Does iPhone need a 20-minute introductory video?

Apple has released a 20-minute video tour of the iPhone, but shouldn't the product explain itself right out of the box?

Apple has just released a twenty-minute guided video tour of the iPhone. I launched the video expecting a whizzy, emotionally-engaging presentation that would get me even more jazzed about the iPhone's release. Instead I found a straightforward, talking-head tutorial that had me wishing that John Hodgman or Justin Long would show up to provide a little comic relief.

I suppose I shouldn't slam Apple for choosing substance over style, but the button-by-button hand-holding stood out as an anomaly from all the other experiences I have had with Apple over the past 20 years.

I expect Apple communications to by stylish and engaging. This video was bland and tedious. I can't picture too many Apple fans who will sit still for 20 minutes of tutoring.

More importantly, isn't an Apple product supposed to explain itself right out of the box? The iPhone, of all products, had better be intuitive to use. I expect to be Mapquesting sushi restaurants and calling for reservations within two minutes of first power-up. For me, reading an Apple manual is a last resort and usually the sign of a major system failure.

While we're still in the early-adopter phase, I think Apple can hold off on the remedial lessons. Getting an iPhone is going to be like unwrapping a Christmas present, and I'd rather be surprised and delighted by the fabulousness of it all!

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