Jimmy Kimmel demonstrates that the average person doesn't know smartphones that well

Bust out the haterade, dust off your iSheep macro keys, and wind up for some general hating of Apple fans, it's video time! Last night, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the late night variety show took to the streets of Hollywood to ask people about the iPhone 5. The new iPhone isn't out yet, and your average Angelenos likely hasn't seen one yet, let alone read all of the news about the iPhone 5 (especially just the hours after it was announced, when this segment was filmed).

Seeing as this is Jimmy Kimmel, the show used the occasion as an opportunity to fool around and make the average person seem a fool. It's Kimmel's modus operandi, and there's nothing wrong with that. With the iPhone 5 still a week away, they instead whipped out an iPhone 4S and told unsuspecting people on the street that it was the iPhone 5. Apart from the taller screen and the beveled edges of the body, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S look incredibly similar, enough so that it was sufficient to fool said unsuspecting persons on the street. The comments generally revolved around it seeming faster, thinner, and lighter - everything you'd expect in a new iPhone. Handed a device that looks like an iPhone, and told that it's the new iPhone 5, the people playing around with it saw what they expected to see.

It's a classic experiment. Microsoft did something similar with Windows Vista, briefly running an advertising campaign called the Mojave Experiment in July of 2008, where unsuspecting persons were given a demonstration of Windows Vista, but not told that it was Vista. At that point, Vista had been out for nearly a year and a half and though commercially successful was considered to be a generally poor software experience. Asked about there perceptions of Vista, participants in 'the Mojave Experiment' gave the OS an average rating of 4.4. When Vista was demonstrated to them as 'Mojave OS', rebranded but otherwise unchanged, but in a controlled environment with the implication that Mojave was a next generation operating system. Operating under the generally-true assumption that newer software is better software, the participants rated Mojave at an 8.5.

The same basic premise was at play in Kimmel's segment. People who wouldn't know any better are handed an iPhone and told it's the new iPhone 5, even if it's not. Unsurprisingly, the expect it to be faster, thinner, and lighter. Most people aren't going to be able to tell the speed difference in just a short while, paging around the app launcher and loading web pages (unless they're on different networks, in which case the AT&T HSPA iPhone will smoke Sprint and Verizon's 3G). Most people aren't going to be able to tell the relatively minute difference in thickness or weight, especially when a good chunk of those interviewed had their iPhones in a case.

And so, as the video made its rounds this morning, the fanboys came out in force. Not the iPhone fanboys, but fanboys that hate on the iPhone for being the iPhone. You know the ones, they complain about the walled garden, the glass hardware, how Apple 'invents' everything, and take an exceedingly disturbing amount of pleasure in leveling criticism at a product they're not going to buy. The call iPhone users 'iSheep' and 'iLemmings' and other stupid iNames. Why? I don't know, but I find it bizarre and disturbing that people feel and feel the need to express such vitriol over the phone choices of people they don't even know. Repeat after me: it's just a phone.

So today the video made the rounds. It landed on iMore's Android-loving sister site Android Central, with the title of "If you've seen one, you've seen the next one". Fair enough, as we said, there's not an obvious physical difference if you don't know any better. And on CrackBerry as "iSheep in Action". Really, Kevin? Really? I know that's playing to the home crowd, but the people in that video likely aren't the type that would qualify as 'iSheep', blindly following Apple into whatever Cupertinoian crevice they venture. The comments on both articles are even worse.

What would happen if you pulled aside a random person on the street, handed them a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and told them it was a Galaxy S III? Probably the same exact thing - it seems thinner, faster, and lighter than the old one. It's an expectations and knowledge game, one that the vast majority of people on this planet would fail.

The people that read this site, Android Central, CrackBerry, and really practically every tech site out there aren't the average person. We're interested in tech to the point that we want to know about what's coming up next and actively seek out information before it's public knowledge. We know the difference between the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 because we're actually interested in what the differences are, and wouldn't likely be fooled if you put an older phone in our hands and told us it was the new one. Same goes for Android users, Windows Phone fans, and every other technology segment where you can find fans of the product. The fans know it inside and out, but they're the minority to the overwhelming majority of users who wouldn't know the difference.

