It's always instructive to step outside the techo-chamber to see how the normal (real) world thinks.
A couple of months ago, at a Radio Shack, I did that and learned that folks weren't buying many iPhone 5s because Apple wasn't offering the awesome discounts that Samsung and other handset companies were offering on their top-of-the-line phones. This illustrated the challenge that Apple faces in reaching the fastest-growing part of the smartphone market--people who don't already have smartphones.
And, yesterday, I had another instructive brush with the normal world.
I was waiting for an elevator, with my face in my little iPhone, when a dentist I know bounded up with his own (huge) phone.
The dentist looked over at my puny iPhone and said (paraphrasing), "You still have an iPhone? Ugh. Best move I ever made was ditching that thing."
Then he held up his own phone, the screen of which was covered with orange squares.
"My IT guys gave me this," he said. "I love it. So simple. Everything you need is right on this screen. I'm so glad to be done with that Apple crap."
I asked the dentist what kind of phone it was. I could see that it had a huge screen, which is what I usually notice when I'm standing next to someone with a new big smartphone while I'm holding my old little iPhone. But beyond that I had no idea what I was looking at. Smartphones all pretty much look the same these days.
It was a Nokia Lumia, he said. Running Microsoft's operating system. He scrolled through the screen and proudly showed me how all the stuff he needed was right there. He also changed the colors of his tiles from orange to blue to show how easy that was. And then he demo-ed a couple of other things he loved.
The Microsoft phone did look simple and convenient. It didn't necessarily look drastically more simple and convenient than the iPhone (and, in my experience, unlike my dentist friend, most mass-market consumers don't actually like to customize things). But it looked simple and convenient.
What was most interesting, though, was how excited the dentist was to be "done with Apple." And he was also glad, he said, not to have had to buy "that other phone," which I soon gathered was a Samsung.