In that they allow the user to get things done under one convenient roof, though at a price of moderate (read: less than great) features.
Coda doesn’t boast the most elaborate text/CSS editor, browser previewer, and Terminal interface in the market (though Transmit reigns over FTP,) but it allows to develop a web site/interface without resorting your thumb and ring-finger to the practice of fervent Apple-Tabbing—a dread to any developer.
In the same way, iPhone is not the best digital camera, multimedia player (for that, we have the iPod), web browser and cellphone, but it wraps all of these things in a mindful and elegant manner.
The verdict: unlike what the Rieses had said for so many times, I still believe that a convergence product can succeed in the marketplace, but only under condition; that is, if the said product offers up a package that is more than the sum its parts. ‘Convenience’ is usually the unique factor here, although it’s hardly enough anymore—hence the failure of many convergence device.
But ‘elegance’ is an entirely another thing.
CODA doesn’t just edit CSS, write code, execute command lines and “do the Dreamweaver.” It allows you to streamline your work process (convenience) in an intuitive—not just logical—manner (elegance.)
iPhone is not just a phone, a multimedia player and a portable web browser all-in-one (convenience.) It’s a well-designed lifestyle suite (elegance.)
To put it in context, compare that fact with Blackberry, which in its own definition of ‘elegance’—believe it or not—had positioned themselves to be the business suite.