Product Managing for Ourselves: My Parents Get It, Bloggers Don't

So the other night, my parents asked me what an iPhone was at Gino's...

...Clearly, that's some fantastic PR when new technology trickles its way into my parents' conversations just days after launch.   I mean, my dad just got broadband last week.  (Wooo!)

"It's a phone and an iPod in one, so you don't have to carry both things around."

"Wow, that's great."

They didn't care about iHandcuffs, third party apps or whether or not they are locking themselves into Apple

The fact is...   Apple's products are such a vast improvement in overall consumer experience that most users will be more than satisfied.   All the technobloggers are bitching about the lack of openness.   

I ask you: Open to what??

I have a $600 PocketPC Phone and you know what third party apps I have on it?  Newsgator Mobile and Typepad, and Typepad I could just blog through an e-mail address anyway.   A lot of good my open Windows Mobile platform is doing me.  Two apps.  Two goddamn apps.  Plus, the stupid thing can't switch out of apps fast enough to answer the phone a lot of times anyway.  Without apps that people really care about, no one gives a rat's ass about open.

I wouldn't switch, because I'm a business user that needs more robust e-mail and contact management, but I recognize that this product isn't for me.

Closed?  Bleh.  DRM?  Boo.   But, give Apple credit for singlehandedly carrying the whole digital download market on its back and putting music in our ears in the first place.  Do I think it's stupid that I basically walk around with a small computer in my iPod that can run no apps at all?   Yes.   Do I hate their DRM?  Yes.   Is it a ridiculously better product than anything than came before it?  Yes, absolutely. 

Open is great when you have something to be open to...and, geekery aside, if I had to choose between open for open's sake and a great consumer experience, put me in handcuffs, baby. 

Let Microsoft come out with a better product that has a development platform for it.  Zune was a punchline...  and until someone starts understanding what consumers want as job one, no amount of handwringing is going to bring about "open".   

Its funny, because we bloggers say the same thing about carriers.   My non-techie non-blogger friends bitch about carriers, too, but not because they can't get off-deck apps or don't have an open OS...   because they pay too much per month and that's what my parents thought of the iPhone.. it costs too much.

People want value.  Value means more or less money in their pocket.  They can touch and feel money.

They also want real improvement in function.  iPod+Phone... that's a real improvement.  That's one less device that we need.   Third party apps?  Which apps?  What do they look like?  Who wants them? 

There's a reason why people buy Apple's stuff and if there's no useable alternative that is open, can you blame them?