Pondering black and white

iPhone and Samsung GalaxyWhy does someone choose a white phone and someone else opts for black? And who the hell chooses a brown phone?

I’m sure there are extended studies lurking in the bowels of Apple’s databanks. But I found myself looking at my black iPhone and my wife’s new white Samsung and wondering what those colors say about the device to each of us.

To me, the white phone seems like either an appliance or a personal fashion accessory. An odd dichotomy to be sure.

On the appliance side, the Samsung feels medical. I’d expect it to check my blood sugar level or to know my weight automatically. And that may reflect the intention of home medical devices to appear approachable and friendly, without losing the professionalism and the sterile look of a clean white object.

On the fashion side, it reminds me of a woman’s compact or a piece of plastic jewelry, like a chunky bakelite bracelet.

And, finally, there’s the sheer hipster coolness quality: “Everybody gets the black one. I’ll differentiate myself and get a white one.”

The black iPhone, on the other hand, reminds me of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Smooth and sleek. Carved from a slab of obsidian, with its shiny black face and its flat, rectangular form. As with a black car, its high polish becomes more noticeable — and shows every imperfection. Luckily, these are virtually nonexistent, given designer Jony Ive‘s obsessive attention to detail, fit and finish.

In use, however, the black phone disappears. The brightly lit display becomes the entire focus. It seems to me that the black phone is all about the power of the computer inside, whereas the white phone is all about the object itself — visible and noticeable, like the original iPod with its bright white earbuds.

I’m curious to know if you have a white phone, a black phone, or some other color, and to find out what its color means to you. Feel free to leave a comment.

Where’s Google heading Now and why should we care?

Ed Dale is an Australian internet marketing expert, a prolific emailer and blogger, and a predictor of the direction of All Things Web. He’s just posted an insightful article called:

A Pig Just Flew By And He’s Belting Out “Hollywood Nights” 

If you want to understand why SEO based on links is about to go the way of the dodo, why Siri is Apple’s ace in the hole for far more than just selling phones, and why Google+ is not a social network,  you’ll want to read Ed’s post.  To quote Mr. Dale himself:

I’m declaring something a Game Changer.

It will shock you.

Grab a coffee and read this now.

Seriously, read it now.

A very geeky Christmas

As Leo Laporte correctly pointed out, this is not one of those moments where the musicians are using a cell phone just to get a weird sound. This is (mostly) real music, and sounds like it. Pretty cool. Geek out!

The calendar app that respects your mother

The calendar app that comes on the iPhone sucks. It’s fine for viewing what  you’ve got on your schedule, but its interface is pretty horrible for an Apple product. Entering a new event is an irritating sequence of taps and spins and “Where the hell is that field?” snarls and “Oops!” realizations.

When I heard about the calvetica calendar app for the iPhone, it sounded like exactly what I was looking for. I went to their page in the App Store, and read their feature list.  Shortly after “Lets you add events in just TWO TAPS,” the authors added: “Respects your mother.”  Nice.

But when you see the actual interface design, your immediate reaction is “Aaaahhh. So that’s how a calendar app is suppose to work!” Simple. Clean. Short learning curve. Utterly enjoyable to use. They’ve out-Appled Apple, and are a stellar example of what brilliant interface design can achieve: respect for my sanity, my time — and my mom.

I hope calvetica decides to make a desktop version. Meanwhile, their iPhone app will be waiting patiently at the top of my Home screen.


iPhone hearts New York

Some people think the iPhone is a mobile phone. It’s not.

It’s a tiny computer. And proof, of course, is the fact that there are now over 35,000 applications on sale (or free) in the App Store.

So it should come as no surprise that digital art created on an iPhone has hit the big time. No less venerable a showcase than The New Yorker will feature a cover painting created entirely on an iPhone. using an app called Brushes. (And yes, of course I downloaded it!)

Watch Jorge Colombo’s illustration come to life in the video below. Or read the whole article.

Two iPhone apps in a pissing contest

Talk about addressing a basic human need! Restroom finders Have2P and SitOrSquat are two relatively recent additions to the hundreds of thousands of apps on the iTunes App Store for iPhone. They both do the same thing (and there are others!), but each of these two has a very different attitude.

As a designer and as a marketer, I was interested to see how differently they treat their users.

Have2P is what I expected. Its interface is simple (a little ugly, a little funny), the listings are clean and straightforward. It seems to work fine and do what it says it’ll do. Just dandy for a free application.

SitOrSquat turns out to be a promotional app….for Charmin toilet tissue! Funny idea, perhaps even brilliant. Except the user experience is in-your-face annoying.

Continue reading