It's a phone. Nothing more, nothing less. It's an appliance, a tool to help us get more done throughout the day. Did we all hate on somebody for using a yellow legal pad to take notes instead of a college-ruled white notebook? No, I don't remember that. Just like I don't seem to remember people rudely and publicly criticizing a group of people just because they wear different shoes.

We all make choices about what we wear, where we go, who we talk to, what we buy, and what we do. Our choices are defined by who we are, not the other way around. Just because somebody chose to buy an iPhone and doesn't recognize the new iPhone they've never seen before doesn't make them an 'iSheep' anymore than somebody owning a Toyota Corolla, liking it, and not noticing when you show them a same-year Corolla and tell them it's a new car makes them a Toyotanite.

It's time to stop labeling people by the products they buy. It's time for the irrational, unwarranted, and frankly nonsensical hate between iPhone and BlackBerry and Android and Windows Phone to stop (and for webOS users to stop crying in the corner), just like the time has long past for Windows and Mac users to stop looking down their noses at each other. There are so many much more important and pressing issues in the world today that it's disappointing to see people taking the time out of their day to spew virulent hatred towards other over truly inconsequential purchasing decisions. They're just phones, it's time to recognize that and move on.

Also, watch the video. It's amusing.

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

  • Well said Derek! It's amazing to see the amount of hatred directed at someone over their choice or preference for a phone.
  • You isheep's are so funny, instead of taking it for what it is you say it just people not knowing smartphones that well (yet most of them own their iphones and are ready to bash anything BB or android related). Take it for what it is "BRAINWASH"mentality. Again u isheep's are so funny...
  • Troll much? lol Why are you so butt hurt?
  • Butt Hurt...huh? You just proved iSheeps are not very bright. I wouldn't be surprised if one of you Bhaaa's was on that clip...lol
  • I actually agree, you sound pretty dumb and like a troll. I don't even use iPhones but I'm not going to bad mouth someone for having a different preference than me. Lord, the state of humanity keeps degrading...
  • Achtung: Ve have seen zis many times before in countless studies how "Counter-Selection Bias Manifests in Disrespectful Snarky Aggression und Cognitive Dissonance; ein gut example vould be ze vorks von Jon Elster ("adaptive preference formation") und auch von Leon Festinger; look to ze Vikipedia artikel: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance#section_1 Ze hating iz easy to understand, ja! Eet iz both a hardware und software problem. Eet iz fueled by a complex of low IQ (h/w), plus feelings of jealousy und inferiority (s/w). Jawohl und gesundheit!
  • You can't be upset at the other sites. That video is just stating the truth that most of the buyers of the iPhone are really just zombies at the end of the day. What was funny and sad were the people who owned the 4S already.
  • Maybe you didn't actually read the article...? Reality is that most people have more relevant things to do than obsess over phones and specs. Which is why the same thing would happen with android or win phone etc., if you were to attempt it. Stop the hate man.
  • Thats true but the people in this video should at least be able to tell the difference by looks and performance rather than saying generic jargon. Especially since some of them admitted to owning the same device the host is interviewing them with.
  • In Summary,
    People are insecure and would always try to impose their opinions on others so that they gain support.
  • But the difference between the iPhone and the other products you mentioned is that all the new iPhone iterations (4, 4S, 5) look pretty much the same.
  • In all honestly...here it is...I am a recovering iHater. Of all things Apple. My iPhone was my first device and that changed everything. Every device I own now is Apple. My laptop, my mp3 players, my phone, my tablet, I own two Apple TVs and I am addicted to all of them. Here is the deal. I started very early with smartphones. I remember a time when I was criticized by people with RAZRs for my phone being, SO BIG. Well, here comes the iPhone and with it, a bunch of sheep. It annoyed me with how people were like, "well, gosh, I get emailes on my phone!! can yours do that?" I was like, "Yes.....". Of course, videos, music, internet, everything people were blown away by were not NEW to me. For no good reason, I grew to hate Apple more. Well, after getting an iPod Touch hand-me-down, I was converted. Almost overnight. I went through Windows Mobile, not Windows Phone, WebOS, Zunes, and Android. After sampling em all, I have my devices set for life. Its true, to me, most users STILL use their phone to do nothing more than call, text, and email. And you know what? That's ok. Its no longer annoying to me. Guess I had to just grow up.
