Old Samsung flip phoneI’ve been using an iPhone for six weeks. Being someone fairly tech savvy and connected to the latest tools, people around me used to laugh when I pulled out my old phone. But as far as phones go, it worked just fine. Super durable (you could drop it a lot without worrying about it breaking) and small.  It felt good. And worked great as a phone as well as an alarm while traveling. But although it was a camera phone and you could theoretically surf the net with it, it did neither well. It was a dumb phone in that regard.

Phone as sculpture; product design benchmark

I’ve written about how I thought the iPhone was an incredible product design. Now that I’m actually using one, I feel even more strongly.  It’s simply a beautiful device. This is a piece of art you use. I haven’t had the dropped call issue that made for antenna gate and won’t go into the failings of AT&T. And now that I’ve experienced it, it’d be tough to go back. I like the freedom of always being connected. Of being able to look anything up at anytime (that there’s a connection). I know many of you have an iPhone since they came out in 2007, so you’re probably saying “Duh”. Authorities write about what the iPhone lacks. Things like Flash. Or a regular keyboard. Or freedom from their draconian app process. These are nits. I don’t care because everything is so fluid. So well designed.

Compare it to the Droid and you can see the cohesive elegance of the interface and the apps. That’s what makes this phone sticky. It’s the little things that make the difference. Which is why you need to pay attention to the little things about your brand. How can you create such wow and delight? Design matters. A lot. It’s in the form – shape, line, profile. And in the texture – the feel. Both physical and the interface. It’s about creating something that recedes into the background, serving up what the customer needs when they want it without them realizing it. It gets out of the way.

Connected to everything and everyone

What’s remarkable is everything small rectangle you carry in your pocket does. That the screen changes for what you need. The connectivity is alluring and dangerous. It’s always beckoning you to check in. To keep up with what’s happening because you can. You don’t need to wait until you’re back at your laptop or desktop computer. No, you whip it out and go. It’s effortless.

It’s a companion when you’re alone – you can interact with your contacts and others. But you have to know when to stop. It’s not a surrogate friend and cannot replace being with people face to face. You have to remember to be present in the real world. To listen. And it’s easy to take this connectivity for granted. Kids born in the last few years won’t be able to imagine anything else. But I do. Think back just 10 years. Such a phone was something only James Bond or the Jetsons would have. The iPod hadn’t been born yet.

Daily Visual Journal

My favorite thing? The camera. I’ve been taking pictures since I first picked up a camera when I was 10. I’ve used everything from 35mm to 4×5 sheet film. That I can have a camera with me at all times – and a pretty decent one at that – allows me to record what I see. To create that visual journal. It’s liberating. To not miss an opportunity because I didn’t have my camera with me. That’s powerful. And to capture ideas and record them when inspiration strikes when before I didn’t always have a notebook with me to write. That’s the coolest part of it. And theoretically should increase my ability to create by capturing my visual and passing thoughts. It’ll be interesting to see how that influences the work I do. The onous is on me to turn such freedom into tangible results. Time will tell. You just have to remember that not everything should be recorded. This isn’t the Truman show.

Apps. And too many more apps.

I’m a fan of apps, but am picky about which I use. Like select news apps NYtimes, NPR, BBC, CNET. Apps like AroundMe and Urbanspoon to find places to go. And the camera apps (love Hipstamatic and Tiltshift). And Roger VanOech’s Creative Whack Pack. Time is valuable. And I don’t want to spend my day surfing the apps on my phone. They have to add value. Enhance what I’m doing. I’m sure I’ll discover a few more as I go. I don’t get excited by the fact there are thousands of apps available. Most are just clutter and gimmicks we might use once or twice. Do we really need Talking Tom?

The downside? I’m afraid to drop it.

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