Let me start by saying that I love the Flip. I own two of them. But the introduction of the new iPhone 3Gs has me thinkng the Flip’s days are numbered. The new 3Gs has decent video, especially for a mobile device. More importantly, unlike the Flip, it’s a connected device. That means immediately after recording you can upload your video directly to YouTube or send it via email. While the Flip makes it relatively easy to move videos from the camera to your computer, it’s still a process dependent on a computer (and computer software, and drivers, etc.). The iPhone’s video experience is quick, efficient and direct and there’s no computer needed. It even allows simple video editing right on the device. Rumor has it that video is also coming to the iPod Touch. That can’t be good news for the Flip.
In response to all the buzz about iPhone’s video capabilities, the head of marketing for Flip says the iPhone provides, “an experience that goes down the route of demonstrating why single-purpose devices exist… Apple’s iPhone can’t stand for video, it’s not its primary purpose.” I disagree. The great thing about the iPhone is that its (nearly) all-software interface effectively makes it a single purpose device for whichever application happens to be running at the time (see Hardware Becomes Software). Unlike the modern camcorders that Flip typically competes against, the iPhone does not suffer from dozens of confusing buttons and multiple layers of complexity. It’s a simple, single-purpose experience that eliminates the computer from the equation, making easier to share, which is what low-end consumer video is all about.