  • It was a humorous video for sure and it was done to make a point. But you have to realize it was just entertainment and what you don't see are the other 20 people they showed it to that said, "That's not an iPhone 5". Those people were editted out.
  • I was thinking that too. However, we really don't know. It could gave been 20 or zero. And how many others misidentified that we didn't get to see? But this video clip might turn out to be worth a billion dollars.
  • Lmaooooo, thats a damn shame
  • " Just like I don't seem to remember people rudely and publicly criticizing a group of people just because they wear different shoes." Hmm. I do. That sounds almost exactly like my experience from middle school through college. I was safe though, because I wore British Knights. ;)
  • Too wordy and back-tracky, IMO. If the people in the video said the phone was faster, thinner, and lighter, then I don't care that they may not follow tech sites like this one. They evaluated the phone and made up positive differences in their own minds. That either makes hem iSheep or iDiots. Let's not quibble over which.
  • Reply fail. Wrong message. Edited for my click happiness.
  • Re: "Using Jimmy Kimmel's edited video as basis for a discussion of the iPhone 5 is nonsense." Who did that? I thought this was the basis of a discussion on placebo tech-effect.
  • I replied to the wrong comment.
  • I make fun of people that drive Toyota Corrolas. Silly Corrola drivers... It's fun. You should try it. ;-) All kidding aside, sheep are sheep are sheep, but going after the people on the street (lowest common denominator) is what comedians do, not what reasonable tech folks do. Using Jimmy Kimmel's edited video as basis for a discussion of the iPhone 5 is nonsense.
  • yeah these people definitely dont have any outside knowledge of electronics.. but unless this was staged, some of them baffled me. they were holding their own 4S in their hand and falling for the prank.. crazy. especially the girl with the white one! im sure shes embarrassed this morning, haha. anyway good article.. too long tho
  • Lmao that's a long article to describe what happened in video. No they aren't isheep they just believe what apple tells them, especially if they already own a iPhone.
    Hand me a Nexus and I'll tell the difference. Hand me any Android and I can tell the difference regardless of what Google moto or Samsung tell me.... however I'm sure there were some people so could tell the difference and then omitted them from the footage but I don't think it was many...
  • Its not about the phone. Its what one's feels as unwarranted accolades or bias toward a product that brings out their hate. Better yet, who doesn't harbor a little hate toward overrated people or products? Going out of one's way to express that hate is something else though.
    Many of the people in the video were owners of the iPhone 4&4s. They don't have to know anything about smartphones in general, just the one they own and held in their hand. You have to wonder, what was the motivation for buying an iPhone, if they can't see that they were holding 2 identical iPhones? The term iSheep may be justified in this case.
  • Out of curiosity, do you think that this would have been different if they did it with Android phones? Or BlackBerries?
  • I can't speak for android phones, but the result would be much different with blackberry users. I'm pretty confident the percentage of enterprise users for blackberry are much higher than that of iPhone users. The work vs personal phone usage defines the difference in knowledge base of the two smartphone user bases.
  • An Android phone would be much harder. There are all kinds of makes/models of Android phones. Android is only an OS. Since so many carriers (for Android phones) are behind in updating their software, the "average person" who was handed a brand new Android phone would see right away that it is different because it's running Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean, whereas their own phone is likely running Gingerbread or whatever.
  • I am very sure you could differentiate between whatever phone u were given...but you would not end up on TV...Like those who probably got it right didn't...:)
  • Good article.....I don't know why people think that anyone who is making a commercial choice is a crazy fan....like android or ifan in the current context...I used Nokia phones for 6 years...not because they were best...or other phones were not good enough...I got used to them and felt that I was getting the value for my money and I was SATISFIED....Then when I started feeling that they were getting too costly for my taste...I bought an iphone 3GS...liked what I saw...have been using an iphone since because I like using it...I feel I get the value for my money....and I am SATISFIED....The day need to look for another cell phone because apple is not cutting it anymore....I will do that....That time may come next year...maybe 10 years from now....But I wont consider that a loss for apple...or a win for android or windows phone....or whatever cockamamie device I move on too...It would be a win for me because I will be satisfied....So please STOP judging others by their choices...When u are smart enough to make your own choice...and are satisfied with what you have...let others do the same...
