Cupertino funk, part II: No joy in iVille

Last week, I prattled on about how Apple’s dearth of a single, visionary leader was starting to make them feel like just another tech company. A wealthier, better-dressed tech company than most, for sure, but just another member of the herd, nonetheless. This week, I’ll be using my poorly honed, casual sense of observation to remark on what I believe to be an even greater threat to Apple’s Appleness: a lack of joy. 

Apple products are still stylish. They’re still designed and produced to ridiculous tolerances using a combination of alchemy and nanomonkeys with molecular-level, laser-welding packs. Still, I fear there is a palpable lack of joy surrounding Apple gear. I’m not speaking about the lack of another blockbuster product release on the level of the iMac, iPod, or iPhone—after all, how often can such moments really occur? It’s that Apple products once embodied a kind of elegant power. They just worked, as the cliché goes, and you didn’t need to fool around under the hood unless you were the type to do so. And the design of Apple’s user interfaces—from early Mac OS releases to OS X and on through iOS—offered, at the very least, a pleasurable experience even if Platinum or Aqua didn’t precisely match your personal aesthetic vibe. In the end, using a Mac always felt less fatiguing than using a Windows machine. At least once upon a time.

But now it feels like Apple is sacrificing its veneer of simplicity on the altar of Dubious Features We Hope You’ll Love. Sure, new features that actually make life easier are welcome additions—Time Machine immediately springs to mind. But I dare you to ask a garden-variety Mac user to define Mission Control and what its purpose is. Here’s a hint: "Huh?" is not the correct answer. Additionally, some good things Apple has produced are still a bit too complex for the average user to easily maneuver. Anyone tried setting up an Airport Extreme Base Station lately? I’ve used one for years and still have to dive into the realm of port forwarding and NAT protocols more than I’d care to. (Apple’s attempt at making things easier by trimming down the options in Airport Utility 6 proved so futile many users still use version 5.6. which is still available for download from Apple.) And have you tried setting up Messages for someone lately?

Then there’s the leather-bound elephant in the room known as skeuomorphism. The technical definition of a skeuomorph is, according to Apple’s own Dictionary app, "an object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact in another material." Skeuomorphism is why my parents’ 1973 Pinto station wagon had petroleum-based wood veneer dubiously adhered to the side. And it’s why, today, Calendar and Contacts look like the 99-cent versions of a Franklin Planner. Do you know what a Franklin Planner is? Exactly. Not only is Apple’s use of skeuomorphism fairly off-putting aesthetically, it’s also random. Why doesn’t iTunes look like a Wurlitzer? Why not make Safari resemble a Sears Wish Book from 1927? Because Sears didn’t start printing them until 1933, that’s why.

Fortunately, the skeuomorphic scourge may soon be ending; its chief proponent, Scott Forstall, is being shuffled out to the great stock option pasture in the sky. In his place, Jony Ive will oversee all Apple design. And while I can see him possibly making a finder window resemble a pair of Warby Parkers, I’m not overly worried about it. His guidance should result in better UI design (design-wise) going forward, although what impact it will have on the actual experience is another question entirely.

So how did Apple get here and how can they get out? Well, I’d say they got here by forgetting that one of their primary modus operandi was making difficult tasks seem easy—the "it just works" mentality. Sure, they didn’t always pull it off—I wouldn’t have left my mother alone with an open copy of Font/DA Mover—but there’s a reason the iMac "3 Steps" commercial struck such a chord with people. Now, the vibe is more akin to "it works well enough if you know what you’re doing." Which, too often, we don’t. While Apple’s software has grown increasingly complex, it’s insistence that it hasn’t remains steadfast. Which means manuals for silly things like the operating system are non-existent, and support.apple.com is full unto bursting with frustration and advice. There’s a difference between being intuitive and completely understood. I can drive any car, but doesn’t mean I’ll figure out every nuance of the robotically controlled HVAC interface without a glance at the owner’s manual.

I also think Apple has been fishing around for what to do next in the way of "big ideas." Mac OS X is old. While I’d hate for Apple to try and fix something that ain’t broke, they don’t seem to have a problem bloating something that wasn’t in need. Grafting on features from iOS may, at times, make sense, but they only feel new if you’re Android-using Mac owner.

