Tag Archives: apple

Apple’s Implementation of the Duration-of-Exposure Effect: Screens at 70Ëš

Hours after writ­ing about the dur­a­tion-of-expos­ure effect (whereby merely touch­ing an unowned object increases our attach­ment to it and how much we value it), a post came into my feed read­er point­ing out how Apple Inc. take advant­age of this effect in their “painstak­ingly cal­ib­rated” stores.

Car­mine Gallo, provid­ing a glimpse into his upcom­ing book, The Apple Exper­i­ence, explain­s how every aspect of an Apple Store is designed to foster “multi­s­ens­ory own­er­ship exper­i­ences”. This on the (very spe­cif­ic) tilt of laptop screens (from anoth­er great art­icle on the top­ic):

The note­book com­puters dis­played on the store’s tab­letops and coun­ters are set out, each day, to exactly the same angle. That angle being, pre­cisely, 70 degrees: not as rigid as a table-per­pen­dic­u­lar 90 degrees, but open enough – and, also, closed enough – for screens’ con­tent to remain vis­ible and invit­ing to would-be typers and tinker­ers.

The point […] is to get people to touch the devices. “The main reas­on note­book com­puters screens are slightly angled is to encour­age cus­tom­ers to adjust the screen to their ideal view­ing angle,” [Gallo] says – “in oth­er words, to touch the com­puter.”

A tact­ile exper­i­ence with an Apple product begets loy­alty to Apple products, the think­ing goes – which means that the store exists to imprint a brand impres­sion on vis­it­ors even more than it exists to extract money from them. “The own­er­ship exper­i­ence is more import­ant than a sale,” Gallo notes. Which means that the store – and every single detail cre­at­ing the exper­i­ence of it – are optim­ized for cus­tom­ers’ per­son­al indul­gence. Apple wants you to touch stuff, to play with it, to make it your own. Its note­book com­puters are tilted at just the right angle to beck­on you to their screens – and, more import­antly, to their key­boards.

When Apple do it right, they do it per­fectly.

via Kot­tke

Apple, Disney and Pixar: It’s the Products

Writ­ten in early 2006 shortly after Dis­ney’s acquis­i­tion of Pix­ar in a $7.4 bil­lion all-stock deal, Busi­nes­s­Week looks at the rela­tion­ship between the Dis­ney and Apple CEOs and where their rela­tion­ship may lead.

Pres­ci­ent in that it accur­ately pre­dicted the Apple TV and the iPhone, the art­icle also briefly looks at Jobs and his product-first mind­set:

“The great thing about Steve is that he knows that great busi­ness comes from great product,” says Peter Schneider, the former chair­man of Dis­ney’s stu­dio. “First you have to get the product right, wheth­er it’s the iPod or an anim­ated movie.” […]

Time and again since, Apple has eschewed calls to boost mar­ket share by mak­ing lower-end products or expand­ing into adja­cent mar­kets where the com­pany would­n’t be the lead­er. “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do,” Jobs often says. […] “Qual­ity is more import­ant than quant­ity, and in the end, it’s a bet­ter fin­an­cial decision any­way.”

via @venturehacks

Apple’s Strategy of Rejecting ‘Social Media’

Apple’s ‘rejec­tion’ of the prac­tices pun­dits “always say you should do to suc­ceed in the Inter­net eco­nomy” isn’t unique, but it does make for inter­est­ing read­ing:

Apple does­n’t blog; it does­n’t Tweet; it does little on Face­book; it does­n’t engage with its cus­tom­er base. It does­n’t ask the “com­munity” for feed­back or rap­idly iter­ate based on any such feed­back or even respond to cri­ti­cism.

It does­n’t give any­thing away for free, thank you very much—in fact, the com­pany charges premi­um prices for just about everything. Its cus­tom­er ser­vice is per­func­tory. It engages in ter­ribly con­sumer-unfriendly prac­tices like mak­ing you buy a whole new device when the bat­tery dies.

And mar­ket­ing? […] For the most part, Apple advert­ising is old media all the way.

There are some import­ant les­sons for entre­pren­eurs in this strategy, says Jonath­an Weber:

  • It’s the product, stu­pid! (“If in doubt, focus on the product.”)
  • Brand mar­ket­ing still matters—a lot.
  • Enga­ging with your cus­tom­ers via the real-time Web is not, in fact, man­dat­ory. (Don’t become influ­enced by “what the zeit­geist of the moment says you should be doing”.)
  • Con­tinu­ously con­sider oppor­tun­ity costs.

via @alexjmann

Apple’s Strategy: The Good and Bad

The four major issues with Apple’s cur­rent product line and strategy that are “stifling the industry, con­sumer choice and pri­cing”, accord­ing to Jason Calacanis:

  1. Des­troy­ing MP3 play­er innov­a­tion through anti-com­pet­it­ive prac­tices.
  2. Mono­pol­ist­ic prac­tices in tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions.
  3. Dra­coni­an App Store policies.
  4. Want­ing to own almost every exten­sion of the iPhone plat­form.

