I find it interesting that two people who write on such different topics have converged on their opinion of the iPhone. Dave Winer:
The other functions of the iPhone, the camera, YouTube, the photo browser, even the iPod functionality, are nice to have, but none of them work very well, and without a functioning web and email interface, they don't add much to the appeal of the iPhone. When all is said and done, it's a beautifully designed, colorful, very stylish, cell phone.
The heavy email user wants a keyboard and a decent sized screen; the heavy phone user wants a much smaller device with a numerical keypad; the music user wants an ultra-small device, the internet/video user wants a large screen. And they all want ultra-long battery life. Even God can’t produce that.
There's something of a parallel to this in office software. Going back, there were individual apps for Word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Then there was a brief flurry of excitement around "all in one" packages. After awhile though, Microsoft Office ended up the winner - with three products that had the ability to interoperate, but were in fact individually focused on a specific task.
So let's relate that to things like the iPhone. Lots of people say things like "I'd like to carry one device, not three". However - look at actual usage. If I'm driving, do I want to disconnect my iPod from the stereo to answer a call? If I'm jogging/biking, do I want something as huge as the iPhone? If I'm trying to compose an email, do I want a pseudo-keyboard?
The phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind. Looking at how I actually use gadgets, I'm willing to put up with a second rate camera in my phone (but my daughter, who is actually into photography isn't). I'm not willing to mix my phone and my iPod, because I want different things out of both. At the end of the day, I think Laura Ries is right about converged devices - people like them in the abstract, but they don't like them when they have to deal with specifics.
apple, iPhone, branding, convergence