“Apple’s new smart phone, the iPhone, stands a fighting chance of becoming an ‘It Object,'” Alice Rawsthorn writes for The International Herald Tribune. “That’s one of the elite cadre of products, that have such a strong impact on so many people’s lives that, decades later, they’re remembered as icons of their time.”

“It doesn’t have to sell more than its competitors… Nor does the iPhone need to be more expensive than other products… And the iPhone doesn’t have to win the news media’s approval, at least not at first, as another Apple “It Object,” the iMac computer, demonstrated in the late ’90s,” Rawsthorn writes.

“What then does the iPhone need to do to ascend to “It-ness?” The first step is to be more alluring than other smart phones, and to achieve that it must do two things: 1. Look and feel great. 2. Enable us to do something that we couldn’t do before, or couldn’t do very easily,” Rawsthorn writes.

“Apple pulled it off six years ago with the iPod. There were plenty of existing MP3 players, but they looked tacky and were irritatingly over-complicated… And it didn’t just look good. The iPod’s refreshingly simple user interface design… and the launch of iTunes as Apple’s online music store made it much, much easier even for the technologically-challenged to download music from the Internet,” Rawsthorn writes.

“Can Apple do the same with the iPhone? Well, its competitors have helped, albeit unintentionally, by producing smart phones that are as tacky and irritatingly over-complicated as pre-iPod MP3 players,” Rawsthorn writes.

Full article here.
Rawsthorn gets “it.”