It’s tough to dis­agree with these points (or Jason’s reas­on­ing) but a typ­ic­al response could be:

The restric­tions Apple places on its products are neces­sary to ensure the qual­ity of the user exper­i­ence, that Apple deserves to be paid for the innov­a­tions it has brought to the mar­ket­place and the con­sumer free­dom it has enabled to use things like the mobile inter­net, to make online music easy and fun to use etc.

Both of the above art­icles are anti-Apple (or at least anti-Apple strategy) and I agree with them both—but my stance is def­in­itely that of pro-Apple (a recent devel­op­ment since own­ing an iPhone, swiftly fol­lowed by a Hack­in­tosh).

The ROI I get with Apple products is pos­it­ive des­pite these issues and as such I’m will­ing to pay a premi­um. This isn’t a fin­an­cial ROI, but a time/enjoyment ROI. For an idea of what I mean, this short tirade against open source usab­il­ity from an art­icle look­ing at how to com­pete with open source soft­ware (via @zambonini) may help:

At a salar­ied job mak­ing $80k plus bene­fits your time is worth around $55/hour. […] And thus it is with the major­ity of open source soft­ware:

Open source soft­ware is free if your time is worth noth­ing.

[…] I’ve used main­stream image edit­ors like Pho­toshop, Paint.NET and Gimp; some of my best friends are main­stream image edit­ors. And when I saw Gimp I almost went blind. Chil­dren were weep­ing; fruit was bruis­ing. The UI could kill small anim­als.

Are there excep­tions in the open source world? Abso­lutely.

When an open source pro­ject gets enough tal­en­ted people work­ing on it, it can become a down­right mas­ter­piece.

In UI and UX terms the major­ity of open source applic­a­tions are behind or on par with PC-based soft­ware. These are then both behind Mac-only applic­a­tions. There are excep­tions, of course, but they’re exactly that—exceptions.

Gran­ted; there are unne­ces­sary and debil­it­at­ing restric­tions on Apple products, and when these restric­tions make product use cum­ber­some I’ll switch in a heart­beat. But it seems that these restric­tions are part of a lar­ger strategy: to build the best user exper­i­ence.

This, from a Tech­Crunch art­icle look­ing at Apple’s strategy:

“Our goal is not to build the most com­puters. It’s to build the best.”

That was Apple COO Tim Cook two days ago dur­ing Apple’s quarterly earn­ings call. Sure, it may sound like spin from an exec­ut­ive who does­n’t have a bet­ter answer as to why Apple isn’t com­pet­ing in the low-end of the mar­ket, and thus, gain­ing mar­ket share. But it’s not.

You need look no fur­ther than num­bers released today by NPD to under­stand Apple’s strategy. Its rev­en­ue share of the “premi­um” price mar­ket — that is, com­puters over $1,000 — is a stag­ger­ing 91%.

Exporting Poor Work Environments

After a long time of suc­cess­fully man­aging to avoid the blog, I even­tu­ally clicked this past week when I was sent Fake Steve Jobs’ reac­tion to the news that an employ­ee of Fox­conn, one of Apple’s Chinese ‘man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners’, com­mit­ted sui­cide shortly after report­ing a miss­ing iPhone v4 pro­to­type.

We can­’t make these products in the United States. Nobody could afford to buy them if we did. And, frankly, the qual­ity would be about half what we get out of China. […]

We all know that there’s no fuck­ing way in the world we should have microwave ovens and refri­ger­at­ors and TV sets and everything else at the prices we’re pay­ing for them. There’s no way we get all this stuff and everything is done fair and square and every­one gets treated right. No way. And don’t be confused—what we’re talk­ing about here is our way of life. Our stand­ard of liv­ing. You want to “fix things in China,” well, it’s gonna cost you. Because everything you own, it’s all done on the backs of mil­lions of poor people whose lives are so awful you can­’t even begin to ima­gine them, people who will do any­thing to get a life that is a tiny bit bet­ter than the shitty one they were born into, people who get exploited and treated like shit and, in the worst of all cases, pay with their lives.

You know that, and I know that. Okay? Let’s just be hon­est here.

It reminds me some­what of Jared Dia­mond’s Col­lapse, spe­cific­ally where he dis­cusses how “[China and Japan con­serve their] own forests by export­ing defor­est­a­tion to oth­er coun­tries, sev­er­al of which (includ­ing Malay­sia, Pap­ua New Guinea, and Aus­tralia) have already reached or are on the road to cata­stroph­ic defor­est­a­tion” (emphas­is mine).

Now, are first world coun­tries like the U.S. and those of West­ern Europe not just export­ing poor work envir­on­ment stand­ards to the second world coun­tries of Indone­sia, Malay­sia and China (as a con­sequence of large-scale, inex­pens­ive man­u­fac­tur­ing that we no longer can/want to under­take)?