When the iPhone debuted, Apple was lambasted by an odd group of trolls for not including MMS — “even a crappy free phone has MMS!” they insisted. And my reaction to this was: why would Apple want to produce something that compares to a crappy free phone?
Here’s why I think MMS was left off the iPhone: Apple has cojones. They often make the gutsy decision to eliminate features and connections from their products, which creates consternation but later shows good sense as the feature in question fades into obscurity. Remember when they left the floppy drive off the iMac? Well, can you imagine using a floppy disk today? If Apple didn’t take the first step in eliminating dying technologies, the Mac would be like a PC: crammed with all kinds of old legacy ports, drivers, and protocols. A current example: Apple is dumping Firewire 400 like the plague, forcing us all to move forward.
So, MMS. Be truthful: how many of you have used MMS, really? I’m not talking about a few times to play with it — I’m talking about every day, the way you use SMS. Yeah, I didn’t think so. I could count on one hand how many times I’ve send an MMS since the technology was first introduced eons ago, and I am a early adopter gadget freak. When the iPhone debuted it gave us an easy, elegant way to simply email a full photo instead of a postage stamp for 30¢.
So, where did this plan go wrong?
Here’s what I think: for the first time ever, Apple has succeeded in producing a product for the masses. Not for computer geeks, not for designers or techies or people who want elegance and simplicity; but for everyone. Sales of iPhones have topped 17 million, and that’s just scratching the surface of its potential. Unfortunately, this means that the customer base for the iPhone is different. These are not necessarily forward-looking futurists or people who keep to the cutting edge. These are people who see a free Nokia phone and compare it to a $200 iPhone and wonder why the iPhone doesn’t do what the Nokia does — never mind that it does far more than that Nokia, they still wonder about the omissions.
And Apple, possibly with a prod and financial stake from AT&T, is going to give them their wish. Soon you’ll be able to send a tiny, unviewable photo to another mobile phone for only 30¢ each.
Well, you will. I have neither the desire or need to bother with this.