Both the Nokia Lumia line and Apple’s new iPad are making their presence known in Sydney today, but so far the stories are quite different. In the early morning, as Nokia set up Australia’s first Augmented Reality (AR) event to promote its new Lumia smartphones, the now customary line for the new iPad was already around the block.
While comically huge queues for new Apple devices are becoming just another of life’s little idiosyncrasies, when we think about it we’re still entirely perplexed by them. Obviously we understand the appeal behind portable devices. The smartphone and tablet revolutions have changed and are still changing our culture in ways we would never have imagined just one short decade ago.
Yet, the magnetism that Apple has over this market is still undeniable. With two product launches on offer, Apple drew the far larger crowd in the early hours of today for their upgraded iPad whilst Nokia had slightly less luck. In fact, the difference in crowd pull as we passed through this morning was conspicuous, to say the least.
Do we think the new iPad a great upgrade? Yes. The retina screen and graphics boost alone were enough to get us on board. On paper it’s a far bigger step in the right direction than we saw with the iPad 2, at least when it comes to hardware. But we have to say that as far as product launches go we’re more interested in the Lumia range down at Martin Place. Why, you might ask? That’s a very good question.
It’s no secret that Nokia has had a tough time of it since Apple unveiled the first iPhone back in 2007. Every time a big new Symbian device reared its head it always seemed to be a generation behind the big players like Apple, HTC and Samsung. The right hardware was always there but the software driving the parts, the Symbian operating system (OS), left a lot to be desired.
Now Nokia has thrown its lot in with the Windows Phone OS. Windows Phone may have received some conflicting press when it first went public, but in the roughly one year since its inception WP has come further than any OS we can think of in the same amount of time. In around 12 months Windows Phone went from being a promising OS to a functional, beautiful and fast user experience.
Combine Nokia’s pension for solid hardware, stylish design and fantastic cameras with this new OS and you definitely have our attention.
As demonstrated by Apple today, the draw that iDevices have over the market far exceed anything that the competition can currently generate, but that’s ok. Apple has done its job well and penetrated 2 markets of its own creation with almost unprecedented success. This is partly because of marketing, but we’ll certainly not deny that iDevices got to where they are by being the first to do new things and doing those things extremely well.
But it is this very proliferation that causes our continued befuddlement. Due to Apple’s overwhelming success, almost everyone has used an iPhone and a huge number of people have at least had a go on an iPad. We see them every day on the train, at work and on TV. iDevices are just part of life in 2012.
We understand that iPads are great. We love iPhones and have a huge appreciation for how they’ve help shaped culture. But after 5 generations of iPhone and 3 of iPad we feel like they’ve become normal.
Waiting an extra week, fortnight or month for a new iPad isn’t going to change one’s life in any considerable way. Taking time off of work or study or even out of your precious free time to stand in a line waiting for a device that’s a bit better than the one you have now (and let’s not kid ourselves, non-iPad owners will be in the minority in that queue) just doesn’t seem like something that should be considered as “normal”.
Windows Phone has taken off as an OS overseas in the UK and US, but it’s been lagging a bit in Australia. If you’re content with your current device because it’s familiar and suits your needs then that’s fine and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you never know, you might see something you like or want at new product launches. The mobile market is filling with increasingly interesting options and we’d like to urge a few of you to try some of this new stuff out. That way if it fails or succeeds it won’t be solely because of marketing, image or the difficulty of breaking in to an already polarised market, but because of how it stood on its own merits as a portable user experience.
We’d like to urge a few of you who are in the city today to head on over and check out Nokia’s AR demonstration for no other reason that it’s a solid device that you’re probably not too familiar with. It might even be a bit of fun.
You can get in on it and bust a move, or just enjoy the show. It’s up to you.