It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. Steve Jobs
Without the iPod, the digital music age would have been defined by files and folders instead of songs and albums. Though the medium of music has changed, the iPod experience has kept the spirit of what it means to be a music lover alive. John Mayer, singer-songwriter
It’s so slim Kate Moss uses it to cut her cocaine. Bill Maher on the iPod nano
It is possible that the public will not fall on the iPad, as I did, like lions on an antelope. Perhaps they will find the apps and the iBooks too expensive. Maybe they will wait for more fully featured later models. But for me, my iPad is like a gun lobbyist’s rifle: the only way you will take it from me is to prise it from my cold, dead hands. One melancholy thought occurs as my fingers glide and flow over the surface of this astonishing object: Douglas Adams is not alive to see the closest thing to his Hitchhiker’s Guide that humankind has yet devised. Stephen Fry
This week’s article is about Apple and the title comes from an Onion video I put up a link to a while back – Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop with No Keyboard. First a few facts about Apple. The company, which has over has 35,000 employees and annual sales of $42.91 billion, was established in 1976, becoming a corporation in 1977. It was known as Apple Computer Inc. until 2007, when computer was dropped from the name. The logo has an interesting story. The earliest Apple logo featured Isaac Newton sitting under the tree which helped him develop his theory of gravity. The company itself had its up and downs but it undoubtedly lost out to the PC. It was the period between 1998 and 2001 that saw Apple’s Renaissance with the iMac, the iBook and of course the iPod. Few could have imagined the success of this last device. And now this year they have brought out the iPad, which they hope will revolutionise the tablet market.
There is no doubt that Apple does a lot of things very well. The designs are wonderfully seductive and their interfaces have set the standard for the industry. They have an obsessive attention to detail and usability. A key figure here is Jonathan Ive, an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc, who has been the principal designer of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The iTunes music store has sold a staggering 10 billion songs and four billion apps have been downloaded since 2008.. And of course Macs do not have viruses, which I have to say is their most tempting characteristic.
But I am not an Apple fan. To paraphrase that quote about American soldiers during WWII they are overhyped, overpriced and over here. They like to portray themselves as the anti-totalitarian option but this seems to be a bit of a pose. I prefer open systems. Apple has their own vision – their operating system the OS X can only be used on the Mac and the iPhone apps are also exclusive. Now the iPad comes without flash. I have a particular phobia about iTunes. I have an mp3 player and I just drag and drop. Why would I want to use Apple’s proprietary software? They go against the ethos of the net.
But what I think is irrelevant. If it works for them, they will be happy. Apple has reinvented itself using two devices that are basically closed, a strategy that had proved unsuccessful in the eighties. Companies are only open when it is convenient for them. The fate of Apple will not be decided by committee or by decree but by the decisions of millions of individual consumers. That is the beauty of a market system. Probably there will be room for different options. I couldn’t help but feel a bit of schadenfreude at the latest story about the iPad being banned from Israel amid concerns that its Wi-Fi signals could disrupt other devices. I am not sure whether there are other reasons behind the ban but it could explain the delay in the international launch. Whatever happens, I don’t think I’ll be getting an Apple product anytime soon. And if you want my Sony e-book you’ll have to prise it from my cold, dead hands.