My friend Ian is a Macolyte. When he forwarded me this Time article about the iPhone I figured it was just another fluff piece. At a base price of $499 and available only on Cingular, should other handset manufacturers really be worried. Well, yes, of course they should, but what I liked about this article was the fact that it addressed a point that I made (less elegantly) about the iPhone lacking a killer feature the way the iPod had ease of use with regards to content acquisition.

Here’s what Ive, the head designer for Apple had to say:

When you get right down to it, the device doesn’t even have that many new features—it’s not like Jobs invented voicemail, or text messaging, or conference calling, or mobile Web browsing. He just noticed that they were broken, and he fixed them.

But that’s important. When our tools don’t work, we tend to blame ourselves, for being too stupid or not reading the manual or having too-fat fingers. “I think there’s almost a belligerence—people are frustrated with their manufactured environment,” says Ive. “We tend to assume the problem is with us, and not with the products we’re trying to use.” In other words, when our tools are broken, we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole.

I couldn’t agree more, and now I have revised my opinion on the iPhone in its favor. I’m sure they will eventually take off. Probably not to the level of the iPod, but the impact the iPhone will have on the mobile industry in general will be looked at in five years as monumental.

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