A very long, but rewarding article about what led up to the release of the iPhone.
Some great quotes in here and it shows that Apple really was betting the farm on this product.
I very much doubt now that Steve is gone, there is anyone with the drive and foresight to do this again.
But with most of the world’s money in their bank account, they shouldn’t need to do that.
However, out of the entire article, one thing stood out for me – and it’s nothing to do with the iPhone per se.
The second iPhone prototype in early 2006 … was made entirely of brushed aluminum. Jobs and Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, were exceedingly proud of it. But because neither of them was an expert in the physics of radio waves, they didn’t realize they created a beautiful brick. Radio waves don’t travel through metal well. “I and Rubén Caballero” — Apple’s antenna expert — “had to go up to the boardroom and explain to Steve and Ive that you cannot put radio waves through metal,” says Phil Kearney, an engineer who left Apple in 2008. “And it was not an easy explanation. Most of the designers are artists. The last science class they took was in eighth grade. But they have a lot of power at Apple. So they ask, ‘Why can’t we just make a little seam for the radio waves to escape through?’ And you have to explain to them why you just can’t.”
This surprised me, (and it also must be a very stressful job being an engineer at Apple.)
A good designer should know all this.
A good designer should understand every aspect and limitations of what they are designing, before they put pen to paper.
A good designer is not concerned with just how it looks, BUT HOW IT WORKS.
I’m semi-quoting Mr Ive here.
It seems that the designers at Apple, who in most cases trump all other influences, aren’t as good as they say they are.
They are just concerned with how things look, not how they actually work.
Jony Ive let the designers under his control waste time in designing something that could not exist in the real world.
That’s not an industrial designer, that’s an arrogant artist with no concern of how the products he designs are used.
Does that ring any bells?
“Thrilled to spend some time with the incredibly talented @JulienFournie, whose exquisite new collection was created with iPad Pro.”
In the wake of poor iPad sales, and the lacklustre sales of the iPadPro in particular, Tim Cook is talking up the iPadPro on Twitter, showing everyone that there is someone who’s using it and nothing else to create their, well, creations.
Apple certainly isn’t giving up on their mantra that the Mac is the past, and the iPad is the future.
Except he’s not actually saying that is he?
He’s saying that the iPad isn’t the future – it’s the now.
You can ditch all those old doorstop PC’s and iMac’s, and MacMini’s with your silly mice, hardware keyboards and ‘pointers’, and do all that on an iPad.
Except you can’t – not yet.
I can’t give up the Mac and I bet you can’t either.
Pro apps, access to file systems and other storage media, larger screens etc, these are all things that are lost on Tim.
I’m not saying that at some point a rich multi-touch OS on a huge screen isn’t part of our future, I know it’s coming.
But to neglect the computer system that you’re trying to replace (the Mac), whilst your replacement has serious shortcomings is arrogant, shortsighted and plainly a bad business decision.
We need a ‘cross-over’ period where the Mac and iPad coexist, until the iPad is the computer system we all want it to be.
We can’t simply put our Mac’s on eBay and turn to the iPad. At least not yet.
Many years ago, back before Steve returned to Apple, he was asked what he thought about Apple, the Mac and what he would do to ‘save’ it.
If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.
This was 1996 and it’s tempting to think that the iPad is envisaged by the current incumbents, as the next great thing.
But Apple’s own sales figures say otherwise. As Marco’s article points out, it’s been 7 years and sales peaked 3 years ago.
Many have said that the lacklustre figures are due to the buying cycle, i.e. the iPad is more like a computer than a phone and has a 4-5 year replacement cycle.
I’d tend to agree – I still use an original iPad mini, and although it’s a bit slow, in all other regards it’s fine for what I use it for.
Right there is the point – what you use it for.
The reason why the iPad’s sales are poor, is because despite Apple’s efforts, customers aren’t using it as their main computing device and replacing their ‘trucks’ with them.
Customers have a habit of doing that – they tell you how they use your product, not the other way around.
You’d think Apple would realise this and act accordingly, as they have had their fingers burnt with the Apple Watch.
The initial launch pushed the device in one direction, but after the data came in, version 2 changed direction and concentrated on fitness.
So why don’t they do this with the iPad?
Accept the way customers want to use it and build on that?
Instead of listening to customers, their answer has been, “we will just make it more pro” towit, a ‘pro’ version and pencil input.
And still sales fall.
