I recently found in one of my drawers my old Nokia E75. I turned it on, configured my email, some settings, and immediately turned it back off and put it in the same drawer. I then checked the year it was released, and I could not believe it was a ’09 device. A 2009 device!
I like to over-think things, and then share them on this blog for anyone who wants to read. It occurred to me, that we owe the current vision of mobile computing to Apple, and Apple alone.
What was Nokia thinking back then? But more surprisingly, what was I thinking at the time of making a purchase decision? I had to be blindfolded in 2009, because three years into the future anyone could tell how wrong Nokia had it. The Nokia E75 is one year older than the iPhone 3G. Right now, if I was forced to pick between both handsets, I would pick the iPhone 3G without a doubt. The E75, E72 and other devices such as the N86 which were out around the same timing, are just tedious to use. From reading an email in their low-res 2.4″ screen, to opening a simple website on the web browser, everything is inelegant, unpractical, and painful. Other areas Nokia had completely wrong: the division between Eseries, Nseries, and Xseries.
The question is, what would we be using had Apple not released the iPhone? I am certain we would still have to pick between Eseries and Nseries, giving up media features to gain functionality or vice-cersa. We would still be browsing around the internet with a D-Pad in some 2.x” screen, and we would be downloading apps from a selection of 30 titles on Nokia’s Download! store. Or at the very best, we would be using Symbian S60 V5 in a resistive and scratch-prone touchscreen. Thank you Apple for the App Store, for the high-resolution gorilla glass capacitive touchscreen, and for the slick, fast, and beautiful UI’s.
On a side note, what if Apple had not released the iPad? Fast-forward to 5:08 to have a look at the idea of mobile computing before the iPad.
It’s fair to say that today’s mobile landscape was almost entirely shaped by Apple. They deserve to be recognized for their vision. I still don’t like some things of their products, but I sure love their vision. I wouldn’t like to live in a world shaped by Nokia’s vision of mobile computing. Great products like the Lumia 900 and probably Microsoft Surface wouldn’t exists had Apple not set the ground for competition. Now it’s time for companies to come up with a vision for the next generation of mobile devices.