Legend has it that John Rubinstein, father of the iPod, left Apple last year because he and Steve Jobs could not agree on one fundamental usability element for the iPhone. Rubinstein wanted the iPhone to have a keyboard. Jobs didn’t.
While the iPhone has broken many records in achieving better usability, the lack of a keyboard remains a problem. The product works better as a media player, phone and “read” device, and not so well as a “read/write device”, which computers have traditionally been.
In 2008, we can expect device vendors to experiment further with various elements of usability challenges that stem from extreme miniaturization.
And that would not only be for the smartphone family of devices, but hopefully other, still somewhat clunky devices like the GPS. Today, software usability in even the top range of GPS products is still pretty poor.
For the convergence device movement to continue marching forward, a key factor will continue to be simplication of the user interface.
Apple is leading the way. But other device vendors also need to come up with their own breakthrough ideas.
This segment is a part in the series : Trend Radar 2008