Laura Ries points us to an observation on the iPhone from non other than Jon Stewart. From her Origin of Brands blog:
"and last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jon delivered a classic comment on the fruitlessness of combination convergence devices.
During a discussion about Ultimate Fighting, which is a mixed Martial arts sport, Jon says that by combining all the fighting disciplines you lose the form and artistry of each. (Indeed Ultimate Fights usually just ends up with two guys rolling around on top of each other on the ground.)
John Hodgman refutes Jon’s statement with “So why combine a cellphone and a camera then?”
Jon comes back with “Why? That’s my question. You just end up with a crappy phone and a crappy camera.” It receives big cheers from the audience and at this point Hodgman concedes that Jon wins the round."
Honestly, I think Jon's argument is one of the lamest I've heard about why the IPhone could possible fail. I won't go into reasons why it might fail—I haven't had a chance to play with one yet. But the "people don't want convergence" argument is thin stuff. Here's why. Jon's comments imply that someone will buy a phone with camera or video to replace their current equipment. This is nonsense. Smartphones act as "supplements" and appeal to people who want to e-mail, browse the web or take a spontaneous picture now and then. Is it even possible to buy a phone without a camera in it these days? Do you want a phone without one?
These features support the evolution of human behavior fueled by classic needs (like the need to connect + share). I see moms and dads at Target and Home Depot snapping pictures of a product they are interested in and sending it to their spouse to take a look. I see people commuting to work glued to their mobile e-mail as they make their way home. Have these people thrown out their computers or digital cameras?
No—the "crappy phone, crappy camera" argument is thin. And what about video? We've already seen a surge of vidoes uploaded and distributed on YouTube taken by people on their mobile phones. Is the video good quality? As good as a the latest digital cam corder? No, of course not. But it supports a shift in human behavior. It's called citizen journalism—or marketing. I think there may have been a few books written about this phenomenon.
Jon should stick with the jokes. PS, phones are lifestyle devices—or at least many phones are beginning to achieve this status. We all have different lifestyles with different needs. I may not get an iPhone. But the new Blackberry Curve (shown above) is looking awfully tempting to me. With a 2 megapixel camera, media player and full sized QWERTY, maybe it fits my current state of human behavior. It might not fit yours. And that's OK.