Columnist: Apple’s attention to ‘fit and finish and feel’ second-to-none

Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist, serves up a lovely little tribute to Apple’s attention to detail right down to the cardboard packaging in his latest article. Morford writes of Apple, “Detail and nuance and texture and a sense of how users actually feel, what makes them smile, what makes the experience worthy and positive and sensual instead of necessary and drab and evil.”

“These are the things that are nearly dead in our mass-consumer culture, things normally reserved for elitist niche markets and swanky boutiques and upscale yuppie Euro spas and maybe cool insider mags like I-D and Metropolis and dwell. They are most definitely not to be expected of mass-market gadget makers. This is why it matters. This is why it’s important,” Morford writes.

“Oh sure, Apple’s elitist. This is the common line. Sure they’re slightly more expensive and cater to artists and designers and creative types and people who actually care about such pointless stuff as fit and finish and ‘feel,'” Morford writes. “And they command only a sliver of the PC market overall and despite how their designs and innovations resonate across the entire industry and in fact affect industrial design across all consumer culture, true PC/Windows geeks just scoff and snort and go back to trying to patch the latest of 13,876 ‘severe’ or ‘drastic’ security flaws in the nonintuitive bug-ridden hell that is Windows.”

A lovely read here.

19 Comments

  1. Nice article indeed. Let me add this to support the story: what about my switchers colleagues *caressing* their 17″ ?

    They were practically tossing their old HP/Dell/Compaq/Sony/etc laptops on the desk or the seat. Now it is amusing to see the *loving* care they have for their Powerbook. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    It is no more a tool: it is a trustful companion.

  2. This is a great article…and so very true. I had the same kind of experience when I bought my first iPod a couple of months ago. I even commented to my girlfriend at that time what an incredible job they had done on the packaging. And that just isn’t something I’d usually notice or even care about with most products for sure, but this was so good that it just stood out. Apple just knows what it means to be first class all the way.

  3. To those who only have an iPod and not yet a Mac – wait until you get your first new Mac. If you think the iPod is packaged nicely, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  4. Now if only Apple would take some of the attention to detail that they use on the packaging and apply it to the products… warped PB lids, rubber feet _still_ falling off, latch issues; it all spells poor fit and finish to me.

    Fluff pieces like the above do disservice to Mac consumers reinforcing a myth about Apple QC. QC in the last 2 years has gone to hell. I have yet to see one flawless product in that time (and I’m not speaking of wear & tear issues but straight out of the box perfection.)

    So while Apple ditches quality control, other manufactures have finally gotten on the ball in this respect.. another gap seems to building with Apple falling behind in what was a stronghold category.

  5. RE: nonsense.

    That’s what I like to see, someone using personal experience on a product or two as the basis for a total slam on all QC.

    Perhaps someday “nonsense” will realize the world doesn’t revolve around what he/she experiences.

    As for QC and fit and finish, no manufacturer is immune to problems or defects. Apple does understand QC and does also understand the user experience. Opening a new iMac or iPod or PowerBook is an amazing thing. They get it right.

  6. Re: Nonsense,

    “it all spells poor fit and finish to me.”

    Compared to what? Please give any example of better-manufactured products than Apple’s. No? Thought not. My brothers and sister, switchers all, have 13 Macs among them, all bought within the last 18 months, and would vehemently disagree with you. My youngest brother said it all, “I ENJOY using my Macs; I TOLERATED my PC’s.” You couldn’t have picked a more appropriate handle.

  7. Sure too many PBG4 12″ have lost feet, even after the first revision (which was prior to the newest unshipping models, btw) as well as warp issues (wobbling on a flat surface). Even a small micro-percentage translates to hundreds or thousands of machines on the scale of world-wide deployment – so even 1/10th of a percent translates to thousands of disappointed users. But take that PBG4 12″ into your local Apple Store, or call the TS line and they’ll give or send you some feet and maybe even some superglue. Issue resolved.

    And sure, more than a few 700Mhz eMacs had video shift issues (due to a defective monitor cable). I bet that supplier had to pay Apple big bucks for it too – it is not uncommon for parts contracts to have riders specifying if anything more than a certain amount of parts are defective – say 1/10 of 1% – then the part supplier would pay the manufacturer (Apple) a refund off the initial bulk purchase cost. And – again- Apple will repair the machine (while under warranty.) It’s life, and things do get better. I haven’t (yet) heard of any chronic issues with the new PMG5’s or recent PowerBooks.

  8. Early radios were fine pieces of furniture.
    A horse buggy would last generations.
    A house became a unique home with the unique artistic details from the carpenter.
    Each strawberry soda crafted individually with pride.
    The smallest bank in the smallest town still felt like a major financial institution inside.
    Your car ran like new after being repaired at the corner garage.
    A baker’s dozen.
    A house call.

    What ever happened to quality?
    What ever happened to pride?
    When did we stop caring about them?

    Thanks, Apple staff, for still caring!

  9. Bravo Aryugaetu !!

    Like, DITTO!!

    I’ve been buying Apple since 1984 and it’s always been a pleasurable experience to open up and use an Apple product.

    And it’s one of the few times that the product and experience lives up to the advertising.

    Has anyone EVER walked into a McDonalds and it looks, or is anything LIKE how they are depicted in a TV commercial?

    ’nuff said

    dv

  10. Occasionally people pay me to acquire, unpack, install, and set up their computers. An associate recently had me come over to set up his new G5. At the time it was my first G5. Truth be told, I might have done it for free, just for the experience. I even asked him, “Are you sure you don’t want to do this?” I said, “Just open the box, take it out, and I’ll do the rest.” He said, “Nah, you handle it.”

    To me, having someone else open your new Apple product is like getting married and asking someone else to be with your spouse the first night to break them in.

    In this beautifully written article by Mark Morford, I now finally feel like someone else gets it.

  11. I loved this article. What’s cool is that Apple actually endorses an article like this. I love when Apple shows their LEFT. It actually appears as a link from Apple’s “Hot News” section (http://www.apple.com/hotnews/).

    I wish more people wrote like this guy –very entertaining, very well written… I actually signed up for his morning newsletter (something I NEVER do)

  12. I’d like to add that my PC counterparts who have iPods have taken very poor care of them. Full of pen/pencil marks, dings, scratches, etc etc.

    I have had mine for almost twice as longer as them. Although they may have a slimmer iPod, mine is in far better shape.

    Goes to show: Those who have computers who take care of them, return the favor and take care of their computers.

    PC users don’t have any idea.

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