Beauty, Elegance & Comfort In Technology

18 12 2007

I finally broke down and went to the Mac camp with a MacBook Pro, and with a damn good deal for a brilliant notebook courtesy of the unfortunate CompUSA store closures.

I’ve always know that Apple has had the best product designs.

I’m also a bit of a productivity freak. Not in the GTD, obsessive compulsive list building way. Rather, I mostly try not to waste large chucks of time though I willingly waste small amounts of time. I was there for Google, eBay, online shopping, PPC advertising. I’m usually at least somewhere ahead of the curve, but sometimes productivity issues hold me back. I don’t have enough of a desire to have the newest, hottest thing if you’ve got to deal with the frustration of using the thing. Therefore, I’m not sure I fit the perfect mold of an early adopter. The productivity issues with the iPhone is the troubling hold-back. I would love one, but really can’t get over the touch keyboard, and Edge network to a lesser extent.

I always wondered why I never felt particularly compelled to jump to Mac. Perhaps it was minor annoyance with Apple fanboys. The practical reason could always be that the corporate environment made it difficult. Plus, my Seattle background made me sort of locked-in to Microsoft – the stuff was always free! Now I’m an official Valley type. And I own a Mac. And it’s wonderful.

I never understood people’s obsession with their Macs. Unfortunately, no one really codified for me. I guess I never dived deep enough, but surface answers were always something like “they just work better.”

That was never a good enough answer. I still don’t know if life is any easier as a Mac user, but it certainly is more pleasant, more comfortable. I’m having seriously annoying issues with WordPress WYSIWYG in Safari as we speak. If you’ve got to do somethings that’s a pain, might as well be comfortable doing it. If Windows is coach, then Mac is definitely First Class.

We all know Apple makes the best designed, simplest, and most beautiful products. However, what Steve Jobs understands and a lot of people don’t is that design is not a matter of focusing on the details, it’s a matter of focusing on the right details. Things like rounded corners (as cliche as they are), anti-aliased fonts, focus on materials (metallics, whites, glass), slim profiles, backlighting, easy sounds, and soft keyboards actually mean something.

I probably could’ve and should’ve jumped ship earlier. Once Apple introduced Intel processors and BootCamp, that was the turning point. From an investment standpoint, that was the point where you should’ve bought Apple stock (no, I had not checked the stock history to fully verify this timing). That was the close enough point from the productivity standpoint – and when the elegance of the machines could really dominate. Apple computers (aside from the monster that is iPod, iPhone,…) will continue to do very well as time marches forward.

Apple’s secret sauce is how the beauty & elegance translates to a comfortable and pleasant feeling when using their products. And that’s the lesson that I’ll take whenever I want to create a product that I want people to use. I wish someone explained it to me earlier.

Happy holidays!




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