In tech, convenience trumps completeness, and good enough is better than great. Just ask Cisco
According to Apple's
Therein lies the problem. Smartphones in general and the iPhone in particular have become this generation's Swiss Army Knife, right up to the point that Flickr says that the iPhone 4 trails only Nikon's D90 SLR as a source for new photos and videos posted to the site, The New York Times reports. Cisco had no choice to but to flush the Flip.
The triumph of mediocrity
Can any of us claim to be surprised by all this? For all of Apple's talk of magical products, what makes the iPhone special is its App Store, price, and form factor. Carrying an iPhone is easier than carrying a separate camera, and easy matters. A lot.
If it didn't, the iPad would have been a disaster. Both Samsung's Galaxy tab and Motorola Mobility's
You know what? For a lot of consumers, "customizable" is just a synonym for "difficult."
Apple isn't the only company to take advantage of this shift to simplicity. Staples
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Some tips for investing like a simpleton
The shift to simple has profound implications for us as tech investors. For one thing, it means re-evaluating what creates value. What do we look for if not quality? Try asking these questions when assessing the worthiness of new consumer technology:
- Does it solve an obvious, painful problem without creating more pain? Think of how Netflix simplifies streaming with its pricing and delivery model.
- Do substitutes offer more features, or more convenience? Remember, it's about delivering aspirin to those with headaches. Most often it's elegant design and not new features that provides the relief.
- Beware "customizable." Think of universal remotes. How many times have you been befuddled by all the options on these devices? Options are anathema to busy consumers who just want to find and watch a favorite program.
Here again, Apple offers a perfect example. The Mac maker isn't known for offering whiz-bang features in all its gear. Rather, the iPad and iPhone are best known for what they don't offer. The first iPad didn't offer a camera. It didn't offer a USB port. It didn't do a lot. But it did offer a big screen that made using it a lot easier on the eyes than the seven-inch tabs it was competing against.
That's why I'm not surprised to see the iPhone disrupting the camera and camcorder space. Who cares if the video is shaky in some spots? Baby Molly can't stop cracking up at how her dog eats bubbles. The iPhone is just as good any camcorder for capturing moments like these.
What other ways to do you see smartphones disrupting the tech industry? In what ways have you personally chosen convenience over completeness? Please weigh in using the comments box below.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google and has created a bull call spread position in Cisco. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy asks that you photo it from the left side, please.