So, what to do, what to do, what to do? Well, the answer is simple and fairly obvious, but the execution not so much. Apple must return to creating machines, devices, and operating systems that make the familiar seem new and the new seem familiar. To not just wow us with a new feature, button, or screen resolution, but to make us wonder how we put up without said item for so long. (Yes, that’s a very #firstworldproblem kind of thing, but then aren’t they all?) How do they achieve this? If I knew, I’d be rich, because Apple would’ve just bought out my startup. The aesthetics are relatively easy to fix. Simplifying and streamlining the OSes isn’t a herculean task, either, assuming Apple has the internal will to do so. The true challenge lies in doing what the Apple of Steve Jobs excelled at: solving problems people didn’t know they had in an elegant, almost obvious way. It ain’t easy. I don’t envy their task. But then, as I’ve said before, simplicity is often the result of much complex thinking, isn’t it?

Good luck, fellas. You’ll need it.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • melissamando230
    • 7 years ago
    • kc77
    • 7 years ago

    I think you might have forgotten just how unintuitive Apple used to be.

    [b<]The Eject Button (or absence thereof):[/b<] So when I was growing up in high school the school library had like one IBM/Compatible machine and a plethora of Apple Macintosh machines. This was kind of odd since everyone I knew had IBM/Compatibles. Anyway, most of us found starting our work on an Apple Macintosh to be relatively easy and simple. That is until we wanted our disk back. Now every device since the Sony Walkman had an eject button when I was growing up. Even the 8-track tape deck in my grandmother's Dodge Demon had and eject button. However, Apple for some reason or another thought that it would be more intuitive to remove it all together. So when we finished our reports in school there would always be a few us just sitting there trying to figure out how to get the disk back. The keyboards we had did not have an eject button either. It wasn't until the librarian came over and told us that in order to eject the disk we had to move it to the ....trash ?!?! Apparently after 2 hours of typing a report, the most intuitive thing for us to do is to throw our reports away.

    • plongin
    • 7 years ago

    Great article. I agree the simplicity of their products, something I always considered a bonus, is gone.

    They offer a tangled mess of half implemented features, and revoke useful features without warning in new releases. This makes upgrades tough, the lure of a new OS for $30 is strong but they often come with crap you can’t turn off. They remind me of old MS circa Vista.

    I’d rather Apple treat OS X and iOS as platforms and offer them with a minimum amount of adornments. Make the extras available free in the App Stores for people to DL.

    In other words do what MS did with Windows 7.

    I barely use any of the new features in 10.8. I guess being able to plunk a XFX 7870 in it and have it work without any fiddling made the upgrade worthwhile.

      • Dr. Zhivago
      • 7 years ago

      Except you’re wasting that hardware on OSX, since it doesn’t support a wealth of the card’s features and only has OpenGL 3,2 support.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 7 years ago

    The iMac was a “blockbuster”?
    If that’s the case why does Apple still have a tiny percentage of the home computing market?

      • Spunjji
      • 7 years ago

      I would be interested to see what its share of the All In One niche was when it released. I’m fairly sure it punched above its weight in the education sector too. Finally, it did inspire a rash of copycat PC design and fawning articles in the mainstream press (mmm, blueberry translucent plastic).

      Blockbuster is definitely a relative term when used here, though. 🙂

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Do you not remember 1998 and 1999? The iMac is what saved Apple from going under entirely.

    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    Lots of Apple-ites are just maturing in their appreciation of and understanding of hardware in general. They’re learning–and better late than never–that most of what they used to think of as “New, and Invented by Apple” was really never new and never invented by Apple in the first place. So naturally, for many of them the luster is off the bloom–they’ve looked behind the curtain and they’ve finally seen Oz as he really is.

    Steve Jobs (RIP) was a marketeer. The “Apple of Steve Jobs” excelled in selling magic dust and unicorns to people for whom technology seemed baffling and daunting. The Apple of Steve Jobs made many promises it never kept, indeed, that it could not keep, and that stone-cold reality naturally depresses the faithful. And who are “the faithful” if not those who would believe it wholeheartedly if Steve Jobs (RIP) told them black was white and up was down?

    Internally, Apple seems to be growing up in certain ways and I think that’s good for the company and good for the company’s customers. “It just works” doesn’t do anything for anybody these days because “everything just works” and if it didn’t no one would buy it. That’s the truth of it, and always has been the truth of it. I see this as a very positive change at Apple.

