The iPhone is Apple’s “Porsche 911”

Here’s an opinion piece from a senior, highly connected mobile industry insider, that I think deserves some exposure:

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The iPhone is their 911. Porsche don’t redesign the 911, they would be mad to, they simply refine it, year after year.

The Porsche 911 is a lovely car. You either want one or you don’t. Every year (or so) Porsche update the design of the car, they refine the angles, they polish the interior, they obsess over every detail, they add features that make the car even more of a joy to drive (sometimes they mess around with some part of it that they shouldn’t and get complaints) but they continuously iterate the design and the feel of the car to make the smoothest back wheel drive sports car they can, year after year… and people buy them, year after year. Not everyone buys them though.

That’s what I believe Apple are doing. Refining. Making the best possible touchscreen phone they can.

The iPhone 5 is actually a lovely phone – even though the maps are shocking. Could you imagine buying an A to Z and it being wrong? You’d be furious. Passbook will be a killer app, and the fact that as a developer you don’t need to redesign or recut your icons because the screen is the same width, is actually genius. Not wider and taller like a new Samsung, just taller.

You can see more of the webpage, no fuzzy icons because the screen changed size just increase the part of your app that has the content in it, and keep everything else the same.


People haven’t said that enough. Have you seen how many different screen resolutions you now need to support when building apps for Android. It’s too many.

Yet again the point jump, the jump from 4 to 5 is a big one, like the jump from 3 to 4.

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What do you think?

Although I’ve been particularly direct about Apple’s Maps screw-up recently, I certainly agree that the iPhone 5 is a very nice device.

If only everyone could buy a 911 for £49 up front and £45 a month? 😉

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

7 replies on “The iPhone is Apple’s “Porsche 911””

Yeah, this guy gets it, unlike most folks.

Evolution not revolution writ large. Face it, the last 5 year’s iPhones have *never* really had a completely new, killer thing that demanded an upgrade based only on that. Everything had been done before, on other platforms, other devices, other form-factors, often to a higher spec. Apple just packaged it all up nice and left out the unnecessary stuff that didn’t work too good. Sometimes this was seen as retrograde – no MMS, no Bluetooth sharing, iTunes activation required etc – but the consistent, almost-always-progressive iteration is what has built the behemoth that is the iPhone, and by extension Apple.

I’ve been saying this for a while and using the same correlation to Porsche… Apple would be crazy to come out with a totally new design… keep tweaking it, make it faster, sleaker, more efficient.

From a distance the new 5 doesn’t look that much different to the 4/4S, but get up close, hold it, use it, look at the detail and it’s so different… this year’s 911 is exactly the same.

Oh – and both are quality products that people are prepared to pay a premium for. If I wanted a car that was as fast and had more gadgets than the 911 I would go for a GT-R, problem is it’s not quite a 911, if I wanted a phone that was as fast and had more gadgets than the 5 I would go for a Galaxy S3 – in both cases the alternatives aren’t quite as well finished

Excellent comparison GT-R = GSIII. You’d spend the rest of your time owning it, wishing you’d held out…

Hey no GT-R bashing…!

Good comparison though, and an almost identical situation with equally annoying fanbois.

The only thing I disagree with is that the iPhone is not a car.

Cars as a technology are a hundred years old. They are mostly ‘done’, especially petrol ICE driven ones. Apart from minor improvements in safety, economy and performance they haven’t changed significantly in 30 years. Even if Porsche were able to somehow squeeze 25% more power and use 20% less fuel it wouldn’t make a 911 any more or less impressive or saleable.
Essentially, for a classic design of a category of machines which are only experiencing incremental evolution, there is nothing else for Porsche to do. Refinement is all that is left to them to continue sales.

I would argue that smartphones are a long way away from done, there are plenty of radical changes which will come over the next 20 years, and while they might not turn up every year we should probably continue to be slightly disappointed if we don’t see something amazing every once in a while.

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