Today Campaign published an interesting article examining the unrivaled popularity of the iPhone. How attached and habitual we, as consumers, get with a handset but through it’s updates be it handset, or iOS, we can refresh our handset without the need, in the majority of cases, to even consider Android devices (shudder).
It got me thinking around my own mobile phone journey, the Nokia (SMS and snake), Blackberry (first business phone) and then the iPhone – where I’ve sat for over 10 years happily getting the handset upgraded without question. It has the familiar UI that I can feel mildly frustrated with at every iOS upgrade as its the same but different, the camera, the email, the appstore, the indestructable case for my continued dropping of it (thankyou Otterbox). I take an interest in Android, because I need to for my job, but I have never even questioned the need to personally swop sides. I’m what the article would refer to as a pure iClone.
Yet considering that the Nokia 1100 sold over 250 million units (iPhone6 comes in at 220 million) consumers can, and even I will, take part in absolute revolution as far as technology is concerned. When it seemed like there was no rival to the Nokia kings at the top of the tree we suddenly reconsidered and most importantly shifted device, the familiar UI, the functions, feature and brand. We knew there were options and these other options offered very distinctive fashion, feature and technical benefits. But could that work now? With Apple mastering the upgrade and refresh model could we see the same sort of handset revolution in the next 15 years?
The difference between the iPhone and it’s predecessors is that it’s also absolutely unique to the handset owner. The article considers that in the iClone world the iPhone is a social leveler, it’s desirable, has status with no iPhone being better than the next, But, it is, every iPhone has a unique ubiquity – it’s yours, or mine, or theirs.
When I had my Nokia (along with ever student I went through university with) we all played snake, occasionally space impact and without a doubt never opened pairs. We had 4 games, the same features and a limitation to how long that screen could hold our attention. The only way to add our own personality to our phone was a clip on case, a £5 ringtone (delivered by SMS) and a pixelated screensaver. They were a social leveler but they were also customized, not personlised.
Jump forwards 15 years later and our iClone is truly an extension of ourselves, skip away from the obvious photos, whatsapp and social accounts, but just consider the powerful statement that no 2 phones are the same – they reflect our interests, and our must-haves, the utility and the entertainment. The fact your iPhone remains the champion is because it holds exactly what you need.
For when you ask the question ‘What does your iPhone say about you?’ the answer is all-too-often ‘not a lot’.
The iPhone may be a blanket purchase for generations X, Y and Z, and the comfort blanket our pockets can’t be without but by no means is it’s identity served by it’s mass penetration. It’s success and it’s future evolution continue to be steered by the the fact that no 2 iPhones are created equal, nor are superior.
It’s about more I, less clone.