    I will agree though that Apple has shunted “the Mac” into the corner these days and it’s difficult to pretend otherwise. Mac customers must certainly feel like second-class citizens if not outright pariahs. Steve Jobs (RIP) was the architect of Apple divesting itself of the Mac, though, and I think it’s important to remember that. The great majority of Apple’s profit and revenue does not come from the Mac anymore. So we wind up with two classes of Apple customers–those who own Macs and those who don’t–whereas at one time you could not be an Apple customer if you didn’t own a Mac. As the mystique and cult elements of Apple’s business continue to erode, long-time Mac customers are sure to feel estranged. For them it is as if the magic has fled. And I suppose it has. But in the long run that seems best, don’t you think?

      • Horshu
      • 7 years ago

      Also, some of the oo’ing and ahh’ing over Apple was due to Apple having the leverage to get access to volumes of next-gen hardware before other OEMs did. They got the Retina display (from LG?) before anyone else, much like they got a slimline Intel CPU/GPU before they were generally available. It doesn’t seem like that is the case any more, so it’s going to be a lot harder for Apple to blow away the public with some kind of hardware innovation, unless it comes from them directly.

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 7 years ago

        They got things like retina display LCDs and slimline CPUs because they are the only OEM willing to use those types of more expensive components in bulk. Even after all these years where Apple is one of the most profitable PC OEMs out there, other companies still focus on cutting corners first with component quality taking the backseat.

        Even with high-PPI displays in MBPs it will still be a while before it shows up in a substantial number of other laptops.

    • marraco
    • 7 years ago

    Apple is dead. His shares are on free fall.

    I ever knew that, soon or later, iZombies would rot and die.

    • --k
    • 7 years ago

    What irks me the most is osx insistence of only having one menu bar for all the screens at one time. If you have a dual display, and you have the window on the secondary monitor, you have to keep going back to the primary monitor to access the menu bar. Also the green maximize button works, but only sometimes, and with erratic results.

    As a late convert to osx, I find their support for track pad gestures for switching tasks to be almost useless, since I still prefer to use a trackball as my direct manipulator of choice.

    I have people that swear by Apple for the vaunted usability and stability, but I’m just not seeing it. I’m used to the Windows 7 task bar and chrome has been more crash free for me than on osx. I’m sure that if I invested more time into learning the intricacies of the os, I could be more efficient, but as it stands, Windows rules the roost when it comes to productivity.

    My company gave me the option to go pc or mac laptop. I chose the Mbpr because it’s built much better than any pc laptop, and since there wasn’t a corporate build for Macs, it was bloat-free. If the choice had been for a desktop, id have chosen a pc.

    I think Windows 7 and osx were about parity in the UI, but Windows 8 was a huge blunder, not so much in the product itself, but in the hw requirements. They should have mandated a touch screen or track pad in order to use the modern ui.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Windows 8 was a huge blunder[/quote<] Yes. [quote<]What irks me the most is osx insistence of only having one menu bar for all the screens at one time.[/quote<] It is in one consistent location that is not duplicated for every open window (duplication wastes space). If you don't like it then run Windows 7 via Boot Camp. [quote<]Also the green maximize button works, but only sometimes, and with erratic results.[/quote<] The green button IS NOT a maximize button. It is used to a) fit the content of the window better b) switch between a user state and standard state. If you don't like it then run Windows 7 via Boot Camp. [quote<]As a late convert to osx, I find their support for track pad gestures for switching tasks to be almost useless, since I still prefer to use a trackball as my direct manipulator of choice.[/quote<] Use BetterTouchTool to enhance your trackpad experience. If you prefer a trackball then use a trackball with OS X. [quote<]I have people that swear by Apple for the vaunted usability and stability, but I'm just not seeing it. I'm used to the Windows 7 task bar[/quote<] What do you like about the task bar? [quote<]and chrome has been more crash free for me than on osx.[/quote<] I use Chrome across Windows/OS X/Linux. I don't ever recall it crashing. If your Chrome is crashing then deal with Chrome. Don't blame OS X. [quote<]Windows rules the roost when it comes to productivity.[/quote<] For you. I think it is time for you to run Windows 7 via Boot Camp. [quote<]My company gave me the option to go pc or mac laptop. I chose the Mbpr because it's built much better than any pc laptop, and since there wasn't a corporate build for Macs, it was bloat-free. If the choice had been for a desktop, id have chosen a pc.[/quote<] What a surprise! You should never requested a Mac. Just boot to Windows 7 already. Hopefully they will let you install a bloat free copy. Enjoy fiddling with your scaling options. [quote<]I think Windows 7 and osx were about parity in the UI[/quote<] To the left of my Mac I've got a my Windows gaming rig and to the right of my Mac I've got my dual display Windows rig. As far as I am concerned in no way is Windows at parity with the UI of OS X. Microsoft has let the classic desktop stagnate since the release of Windows 2000 (well, apart from Snap. Fortunately BetterTouchTool brings Snap to OS X).

