CNET’s Cooper: Apple products reflect an attention to detail that rivals should study

“My wife doesn’t know it but I’m looking to surprise her with a new digital camera for her birthday. Problem is that her birthday was two weeks ago and I’m still shopping,”; Charles Cooper writes for CNET. “So what’s wrong? Chalk it up to gizmo overload… Maybe I’m being a knucklehead about all this but my hunch is that a lot of people are in the same boat. You wind up scratching your head trying to make sense of a dizzying array of advertised features. For salesmen, it’s the equivalent of a full-time employment act. For the rest of us, it’s misery.”

“Technology buyers have had to put up with this nonsense for the better part of the last couple of decades. We’re made to feel stupid again and again and again. Maybe we’d be more willing to accept our lot if Apple Computer hadn’t had the audacity to remember that products are supposed to serve human beings, not the other way around,” Cooper writes. “Remember the iPod? (Note to myself: That would be a nifty slogan for a mass consumer rebellion.) It’s no surprise that this little MP3 player has been the centerpiece of Apple’s revival. The elegance of the product’s design has made all the difference. You pick up the device and you just get it. Apple makes a big deal of its design edge over the rest of the technology industry, and rightly so. The company’s products–including the iPod, the Macintosh and the online music store–reflect an attention to detail that rivals should study.”

Cooper writes, “Is it really that hard? Beats me, but Apple’s designers just do a better job putting themselves into real peoples’ shoes. The upshot: Apple does not waste folks’ time by coding in a lot of stupid, confusing features. Why can’t other companies do the same?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And there you have it in a nutshell. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) – even though Apple makes it look easy to accomplish, it isn’t, as Microsoft, Sony and thousands of other companies’ products prove.

(It’s also why Nintendo’s Wii is winning awards and grabbing people’s attention.)

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Apple’s Mac vs. Microsoft’s Windows – May 05, 2006

21 Comments

  1. Apple products have actual names.
    They only have a handful of products.
    They don’t change them every five minutes for new variations on the same thing. If they do they get rid of the old one and literally replace it.

    Most importantly their products are bloody good in the first place.

    Microsoft have succeeded with the XBox and Sony with the Playstation and shockingly they have actual names and you can’t buy two dozen different variations of them.

  2. Amusing to me that this guy works for CNET, who is a provider of product reviews, and yet he can’t figure out which digital camera to buy.

    In 1998 Bill Gates joked about Apple’s design of the iMac and wondered aloud how long it would take the computer industry to catch up to their lead.

    We are still waiting Bill.

  3. Spot on: “We’re made to feel stupid again and again and again” as in…. Windows 3.1; 95; 2000; ME; XP and VISTA.

    “Microsoft: Designed to make you feel stupid.”

    Time to switch to Apple chaps.

  4. I dream of a day when all remotes, all over the world, are as simple as the Apple Click Wheel. The question is why isn’t the Apple Remote designed the same way as the iPod Click Wheel? Same features, but why no click wheel? Hmm…

  5. That is why I want MS to keep Gates and Ballmer around a long time. They believe in overly complex devices/software riddled with features that very few will use. Keep it complex, kids. It can only help the competition. ie. Apple.

  6. I agree with KISS, but I would also like Apple products to have advanced features available to those geeky enough to want them.

    For instance, there is absolutely no reason why the iPod shouldn’t have a 5-band EQ. Sure, “advanced” features like user-definable EQ might confuse mom and pop, but some of us would like to tailor their sound a little more precisely than the ROCK or CLASSICAL settings.

    m

  7. The challenge that all producs have is how to justify the purchase of a new one. Apple like others need to add features to their products as well.

    MS Word continues to add features to a program that did everything it needed to 20 years ago. Same thing is true for a myriad of other products. That is why your cellphone has a camera, day planner, MP3 player, web browser. More more more.

    Apple’s iPod is a flashaback to simplicity with some added features that most don’t even know about and are rarely advertised. (Synch with Address Book & Calendar, iphoto. etc.)

  8. Why Apple gets it and others do not:

    1. Kingdoms.
    MS, Sony, etc.. have layers and layers of management and worker bees, all making sure their job stays right where it is, and that requires relevance. Each group screaming that their feature is valued and should be put into the product design. If successful, then maybe they can get a promotion. It’s like Detroit all over again.

    2. Apple.
    Steve Jobs provides leadership, while letting people work. BUT, there is no employee clutter screwing things up. Only a skant few people worked on the Nano. Steve claims only around 50 Apple folk were aware of the project and worked night and day on it.

    Can you imagine M$, Sony, Toshiba, etc… having only 50 people working on anything? I can’t either.

    KISS, coupled with a visionary (Jobs), a great leader (Jobs) and a great industrial design leader (Ives), can do wonders.

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