by C.G. Lynch

Why the iPhone Being Cool Matters

Jul 03, 20073 mins
IT Leadership

Apple’s release of the iPhone demonstrates, yet again, why being cool matters when pushing new technology onto users, and its successes in the consumer space will offer lessons for businesses.

Even with Steve Jobs admitting on the eve of the iPhone’s launch that the device’s web-browsing capabilities would be slowed by AT&T’s second rate EDGE network, the buzz behind the product has hardly abated.  Apple has carefully marketed the iPhone by outsourcing most of the work to Apple fanatics and bloggers who line up outside their stores with blind allegiance, as well as by compliant members of the established media like myself (who have no sense of irony in writing phrases within an iPhone story that say “in what promises to be a media circus” or “in one of greatest technology releases in more than 20 years.” But I digress.)

Some people have at least admitted it: the iPhone, like the iPod, is cool, and in a world with incredible media and technology saturation, ease-of-use and how pretty it is might matter more than functionality. Apple’s new competitors (phone makers) have taken note of this and realize what they’re up against in the United States market. They might have better functionality in their products and the iPhone might not be revolutionary, but who cares?

In the corporate space, some organizations have at least understood that they don’t know what people think is cool, and have opted to let their technical users decide what devices they believe are. These companies have given those employees an allowance to purchase devices that they feel fulfill the purpose of their job but that they think, well, are cool. 

Right now, coolness might not be at the top of your list when it comes to implementing a new technology at your business, but here’s three reasons why it should:

1) Ease of use means better employee productivity. Sure, Google Apps might not have the same wide-ranging capabilities of a Microsoft Office Suite, but for many people, just opening up one web browser with a few tabs for your e-mail, calendar and text documents might seem easier on the eyes than a bunch of different windows spread out across the bottom of your Windows toolbar.

2) If you give them tools they think are cool, they won’t go behind your back and get them from somewhere else

. They’ll be more open to speaking with you about technology innovations. If you provide them with progressive technology they use outside the workplace, they’ll think you’re forward-thinking enough to approach you with future input.

3) The talent hunt. Sorry, but the baby boomers who found those old legacy systems to be just fine are retiring. As a result, you’ll have to attract new talent to your organizations,people who will want cool technologies in order to do their job effectively and balance their personal lives at the same time.

Any others?