There’s a simple dynamic at work here. Customers would accept the iPad as their main computing device, if the Mac (or the Windows PC for that matter) didn’t exist.
But they do.
Any, (and I do mean ANY) task is easier, quicker, more efficient and less frustrating to do on a device that has a big screen, a keyboard and a mouse.
We really did hit gold here. A screen, keyboard and mouse is the answer, there is nothing better and the iPad will never replace them.
So what should Apple do with the iPad?
I do admit that a multi touch OS is the future, but something like the Microsoft Surface Studio is closer to that future than any current iPad.
But we’re not going to get there by simply releasing a hobbled device that can’t do any task better than the device it’s designed to replace.
When it was first released, the Mac didn’t replace the job that it now currently does.
It was a slow process, and it started by replacing the things it could do better first, and slowly adding, to the point where the entire design process was done digitally.
It took years, partly because of technological constraints, but also because you had to prove to the consumer that the Mac was better.
The iPad needs the same approach.
In order to replace the Mac, it has to work alongside it, helping it do certain tasks, replacing jobs that the Mac did because it can do them better.
Here’s a few examples:
Why can’t I attach a written note to a folder on the Mac? This is something I would literally do dozens of times per day and would help me immensely.
Why can’t I draw alterations on a PDF that’s on the iPad screen and have this mirrored on the Mac’s screen?
Why can’t the iPad see the Macs file system and open files from the Mac?
Why can’t I start a design on the iPad and then throw it to the Macs screen? Adobe has shown Apple the way here.
If the iPad worked with the Mac instead of trying to replace it today, Apple would have a better chance of of being part of the future of computing.
If they don’t, by the time they get their Microsoft will have beat them to it.
Continuing the trend of leeching borrowing off Gruber’s ideas, his assessment of the iPad chimed with my thoughts as well.
Computers. Gruber thinks he’s seen the future of computers, and it is the iPad. “It’s really, really good,” he gushed. If you are sitting on a couch and you need a computer, most people are going to reach for the iPad, not the MacBook Pro. And that puts Apple into uncharted territory. For the first time since the original Mac replaced the Apple II, it has two overlapping computer products. And although it took a few years for the corpse to grow cold, the Apple II basically died the day the Mac arrived.
A very insighful observation which I think speaks of the future, not the present.
As Gruber points out, this is the same situation all those years ago when the Mac and the Apple II were side by side. The Apple II back then was the serious workhorse computer and the Mac was the novelty, the weird computer people didn’t take seriously.
The big difference now however is the iPad rides on the back of the success and investment of the iPhone. The AppStore and all its developers are primed and ready to launch the iPad with apps that just weren’t there when the Mac was released.
The Mac was an eventual success, the iPad with its thousands of apps? you get the idea.
I firmly believe that my children will be using the descendants of the iPad in their Graphic Design jobs, with fully envisaged multi-touch environments, instead of the mouse-driven Mac we all use now.
The big question for me is, what will Windows look like then?
Really good insight into what lies beneath Apple sleek, minmalist iPad, straight from the horse’s mouth – Colin McCaffery, product director at 2ergo (emphasis theirs).
“I believe the iPad will be about sitting in front of the TV whilst watching TV, browsing a ‘magazine’,” McCaffery – whose 2ergo made the apps for The Guardian, Fox News, Arsenal FC andothers – told me in an interview. “It will switch on in a second, you’ll be straight in to your content – it will be almost exactly like a magazine that you pick up from the coffee table.”
The jury is still out on whether people will naturally see the iPad as a coffee table companion, but it’s clear that important people in the media, already see the iPad as a way of realising the dream of digitized, subscription based content.
iPhone developers are currently getting to grips with the new software developers kit that includes iPad features, and 2ergo is already working on firm iPad app projects for four clients.
So the desire by the content creators is there, it seems now the ball is firmly in our court, that’s you and me, the content consumers – are we willing to pay for content anymore?
Last year I bought the excellent zombie-killer game on the iPhone, “Call Of Duty – Zombies”
This game is totally ‘up my street’, and last week they released a new map, which could be purchased through the app. The app cost £5.99, and the new map cost £2.99.
I purchased it straight after viewing the demo, but what worried me, and what should worry all content creators, are the comments on the app store from users who balked at the price.
Many thought that they has paid quite enough and expected all future maps to be either free, or under a pound.
Is this the current attitude of your average computer user?
It seemed that a lot of these comments came from kids, who obviously have very little money to spend, and they won’t necessarily be the same market that the clients of 2ergo are after, but no-one can doubt that these are their future customers.
