‘Five Years Ahead’

Dan Frommer on Steve Jobs’s claim five years ago today that the original iPhone software was five years ahead of the competition:

If anything, where Apple is the most ahead of Android today — perhaps even 5 years ahead — is on the business and customer experience sides.

Apple still seems to have the power in its relationships with carriers, demanding a clean user experience (no pre-installed crap), control over software updates and the length of its update path, a mostly-reliable App Store that makes a lot of money in app sales for developers, distribution through its own retail stores, tight integration with Macs and the iPad, and great devices at great prices. Not to mention an extremely profitable business model — selling tens of millions of iPhones per year for a big profit. These things seem to be more iffy in the Android camp.

I agree that these are the areas where Apple is most ahead today. But among the phones I’ve got here in my office right now are a Nexus Galaxy and a Lumia 800 — state-of-the-art phones representing two competing platforms. I also have an original iPhone running iOS 2.2. Web pages scroll the smoothest on the iPhone.

I’m not saying the original 2007 iPhone is a better overall device today than the Lumia or Galaxy. It has very little RAM and a much slower processor and you can feel it. But there are aspects of the original iPhone software — animation, scrolling, touch-tracking — that remain superior to any competition. Was everything about the original iPhone five years ahead of the competition? No, no way — especially in terms of hardware. But some aspects of its software were more than five years ahead.

Monday, 9 January 2012