        • esterhasz
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]If you don't like it then run Windows 7 via Boot Camp.[/quote<] This is not helpful and unfortunately really a common reaction in Mac circles. When looking for tweaks in Mac forums (horrible places, btw), you can count on ''you're doing it wrong comments", while UI configuration is not only dependent on personal preference but also a lot on task environment, workflow, etc. Honestly, it's annoying and "love it or leave it" kind of thinking is the death of both critique and nuance. It makes our conversations poorer. @OP: there's a tool called Right Zoom (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/30591/right-zoom) that transforms the green button into a maximize button. I love it.

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          “[quote<]Honestly, it's annoying and "love it or leave it" kind of thinking is the death of both critique and nuance. It makes our conversations poorer.[/quote<] Suggesting Right Zoom makes your conversation poorer.

            • esterhasz
            • 7 years ago

            I’m sorry that you feel this way. I hope that the OP will find it useful, though.

          • --k
          • 7 years ago

          [quote=”esterhaz”<]@OP: there's a tool called Right Zoom (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/30591/right-zoom) that transforms the green button into a maximize button. I love it.[/quote<] Thanks

        • Spunjji
        • 7 years ago

        You know, amongst all the trolling and whining and misinformation I have seen in this comments section, this is actually amongst the least-useful posts I have ever seen here. In future you might try coming across as less personally offended about problems someone else is having; recognising that your own opinion is nothing more than that would help as well.


        After reading the above, you might then pause to asses how it feels to have someone come along and act superior at you.

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]You know, amongst all the trolling and whining and misinformation I have seen in this comments section, this is actually amongst the least-useful posts I have ever seen here.[/quote<] This article was amongst the least-useful posts I have ever seen here. It should have been titled "I'm gonna troll".

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            No, no — he’s got a point.

      • esterhasz
      • 7 years ago

      BTW, Witch (http://manytricks.com/witch/) has been an awesome way for me to improve task switching speed. Unfortunately, it’s not free.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]As a late convert to osx, I find their support for track pad gestures for switching tasks to be almost useless, since I still prefer to use a trackball as my direct manipulator of choice.[/quote<] This epitomizes anecdotal evidence and personal preference born of years using another interface. Multitouch gestures are one of the main advantages OS X has on laptops. I can take or leave OS X or Windows 7 on the desktop, both are great, but on laptops there is no contest for me. Multitouch gestures on the trackpad are one of the main reasons for that.

        • --k
        • 7 years ago

        As someone who needs pixel perfect control of the cursor, I find the trackpad to be too inexact.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 7 years ago

          That’s fine, I myself would rather use a mouse when playing games and such. If I’m away from a desk and I’m just using the OS X desktop then a trackpad is great, especially with multitouch gestures and such. Either is certainly better than a trackball for me, but that boils down to personal preference.

          Either way, a lot of your post seems to boil down to “I’m new at this and I don’t understand it so its bad”. I have about 10 years of experience with the Mac and 25 years of experience with MS-DOS and Windows going back to 3.0, so I know both fairly well at this point. Your post is just as uninformed to me as a Mac only user complaining about idiosyncrasies and differences with Windows without putting any real thought into it.

          “I’m a noob” isn’t really a legit complaint, you know?

            • --k
            • 7 years ago

            Even though I design interfaces for users that have become habituated on the old systems, I’m not immune to coming off as curmudgeonly in my own comments.

            To Apple’s credit, they have pushed the envelope with gesture support without upsetting its long time users. Microsoft has traditionally catered to business users, who are notoriously conservative when it comes to change. They were caught flat-footed with the proliferation of devices that are supplanting desktop/laptop systems. I imagine that MS sudden rush to change the Windows UI would have met less resistance had it been introduced more gradually and subtly over the course of years.

            The problem that in UI is that we have this notion that “One Size Fits All.” Something like the UI should be completely personal and separate from the underlying system. I think we are seeing that with the proliferation of 3rd party launchers in the Android space.

            • peartart
            • 7 years ago

            yeah, it’s really hard to balance people’s individual needs and preferences along with the usefulness of a universal interface when it comes to training and support, plus most people don’t enjoy configuring their interface to suit themselves.

