Not Everyone Has an iPhone

I’d like you to take in informal data point on your immediate social network. No, not the people you like, heart or drop cute little emoticons on, I’m talking about actual people you talk or text with. 

Now, count on 10 fingers (yourself included) on what smart phone you and your 9 other peers are on. At first pass, that’s 5 on an iPhone and 5 on an Android. This includes my immediate family members, in-laws, the boys if you will and me.

I use an iPhone and I have that bias groomed into me from the start. There’s 50% of an audience I very much overlook. 50% of an audience I don’t necessarily acknowledge when I code and it’s a thought I want to process today with you by my side.

This pondering impacts everything we do on both a business and cultural level. But bringing it back to the context of this channel, namely, web app development, it gets me to once again think. This is a challenge once again brought to my attention by my JavaScript Instructor, Thomas Powell. 

A small except from a previous conversation, he says “grab a stock Android phone or throttle your dev tools and feel the pain”.

Here’s an ad hoc test I just did right now. I have Outlook’s web app open in my Chrome browser and I’ve intentionally throttled the app at a Slow 3G connection. I’ve had the the time to write and rewrite what I’m saying to you at the moment because Load is at 1.7 minutes. Okay, I’m over it. Flipping this back to Online and it has a Load of 7.36 seconds.

Now, to be clear this is Outlook which means an abundance of emails (text and downloadable images) so for Outlook to do this over the wire is amazing in itself.

Unfortunately, I don’t find myself equipped to convince business leads that servicing these audiences are important. Except to say, it is.

Here’s some food for thought. 

And a list of challenges we as developers need answers to in order to overcome this oversight:

  • How do you convince your business that a non-iPhone lead is worth pursuing? 
  • In this case, the argument that not everyone is on the latest iPhone or a 5G connection?
  • What are the data points necessary to present which gives them the chance to make an informed decision?
  • How do you as a developer address this problem without ever being told?
  • Are solutions like caching, gzip, compression or progressive web app techniques enough to solve this problem?
  • Product, Design & Development often argue about what the MVP truly is. Those debates should continue.
  • But have we beat it with a dead horse when it’s been about the same segments since the advent of the original iPhone in 2007?
  • Are your UX and Design specs already framed with an iPhone as its exterior? What gave to that assumption?
  • It’s fair to say that other countries have completely different networking infrastructures – word of mouth has it that South Korea has one of the fastest internet speeds of any country.
  • But on our own soil I know for sure that there are regions within our 50 states that aren’t wired up like Silicon Valley. 
  • Take a look at the rust belt. 
  • Take a look at the corn belt. 
  • Take a look at your own county and reflect back on what cities had the poorest of internet connections. 
  • Tie that alongside the type of hardware your 9 other peers are on.
  • Can we develop for that?