I suspect that I know the answer to that question. I have spent about $5000 in the last eighteen months buying iPhones, MacBooks, an Airport, and an iPad. We even got an iTv for Christmas. How does this happen to a guy who has worked for Microsoft Gold partners for the last 14 years?
I thought i found the answer: it is the packaging and marketing. I have been following a pretty cool company called 37 Signals lately. One of their recent blogs discusses the “Designed by Apple” trademark. As I read the blog, which you should go read, I realized that Apple applied the same design principles to it’s packaging and marketing that it applied to it’s technical design of the Apple products.
Simple and elegant, yet useful. Prior to buying a MacBook for my wife, I would get at least three support calls per week with our internal network being down or the PC she was using had problems. Throw in the Airport, and the support calls have virtually stopped. She gets an iPhone a few months later. I didn’t even have to set up her email. Sure, there are times when I pound my head against the wall while I am trying to figure out how to use the software. I can figure software out, but figuring out some sporadic issue that I can repeat consistently drives me crazy.
The setup on Apple products is simple. You don’t have software problems when you download Apps from the App Store. iTv was easy to get working. We are all aware of the success of the iPad., which I love BTW.
My experience is that we dismiss being simple. Have you ever built a “have-to-have” software feature that you found out later nobody is using? I have found this a number of times. I have also seen what started as a simple process, such as scheduling a meeting, become overly complex because “that is the way we want it”. Unused features can kill a product by complicating the user interface and the underlying code.
As a long time supporter of Microsoft, I am taking note. Are you?
Thanks for coming in today.
P.S.: I borrowed the picture from 37Signals if you are curious.