      • chrissodey
      • 7 years ago

      Apple was great when they created/stole the mouse. They they refused to acknowledge the greatness of two buttons even though they built that feature into their OS. Now Apple is trying to force users into trackpads as a primary input device. A good quality laser mouse will run circles around any “gesture” that they create. There is a reason why the notebook mouse market is so large, nobody uses trackpads when there is an obvious better option.

      Apple needs to stop trying to over innovate and understand that some things in computing need to be there, i.e. file systems. Recent versions of OSX don’t even have the hard drive folder structure easily accessible.

      Simple things like industry standard form factor memory have been thrown to the wayside in favor of soldered on devices. Hey Apple, memory, HDD/SDD, and batteries all have the potential to fail. Please stop soldering them to the board just to make the laptop 1mm slimmer.

      I’m sorry, but if you purchase a item, you are purchasing the metal, plastic, etc. and it is yours to do with what you want. What is under the hood of a Mac that makes it so special that only a Genius can touch to change a battery anyway…..ummm nothing.

      I think the next step for Apple is to innovate a fanless Mac Book Pro that randomly spontaneously combusts. Good luck Apple….

        • peartart
        • 7 years ago

        Gestures on a trackpad aren’t meant to replace the precision you can get with a mouse: they are meant to replace the extra buttons. Buttons have nothing to do with mouse quality.

        Also it’s just wrong to judge trackpads by looking at the popularity of notebook mice when those mice tend to be replacing profoundly terrible trackpads in Windows laptops.

        Funnily enough I agree with you about the two button mouse. OS X (possibly earlier versions, I was too young when I used them to really remember) was clearly better with a two button mouse, since the second button enabled you to do things with one hand that would otherwise take two hands (with command-click).

    • trackerben
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]...Apple must return to creating machines, devices, and operating systems that make the familiar seem new and the new seem familiar...[/quote<] Or innovating entirely new UI which would supersede touchscreens and get them out of the way. The claimed new finger-ring technology good for all screen sizes might be their superdisruptor this next few years.

    • beck2448
    • 7 years ago

    I really hope Apple releases another high end 17″ or larger notebook with cutting edge hardware for power users. Interestingly their cessation of 17 inch MBPs was the beginning of the huge decline in their stock price. Jobs was a visionary guy who wanted excellence and excitement first and the revenues followed. Now it seems like the current management at Apple has reversed this.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      The 17″ notebook was a dud, nobody bought it and people who did eventually went to a smaller model. I know its anecdotal evidence but I don’t know a single person who upgraded from a 17″ to another 17″.

      Seriously juicing the 15″ retina MBP and putting it in the 17″ price range was the way to go, and that model is selling far better.

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I agree with the sentiment of the article.

    But I am still thinking of buying a Macbook Pro with Retina. The new 19″ one. So I can run Windows 8 on it. And write apps for Android devices.

    😀

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      19″?

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        What? Are you telling me there’s no 19″ Retina model?

        Okay, well then maybe they have been innovative enough to make a 17″ model. I’ll take that one!

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          OK I thought 19″ was a typo, but now I get it. Took me longer than usual. 😉

            • BIF
            • 7 years ago

            No problem! Hey, I’m going barrel fishing on Saturday. Whanna join? 😉

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    Sheeple, take a moment to look at Apple with your own eyes.
    Apple as not changes, you have. Yes, Apple is as ‘broken’ today as it was 24 month ago.

    And 24 month ago, it was blog after blog on how Apple is ruling the universe. sigh…

    Anyways, Apple will release financial data next week, lets see how much “luck” and advice from the Fox does Apple really need to ‘fix’ itself.

    • windwalker
    • 7 years ago

    So much drivel and absolutely no criticism of some actual problems.
    Mission Control and skeumorphism? Those are the big problems?

    Most people love skeumorphism because it’s cute and friendly. The overusage is a passing fad.
    Mission Control is an advanced level feature designed as an evolution of Spaces and Exposé with support for full screen windows.

    There are legitimate problems with OS X (the file system), iOS (inter-app communication), iCloud reliability, Siri speed. But even these are not as obvious, so most of the doom and gloom comes from boredom of things that are for the most part good enough.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      Honestly the file system, 80s/90s style drop down menus and finder kill the OS for me.

      They should have gone with ZFS like the original plan was – and allowed users the option of using the Nextstep interface.

      • tjoynt
      • 7 years ago

      HFS+ isn’t as nice as ZFS, but it’s miles better than NTFS. Apple definitely can improve here, though.

