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You’re right, there definitely are other smartphones out there â€“ Android being the main competitor at the moment (but my favorite underdog is the Palm Pre). Windows Phone 7 is also â€“ much to my surprise â€“ looking like a strong contender.
And I have nothing against graceful degradation either. What I do have a problem with is the assumption that any experience you build must run on every device out there. The only way to truly achieve this is to cater to a lowest common denominator in your design. I couldn’t think of anything else more mind-numbingly boring. That’s not design, it’s accountancy.
Or, you can pick and choose the platforms/devices that you want to support well and optimize the experience for those. It doesn’t have to be just the iPhone. But you do need focus. And there’s nothing wrong with specifically optimizing your site for iPhone â€“ as was stated in some of the comments and which my own comment was responding to.
Soap’s great for cleaning stuff. But we use shampoo for our hair, detergent for the dishes, and toilet cleaner to clean the toilet. Each is optimized for the task at hand and thus provides a better user experience for each specific use case. Sure, we could use soap for all three, and it would probably get the job done, but it wouldn’t be as good an experience.