And it’s this that seems to be at the heart of the iPad’s approach – it’s not a computer.
It’s not a device that ‘does it all’ and therefore doesn’t have all the shortcomings (from a content creator’s point of view), of that device – in this case, run illegal software and media.
It’s a perfect device to redefine what consuming media means as a concept, it’s the perfect device for content creators to take back their industry from the computer users, who have, let’s face it, damaged their careers, by arrogantly assuming that they can have everything for free.
A future where content is tied to a device and must be paid for might sound a nightmare to some people, but that’s also a future where content-creators can finally make a living online, allowing them to create even better content going forward, and in the long run, that’s good for everyone.
“‘I’m from the media world,’ Anderson told the audience ‘and as you may have heard, we have lots of questions about our future. The good news is I think we found part of the answer…. We think this is a game changer.'”
I think the defining term is, ‘what do you mean by ‘game”.
The ‘game’ in terms of the publishing industry, is ‘paying for content’.
I used to pay for published content.
I used to subscribe to Macworld – until I realised I could get it for free at http://www.macworld.co.uk.
I used to subscribe to The New Scientist – until their website launched.
I used to buy newspapers – until their websites came online, and recently the excellent ‘The Independent’ iPhone app came on the AppStore.
And everyone else, with a few exceptions, is just like me.
The publishers have painted themselves into a corner, hoping that a free website supported by ads would generate sufficient revenue.
They were naive, and for the most part wrong.
Now cometh the iPad.
I still pay for movies and music, partly out of a duty not to pirate, but also because there’s a viable channel for someone like me to purchase it. Published magazine content I continue to get for free – because it’s there on the internet.
The iPad is perfect for movies, but it’s also perfect, and I’d say designed, for magazine, books & newspaper content – the aspect ratio alone tells us this.
Am I willing to return to my subscription habits of the past? Am I willing to subscribe for an online version of Macworld, The Independent & The New Scientist, and do that through the iPad?
Only if they offer something more than the website, more than the printed magazine, and I’d like to think that there are enough people out there, who are willing to pay for concise, well-written and immersive content, to make it pay.
I expect that, once the iPad is released we will see many publisher dipping their toes in the iPad’s, freezing water, to find out what the market is and whether it is worth it.
Let’s just hope that they ‘get’ the device, and make sure the content they expect us to pay for is worth it also.
A recent post on Tim Anderson’s ITWriting, concerning the unbelievably bad computer experience a user had with a ‘free’ Samsung netbook piqued my interest.
The user got the netbook with a contract from Vodafone, and had such a bad experience they actually returned it under the 14 day returns policy.
Now, I’m not dissing Windows 7 here – I’ve never used it, and for all I know it may be a good system. I’m hard-wired to prefer the Mac, but let’s just say it’s not for me.
Microsoft have put a lot of effort into Windows 7, some would say (and I’m amongst them) that this is because of the lead that Apple take – Microsoft cannot simply ignore it, they have to respond.
It’s all the more sad then, that Microsoft still don’t fundamentally understand the user experience, and even if they did understand it, I’m not sure that their business model allows them to do anything about it.
What I mean by the ‘user experience’ from Apple’s perspective, is something that transcends the OS on the screen. It transcends the physical plastic & metal that surrounds it, it even transcends the beautiful packaging that the computer comes in.
It even transcends the Apple Store you bought it in and the well-trained and informative staff who gave you advice on which model suited your needs.
Although every single one of those is vital, there’s one thing that keeps Apple ahead every time – it’s their business model.
Apple do AND CONTROL everything, it’s a case of the end result being greater than the sum of its parts.
Coming back to the article in question, the thing that made the user return the Samsung, wasn’t Windows 7 – they couldn’t even get to the position of having an opinion – it was the added ‘extras’ that every single OEM adds after Microsoft hands over their admittedly well crafted, and beloved Windows 7 OS.
The fundamental way in which the Windows experience works, with Microsoft spending an awful long time in perfecting their OS, but then having to rely on OEM’s to actually deliver the computer to the user makes for the experience outlined in this article.
A blurred, uncontrolled useless computing experience, designed to make every company in the selling chain as much money as possible – user experience be damned.
Now, a lot of Windows users accept this. A lot of Windows use simply take off all this crap and reinstall Windows. And good luck to them if they’re willing to do that, somebody in the comments to the article mentioned just that.