    • Welch
    • 7 years ago

    One of the reasons you’ll see their OS become more complicated compared to yesteryear is that the tasks we do with our computers have become more complex too. You can’t compare what we do with our systems today with what we did with them in the 2000 or 2005 even, hell 2008 compared to now seems like an amazingly huge leap in the uses for our computing systems.

    Lets see, from 2000 to now…. Just off the top of my head… We have gone mainstream with Interactive maps like Google Maps, Google Earth, audio streaming like Pandora, purchasing music via online stores like iTunes, massively downloading and sharing videos and pictures on the internet, streaming this same content to our home network to be shared via set tops and gaming consoles, video chat with the advent of Google Talk and Skype hitting big, the birth of Smart phones and all of the awesome complexity of features and syncing with our computers they brought along, voice to text for both smartphones and computers (chrome comes to mind for search) and other brands like Dragon for voice recognition, social media has also become apart of our (some peoples) every minute life.

    I mean the list is freaking insane and I’ve not even scratched the surface. I’m sure I’ve left out some even bigger things.

    There is no way in hell you can compare the Apple or MS of old and simplicity to today. People rely on their devices for EVERYTHING, its naturally going to be more complicated to use until someone streamlines the whole process with a neuro reader so that all you have to do is think about what you want to do any it does it. I’m sure there will be some more gimmicks along the way, but that is honestly as quick as things can get, period. You think it, it gets done.

    [url<]http://www.fastcompany.com/3008499/tech-forecast/these-brain-scanning-neuro-toys-are-about-change-everything#12[/url<]

    • jessterman21
    • 7 years ago

    Here we are, now entertain us.

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    Pure drivel. Was this written to balance out the good TR articles being featured on Ars?

      • Shambles
      • 7 years ago

      To me it seems more like the effect of the koolaid is merely wearing off. At the end of the day a computing device is just a boring piece of hardware and it always will be. If you’re looking for emotional validation from the things you buy you’re going to be forced to ride the waves of excitement and boredom.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      I dunno, dude. Fox has been a very loyal Apple user.

    • CyberMonk
    • 7 years ago

    Of course, Jobs himself was reportedly a big proponent of skeuomoprhic design, hence the current emphasis on such designs in Apple software. Yet he was a “single, visionary leader”, right? Undermines the (hackneyed) line of thinking in this article, don’tcha think?

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 7 years ago

    Apple’s success has largely been a triumph of branding and style over substance. They probably need more of that.

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      They sell the full experience by controlling everything and having impeccably designed hardware and a polished interface. They are a premium brand. The opposite of style over substance, especially in the hardware.

      Having said that, I don’t own a single Apple product and loath iTunes.

      • peartart
      • 7 years ago

      🙁

      As an example, even with the downgrade of Mission Control from Spaces and Expose, OS X has a better window manager than any I’ve found in either Windows or Linux, especially if you have a decent trackpad, and it didn’t take any configuration.

      • trackerben
      • 7 years ago

      Disregarding things like product, marketing, pricing, support, and technology evolutions, you just might be right.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      So the iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro with Retina, etc lack substance? Every single one of them is a triumph of substance that has lead the entire industry.

      Even my Mac mini is a triumph of substance. It is a 1.3″x7.7″x7.7″ slab of pure minimalistic glory that has 16GB of memory, 1TB of storage (paired with 128GB SSD cache), USB 3.0/Thunderbolt with a CPU that pumps out 6.77 in Cinebench R11.5.

      • danazar
      • 7 years ago

      That’s funny, because I bought both an iPhone and a MacBook Air for the substance. Their whole theme was having devices capable of many important tasks but making using them as simplified as possible. That’s not style, that’s pure substance. Functional simplicity is substance, it’s the substance that fed their growth, convinced users to switch from Windows-based PCs, convinced them to stick with the iPhone over a splintered proliferation of Android devices, and keeps people hoping for the next big thing from them. Because to many users, the next big thing is not something that hasn’t been done before, it’s something that they do simply for the first time.

      The iPod was far from the first mp3 player, but it made listening to your music easy to use. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, but it was the first that made making calls and checking E-mails and browsing the Internet all easy on the same device. They’re getting away from easy and bogging themselves down with bloat and loss of focus, and that’s their problem now.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      Practical utility and substance are why I’ve used their laptops for the last few years. Substance, not style. More OEMs should use common sense with their own.

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