch focus on the customer experience, or did Apple perhaps “start with the technology” and then try to sell it?