Apple has used several methods to make the iPhone easy to use. It is highly
likely that future versions of the iPhone will have more features that this
What do you guys think will happen to the ease of use?
The strategies Apple has used are:
Apple has severely limited the features compared to the competition. The
iPhone is designed for primary use cases only. Either you call someone or
you don't. No fancy video calls, no VOIP calls, no PTT (Press-to-talk), no
cut and paste, no SIM management, etc, etc, the list goes on.
The iPhone UI does not use menus. All functions are visible on the screen
(except gestures; the gestures are invisible and you have to learn them from
demonstration or the manual). Softkey based phones mostly uses a system
where you have the "content" visible on the screen and the "actions"
available on the softkeys. As soon as you get more that 2 possible
"actions", you label one of the softkeys "options" and pop up a menu with
the rest of the actions.
You tap right there on the screen with your finger. There is no indirect
manipulation via softkeys. This means a single touch to call someone. On a
softkey phone you may have to scroll to the phone number and move your thumb
over to the green call key. Or you scroll to the number, select "options" to
bring up the menu, scroll and click "Voicecall" from the menu. Direct
manipulation is very powerful and probably the primary reason that people
find the iPhone easy to use.
The iPhone offloads tasks to iTunes (this is correct, right?). This is OK
for the US market where Apple can expect practically 100% of their potential
customers to have a PC. This is not the case in other parts of the world.
The main issue would be sideloading the iPod. Building iTunes into the phone
could probably be done, but it's no easy task. (All? other phones are
designed to work standalone.)
I am not going to guess what direction the iPhone will go, but it is very
likely that Apple will add features to the phone. Where are these features
going to go? Apple has several alternatives:
-Add more buttons.
It won't take long before the iPhone run out of screen real estate. You
can't make the buttons too small or people with sausage fingers will miss
them. Then, you will have to scroll the screen or spread functions over
Its possible that Apple will start using a tap and hold gesture to bring up
a menu. Not an entirely bad solution, but you sacrifice some
-Add more gestures.
The iPhone has a limited number of initial gestures. Gestures have to be
system wide. You can't add gestures for individual features. New gestures
are comparatively hard to teach users and you are probably going to need
redundancy. If you add a new gesture for "clear" (for example shake the
phone) it is probably only going to work as a shortcut for the existing
clear commands. Hmmm, "edit" would probably be a better example here.
-Add hardware buttons.
Expensive, and it goes against Apples stated philosophy. (But I would not
rule out a hardware key for the camera shutter. Especially if Apple decides
to make a cameraphone variant of the iPhone.)
-Some other wild and wonderful way.
There may be other possibilities lurking somewhere in Cosmos and waiting to
be discovered. Until then, the iPhone will gain features and loose some of
its ease of use.