I recently wrote this on my blog, but thought I’d throw it up here to get a better response…
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now after spending the day using an iPhone. It wasn’t mine, so I was extra careful in making sure I handled it with care. It really got me thinking. As I held this object I couldn’t help feel uneasy, paranoid of dropping it. Should it really be this way?
An object that is designed to be with you at all times, portable, it fits in your pocket, you take it everywhere you go, yet it has to be handled like an egg. Clearly my case was an exception, it wasn’t my iPhone. Though I own an iPod, and even though I’m more relaxed since it’s my own, I still get a sense of uneasiness when it’s out of its leather case.
I compare this to an iPhone user I was watching handling his iPhone. He wasn’t using it, just fiddiling with it in his hands as he talked. This iPhone had a rubber-silicone case around it. He was carefree, throwing all sorts of iPhone acrobatics. It hit the table with a thud a number of times, but not to worry, it was protected. I compare this to the unprotected iPhone I used and it got me thinking.
Is it good design if it needs a protective case?
Is this sense of protection over a product a good thing, particuarly if it’s a product that is expected to take a few knocks. Who’s never dropped their phone?
And what makes the iPhone so valuable in the first place? It’s RRP or the material finishing apple gives to its products? I may be wrong or maybe it’s just down to personal opinion, I’m sure both play their part. But the choice of the material and finish for me is the reason iPhones are handled likes eggs and everybody remembers their first scratch.
Then I look into it further and question whether people like it this way. They want their iPhone to be precious, an object of desire. After all as humans we have very basic needs, this need for luxury is something that goes back throughout mans history.
So is it possible to create a phone that has that value which apple achieve with beautiful design and material choice, but also the durability of an iPhone wrapped in silicone rubber?
I’d love an iPhone! For so many reasons and the fact that it is beautifully designed. But, and it kills me to say it, I would put a case on it. Purely for protective reasons. This strong emotional, protective attachment to an object really interests me and forces me to question the iPhone, as successful as it is. It would be interesting to explore this more, your thoughts?