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Is Bad Texting Hurting Apple iPhone Sales in Europe? Will It Hurt In India?

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 21, 2008

Sales of Apple’s iPhones in Britain and France appear disappointing. I’m wondering if the criticism I heard In Bangalore India recently about the weak texting capability of the iPhone may be the problem (or a problem—iPhones appear pretty pricey in London and Paris in US dollars).

In Bangalore, I came across a number of Indian designers who had iPhones (they’re not yet sold in India but lots of people were carrying hacked iPhones). They all complained that they could not text with it well. The Indians said the iPhones didn’t do group texting and they needed that to talk to the members of their families during the day. The iPhone didn’t forward texts either. And that way very important.

The Indians said the iPhone texting was designed by someone who didn’t really do much texting—or didn’t have a lot of family and friends. I don’t know the story, but Apple needs redesign its SMS capabilities for the iPhone, at least for India, but perhaps for Europe and the rest of the world as well. You’ve got to understand local cultures if you want to see into them.

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Reader Comments

Jason Chen

January 21, 2008 04:28 PM

Bruce, multi-recipient SMS was introduced to the iPhone through the software update unveiled last week at Macworld.

bruce nussbaum

January 21, 2008 04:33 PM

Fantastic. That may help a lot in future sales. Good to hear that Apple is listening and reacting fast.

Bhavna Bahri

January 21, 2008 07:40 PM

I am iPhone user in India and was facing the same problem, plus could not update my firmware since it would lock my phone again.

Then I discovered a few third party applications one can install, through the installer, which allow one all the usual texting features and more!

Stuart Robinson

January 21, 2008 08:52 PM

SMS is almost certainly the weakest point of the iphone. They have designed the interface as if SMS and IM are the same thing. This is totally not the case and the experience suffers for it.

You cannot save a draft text and then re-edit it later. So no first drafting a text on the tube, or putting some thoughts down in a spare few minutes. If copy and paste was available you could work around this, but it is not.

Apple need to address this, not only is it a design weakness but also an embarrassing revelation of their 30+ years old, silicon-valley-centricness.


January 21, 2008 09:13 PM

This is also a huge problem in China too.


February 5, 2008 06:13 PM

.. I'm glad the iPhone hasn't been introduced to Holland yet, as I certainly would have been misled..

Now I'm warned and I certainly will reconsider using a touch screen mobile phone.. unless of course Apple can solve the design flaw...


June 26, 2008 06:29 PM

I like how they smell. Aaargh. iPhone smelly good. Hold me?


June 26, 2008 06:30 PM

Where are the flowers? Let me roll in them, and smell the iPhone, in all its smelly goodness.


September 6, 2008 02:44 AM

Apple needs to address this issue, i am almost ready to do something different...Such a shame that this phone does so much..with the except of the things we've been doing.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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