There are some people who love change for its own sake. Perhaps they even need it or crave it, not because it improves anything, but just because it’s different. But most people don’t like change.
We accept change, but usually with a cost-benefit analysis attached. If we change this, will it improve the experience or make it worse? If I move from this town to another, will living in the new town be better? Will my new job be better? Is it better for me to pay a lot of money for a new car or should I just keep driving my old car that needs repairs?
We are the same way with our technology. I like my old Blackberry with its physical keyboard; why should I go with a new iPhone with a virtual keyboard on glass? My 3.5” screen smartphone is perfectly adequate. That 4” screen is too big.
And that’s the other thing about change: We get used to the change. A new car feels new and exciting… for a few weeks. But then it becomes routine. A new house is an adventure… until it gets filled with our stuff and we sleep, wake, eat, clean and live in it for weeks.
Again, the same is true for our technology as well. When I was contemplating upgrading from my old iPhone 5 (4” screen) to the iPhone 6 (4.7” screen) or 6 Plus (5.5” screen) , I though the 6 Plus would be too big. All the tech press and reviewers talked about how big it was in the hand and too big for some people. I dithered and dallied, but I finally went for the big phone. And it seemed so big at first.
But now, it’s just the size of my phone. I got used to it. Although when I hold Melanie’s old iPhone 4 in my hand it seems so tiny. I can’t believe I ever used a phone that small. So not only do we get used to the change, but it change our perception of how things used to be.
If there’s one truth about technology, it’s that it’s always changing. Apple announced new iPhones this week and one of the changes is the loss of the headphone port. People are freaking out about it. This is a big change for people.
There is no more personal technology today than our mobile phones and apart from taking photos and sending messages, perhaps the most common use is listening to or watching content on them, usually with headphones. This change goes right into the comfort zone so there needs to be a big benefit to such a big change.
I don’t know if Apple has yet provided a sufficient rationale for how it will benefit users. But the reality is that the iPhone is the most popular phone on the planet. People will buy it by the millions. Adjusting to the loss of the headphone port will take some time. Some people will hate it. Some will go to Android phones to avoid the change (which will be a change in itself). Some competitors will tout the lack of a change in their phones as a reason to buy them.
But people will get used to the change eventually. And in a couple of years, perhaps even as few as one year, hardly anyone will complain about it. Phones without 100-year-old analog ports will be the new normal and seeing a phone with one will seem odd.
It’s just the way human nature is.