iPhone Spurs Mobile Web Usage
Great blog post at the New York Times last week about the disproportionate percentage of iPhone users (84.8%) who use the iPhone regularly to access the Web (compared to users of other smart phone devices). Mark Donovan of M:Metrics is quoted in the article saying that this is because the iPhone is particularly well suited to “people who are jacked into the Internet all the time.” Doesn’t putting the Web front and center on the device, bundling the device with very Internet-friendly price plans, and making the thing so damn easy to use have just as much to do with it? It’s no surprise to me that Google has seen 50 times more searches from the iPhone than from any other mobile handset (as reported in the FT last month). I’ve spent the last 3 years in lamenting the fact that device manufacturers make it so difficult to find the place to enter the URL into the browser that most people simply give up. My three year old daughter picked up my iPhone for the first time and within seconds she had brought up the browser, found the space to enter a URL and had started typing away. That was a an ah-ha moment for me about the iPhone’s usability. Mark kind of implies that iPhone owners are using the mobile Web because only because they are naturally predisposed to such use. My gut feeling is that the iPhone is actually “crossing the chasm” into the general public. There is a latent demand for the mobile Web and the iPhone is tapping that demand, where others have failed and continue to fail.
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