Originally Posted by mrochester
To be fair, doing those things does get you pretty close to the iPhone. A big touchscreen button that says 'Internet' that when opened allows you to select from stored bookmarks, or type an address, which you can then navigate with your finger, double tapping to zoom in etc, and in a lot of cases, pinch to zoom, sounds an awful lot like the iPhone experience to me. A big 'email' button that you touch to compose and read email, also sounds a lot like the iPhone.
Usability is such a buzz word that really means very little these days. You can do the same thing on either device, but how you go about achieving them is different. Just because they work in different ways does not suddenly mean one is less usable than the other. In fact, someone who already has an S60 device will probably find the SE far more usable, because they already know the OS, whereas there'd be a learning curve to use the iPhone. Which device is more usable in that instance then? Suddenly it's the SE, and we wonder if Apple ever considered usability when designing the iPhone.
I plonked my iPhone in front of my sister and mum yesterday to show them some photos. I had to show them how to move between the photos because they had no idea just from looking at the device. They do know how to move between photos on their Nokia phones. To them, their Nokia devices are more usable, because they know how to use them!
So, in conclusion, usability means very little when looking at these devices because what might be usable for one person, isn't for another! LOL, mini essay over.
The iPhone has brought with it an explosion of mobile internet use and an explosion of app purchase and installation. I would say that the reason for that is that Apple made processes that were once the domain of geek "smartphone" users into things that "just a phone" users feel comfortable doing.
I'm constantly hearing about how this phone or that can everything the iPhone can, or do it better, but the figures speak for themselves. What makes the iPhone unique is the huge percentage of iPhone users that actually avail themselves of all of its "features", as opposed to all those phones that ladle on the features so that a small subset of geek users can have bragging rights.
It's true that ease of use is in the eye of the beholder, but the way the typical iPhone user actually uses their iPhone suggests that Apple figured out a way to make using and moving between a broad range of applications far less intimidating and accessible than pretty much everything on the market prior to its release.
And it still appears to me that the response from the industry at large has been mostly to add big touch screens with cool animations, or pad the "features" list, or both, without worrying too much about sweating the details of how, exactly, everything works together.
If you think that "usability" is just a buzz word, or that that a touch screen and animations are all there is to an iPhone, then you're probably not who Apple is trying to sell a phone to. It's likely that any number of phones from other manufacturers will meet your needs.
But Apple's still the one with the wildly disproportionate mobile internet share and the wildly disproportionate app sales. That isn't because iPhone owners have been somehow hypnotized into thinking they "should" use their iPhone indiscriminately for all kinds of things, it's because they get one and discover they can
. Pretty much all of them.
Which is what I call "usability."