    A Good day to all...
  • We played a game in middle school: several students were sent out in the hallway to do a task. While they were away fetching items that would never be used, the teacher informed everyone that they were going to be playing a game where we go around the room and one at a time, everyone looks into a bag and identifies what's inside. The teacher said that everyone in the classroom would say the items were a spoon, ball, and fork...but they weren't. So when the unsuspecting kids came inside and we went around, everyone said spoon, ball, and fork...including the kids who didn't hear the directions. The point is that when you're told something IS something by someone either in power or from multiple people, you mistrust your own judgment. You play along. You doubt. The world plays tricks on your mind. It's likely many of these people didn't think it was an iPhone 5, but played along, not totally sure. Or maybe some of them (shocker!) actually were just unaware of the iPhone announcement and didn't realize this wasn't a new one. Apple hasn't strayed far in form factor or the look of the OS, so it's not exactly surprising if that's the case.
  • i like the no hate sentiment. as a former/occasional precentral reader that's words they could head. Well honestly every tech person imore included should heed. But i noticed you got a ton of vitriol for even posting that apple launched an iphone on precentral from lots of people. As an average phone appliance users i'm utterly sick of the fanboy stuff on any side. Though those people on the streets are misquided i still like them better then all tech fanboys. Cause to them it's just a phone.
  • Good write-up Derek. It's one thing for a TV show to do something like this; and it was funny. It's no different then Jay Leno asking someone who the Vice President is and them not knowing. But it's another thing for people to hate, and I really me deep down hate, Apple and the people that use iPhones. I really don't understand it. It's a phone.
  • Great post! The funny thing is that not a lot of people stop to think about the source. It's television which means the footage is made to do exactly what the show intends it to do. In other words if they met any knowledgable iPhone user who balked at being given an iPhone 4s as the iPhone 5 the footage wouldn't be used.
  • You're the only one who realized this. Sensationalism and re-interpretation of events are strong tools of the media. It's Los Angeles we're talking about. There are more than enough people who know what's going on in the tech. world that they could have stopped and questioned, and you're telling me that all they could come up with are old people who most likely don't even know how to use their iPhone to it's full potential?
  • What's funny is that Crackberry Kevin is an iPhone user, therefore an "isheep", so it's obvious that he just posts whatever he thinks will bring more traffic to Crackberry. What else is he going to write about, there is no new products from RIM out there? Crackberry Kevin wrote: Every time I pick up the iPhone 4S, I find myself wishing the display was bigger. It feels so small these days, especially after spending time on a device like the Galaxy Nexus (who’s screen is arguably a little too big). I really hope we see a bigger display on iPhone 5. I’m also finding Siri just doesn’t yet fit into my mobile lifestyle. I never find myself instinctively using it, and even when I put it to use it’s more of a hassle. In retrospect, I probably could have stuck with my iPhone 4 another year and waited for the iPhone 5, vs. going to the 4S. http://www.imore.com/2012/04/14/iphone-4s-six-months/  
  • This just shows what I know, Apple knows that for sure, and most smartphones manufactures should know: The average consumers know nothing about smartphones. And they don't care either, a I'd bet they won't care for a long time, maybe ever. That's why they can be so easily fooled. And Apple doesn't focus on tech specs on its products because of that. The geeks hate that (it doesn't give them any challenge), but the consumers get Apple. It's about being faster, lighter, thinner, and a great experience. And always being "handsome" on the outside. Nobody is better than Apple on selling that ! That's where I think some companies fails. Samsung is figuring this out now (but still focus too much on specs to support their geek fans), and Amazon got the idea right and put inside the Kindle Fire now. Better than copying Apple products is to copy Apple's business strategy. And, the better part, you won't get sued with that!
  • even kevin dont even know the phone he showing these people is an iphone 4 not the 4s anyone that knows this wont even ask me how did i know this from the video
  • It's the antenna break on the top next to the jack opening; this was eliminated when the break was positioned on the left side just above the Silence Switch.
  • What this also shows is that people will do and say anything just to be on television (trying to snatch that 15 seconds of fame!!!!)
  • That was pretty funny