But to your average computer user, and the user that just expects better, why should they have to do that?
They shouldn’t have to. Apple’s computers aren’t like that because Apple want YOU to benefit from using the computer – not anyone else.
Mike Tedesco, a Product Manager at Microsoft has stated that they are maybe, sort of, kind of looking at this new-fangled iPad-thingy, and working out whether they can possibly bring macro-viruses to the platform.
I’m being a bit unfair there, but I think it’s significant that Microsoft have even mentioned the words iPad & Microsoft Office in the same sentence.
There’s lots of variables to consider though:
- How will they boil down the morass of overlapping and bloated features that Office is renowned for, to the elegant simplicity of the iPad.
- They would have to totally rethink the input metaphor – are they willing to do this?
- They do realise that there is no stylus?
- Would they sell it for the same price as iWork to compete?
- Are they happy to spend countless millions on developing the applications, under the water-tight and admittedly restrictive development environment that Apple insists on?
- Are they happy to do all that, and face the possibility of Apple rejecting the app?
That last option brings to mind another aspect of the iPad’s development process, which haas been inherited from the iPhone’s.
The iPad’s potential applications are inherently more complex than the iPhone’s. This device is capable of some serious content creation and I guarantee that we will see not only office-like applications, but applications that go someway to compete with Adobe’s offerings.
With that in mind, Apple must work differently with developers working on apps like this. Who in their right mind is going to develop the complex, and seriously meaty applications that this device can easily handle, when there is the possibility of Apple rejecting your app, an app that could have taken months to develop.
I’m not sure what Apple will do, but something like an early-concept approval system is sorely needed. Some would argue it’s sorely needed now, on the iPhone.
An expert has stated that Apple’s upcoming iPad dictates a working environment that encourage bad posture, and can/will introduce musculoskeletal issues.
You know, the iPad that no-one has used for more than 10-20 minutes yet.
The iPad that has an optional, perfectly ergonomic detachable keyboard available if you are going to be typing for extended periods.
The iPad that comes along after countless dozens of tablet PC’s from various manufacturers have been created, put forward into the market and discarded.
Strange how studies like this only occur when Apple ventures into the market.
I tried to find the source of this article from the author, an Anthony Andre, founder of Interface Analysis Associates (IAA) and a professor of Human Factors at San Jose State University, but I couldn’t find it.
Never heard of this guy before, but I have now, maybe that’s the point of this article.
Via MacDailyNews & TheBoyGenius.
Although MDN is making a valid point here, in that Apple has 90% market share of the markets they operate in, it’s not surprising that this percentage is going up.
As the PC OEM’s race to the bottom, making more and more cheap laptops (netbooks), they exit the higher end of the market, effectively leaving this predominantly for Apple.
However it’s that bar chart that caught my eye.
I’d never really considered it, but Apple does indeed compete at the low end, it’s just that they do it differently to all the others.
Steve Jobs has said that netbooks are really a price-based solution to consumers wanting cheaper laptops.
They don’t do anything well, and make for a compromised, limited computer experience, but at least the OEM’s have a product at that price point – therefore soaking up sales to that segment of the buying public.
Apple does the same, but doesn’t compromise.
When Apple wants to hit a price point, they make sure that the product that fits that price point, does everything it’s designed to do perfectly, whilst still making a decent profit for them.
Yes, the further you go down the price scale, the less features each product has, but that’s not the point, they may have missing features, but every feature they do have, works perfectly without compromise.
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But despite all of Calacanis’ obvious tech-savvy, and the ability to manipulate the interwebs to give his persona a boost, he doesn’t seem to realise that it’s not all about the numbers – two old marketing mantra’s come to mind…
1) It’s the quality, not the quantity of your audience that truly matters in the long run
2) You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time
The last two tricks he’s played on us, (the famous anti-Apple rant and now this fake iPad story), are cynically planned to boost his following.
People will get wise – this is not a trick he can keep on playing.
It’s rare that we see past Steve’s RDF and get a taste of what his real motivations are, to-wit: comments concerning Adobe:
They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.
In my view this is the real reason why we don’t see Flash on the iPhone and iPad, Steve’s angry that they haven’t embraced Apple’s development environment fully, if at all.
It’s common knowledge that Adobe use their own cross-platform development software so that they can create software for Apple and Windows in tandem. As far as I know, Apple’s development kits allow you to do just that as well.
Steve’s bottom line – don’t use Carbon, we won’t use Flash.