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  (Source: Reuters)
Ask and ye shall not receive, in the iPhone world

It’s hard to argue the brilliant potential of Apple's iPhone.  The device stands head and shoulders over most smartphones in terms of looks, form factor, graphics, internet capabilities, and touch interface.  So when the new 3G iPhone debuted, customers flocked to it, hoping that the oversights of the first generation model might have been addressed by Apple.

The wish list wasn't very long, and some items on it seem like they would be almost trivial to implement.  Among the desired features as chronicled by Wired -- photo texting, copy and paste, working Flash, browser crash fixes, Wi-Fi iTunes syncs, landscape view for emails, clicking anywhere to take a photo, and the ability to hide unwanted icons.

While one would thing one or two of these fixes -- requested by users and trumpeted all about by the media -- might be added, the iPhone 3G came with exactly none of them.  What it did come with were a plethora of features that were met with varying reactions from modest enthusiasm to total indifference, including Google Street View, direct podcast downloads, application ratings on deletion, line in support (for mics), Emoji icons, location sharing, and Safari tweaks (not crash proofing).  These fixes can easily be gleaned by glancing through leaks from the iPhone Firmware 2.2 Beta 2.

However, it’s the features that everyone wants that aren't there that are grabbing the most attention.  Of the top 20 most requested features, you have to reach 18 before you reach one Apple has implemented -- turn by turn directions.

Many analysts are puzzled that a company could be so out of touch with its user base.  A publicist for FullSix, the " relationship marketing” company that created Please Fix the iPhone drive points out that most big companies have launched initiatives which they use to gather and implement user suggestions.  They point to My Starbucks and Dell's Idea Storm as examples.

Apple does quite the opposite.  It gives people random features they never requested (with the exception of 3G, which was more of an upgrade to modern standards than a feature).  Many blame Apple's polarizing CEO Steve Jobs.  Mr. Jobs has publicly stated before that he doesn't think customers know what they want, but he does.

He likes to express this philosophy by using a Wayne Gretzky quote to refer to his thoughts on feature development; "I skate to where the puck is going to be.  Not to where it’s been."

However, most analysts believe that Mr. Jobs will eventually be forced to relent and offer a feature here and there that consumers have been demanding for months -- or at least one would hope. 



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Knowing best eh?
By inighthawki on 11/2/2008 10:34:56 PM , Rating: 1
"Many blame Apple's polarizing CEO Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs has publicly stated before that he doesn't think customers know what they want, but he does."

I find it hard to believe that when people ask specifically for a feature, that they don't actually want it. If you want copy and paste functionality, that shouldn't translate to "no, you want new <insert random worthless feature here>"

Im not a supporter of apple by any means, but i used to think they were doing things right. Now i ask two questions, where are they going wrong, and why are people still so crazy about these products even though none of the requested features are being filled?




RE: Knowing best eh?
By lco45 on 11/3/2008 5:16:02 AM , Rating: 4
Customers certainly don't know what they want.

By "customers" I mean the entire current and potential market, not individuals.

Individuals certainly know what they want, I'm sure a few people wish the iPhone came in a leopard-skin print.

Sometimes leaving a feature out makes everything else easier to find and use.

For example, take that 'ability to hide unused icons' request. That will totally satisfy the 473 anal retentives out there who wish they had a double layer desktop, but would confuse the 50 trillion users who can't work out where their youtube icon went...


RE: Knowing best eh?
By inighthawki on 11/3/2008 9:15:15 AM , Rating: 2
Where you have a point about the masses, not giving people simple features they ask for is only going to produce negative response to apple and their product, lowering the overall demand. As long as its done right, things such as hiding and icon should not be able to be done "accidentally" and should cause no issues between those who do and don't want it.


RE: Knowing best eh?
By tential on 11/3/2008 10:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
This is EXACTLY why I can't buy products that aren't hacked. The PSP for example. Why would I buy a PSP that I could only use sony firmware on? That would be crazy for me. I mean playing games through the UMD drive? Why would I kill my batterylife like that. I remember only getting like 3-4 hours of gaming in and then once I switched to custom firmware getting like 6-8 which was insane. Then I got added features like crazy because of it. Tell me why the iphone only plays .mp4 when we all know it is capable of playing ALL formats if apple just added it in. I mean without other people writing stuff for a platform if you are stuck with JUST the manufacturer then you are screwed. Thank GOD for the nokia xpress coming out that will make iphone look terrible. Nokia will have a higher res screen and the ability to expand memory to 32 gigs and still have it be about the same price as it is to ebay an iphone (600 USD).


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