What does it take to make a revolutionary device ? It’s obviously not the technology

published on Jun 06, 2013

Only a few days to go until the next WWDC. So exciting ! Yes, in just few days we will be shown the new version of the operating system that millions of people all over the globe are using.

Is it going to be revolutionary ? Maybe. Maybe not.

It all depends … not on the OS itself or on its new features, but on how it will be introduced to the crowds. It is what really matters. You don’t believe me ? Ok, challenge accepted !

To make things easier, let’s just take a simple example of how things work.

We’re in the year 2010. Remember when people were so excited about the then-new iPhone 4 ? How people waited in lines to get one of these state-of-the-art smartphones ? Tell me again, what was all the buzz about ? I’ll tell you : it was about the Retina Display, a new screen that had more pixels than any other smartphone on the market. At the time, 1.7 million iPhones needed only less than a weekend to find new owners. Nobody saw something like that before.

Fast forward to the next year. Now, we are visiting the year 2011. Apple’s CEO introduced yet another version of the firm’s phone. The iPhone 4S came with Siri, a virtual assistant that can understand what you’re asking her, well sorta, and has the ability to answer it using speech. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that this is not a good product. It is a good, wonderful masterpiece and nobody did see it coming. It’s revolutionary !

But, wait ! Siri wasn’t new in town as it was available in the App Store before Apple bought Siri, Inc., the guys behind it. Everyone just waited for Apple to integrate it with in the iOS to find out it’s revolutionary ? Weird !

Again, millions of the iPhone were gone in just hours, some 1 million iPhones were sold in just the first 24 hours. Another year, another record.

This was the first iPhone to be introduced by Tim Cook, but it was all Steve Jobs’.

Jobs passed away and something just went off somewhere in the 1 infinite loop.

The iPhone 5, even that it was a Steve Jobs’ signed piece, was met with some skeptesisme. People weren’t that excited about it (and no, the selling records kept coming) and leaks succeded, for the first time ever, to predict exactly how the iPhone 5 looked like. Some sort of a Ragnarök for some people.

But, enough with the iPhone.

Now, I am gonna talk to you about HTC. July 9th, 2012 : the taïwanese manufacturer launched a new smartphone with some exciting specs including the first Full HD screen to equip such a device and a then-cutting-edge dual-core processor with 1.5 GHz.

Did we saw lines of people waiting to get an HTC Butterfly J ? No, but maybe because it was released only in Japan. A good point, but wait, this smartphone was released months later in the USA, under the name of HTC DNA, and again, no lines in front of the stores, no melting down servers unable to bare with the demand and no buzz. Only few geeks and tech enthusiasts heard about it.

Oh, one more thing ! T-Mobile started selling the iPhone 5 6 months after its launch date and guess what ? People started to lineup !

Same story with Nokia and its EOS-equiped Lumia 920, HTC (again) with the One’s Full HD screen and Ultrapixel camera and Samsung’s Galaxy S4, even if the latter had more chance than the two others. No matter what they do and how good they are, iPhone is still, in people’s eyes, the best smartphone ever.

So, let’s sum-up what we’ve got : - people loved so much some smartphones designed by X and introduced by X; - people ‘loved less’ a smartphone designed by X (but probably didn’t know it) and introduced by Y; - people ‘loved less’ other phones designed by Z and introduced by T, even though those smartphones are, technically, way better than the first ones they loved very much.

Now replace X by Jobs, Y by Cook and Z, T by any other tech giant official.

And the examples are countless (just think about Gates’ tablet PC and the iPad) …

It’s clear that how a smartphone gets introduced to the public is what make it ‘revolutionary,’ not the little circuits that empowers it and not even the billions of dollars spent afterward on marketing. In other words, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

I really miss the days were iPhones and iOS were revealed by Steve Jobs. Something in the tech landscape is missing, the magic is gone.

Please feel free to drop a comment, I’ll be here waiting for it.