Are you an Apple fan? And, of course, I mean, not the fruit, but the most recognizable brand in the world as of March of this year. From Macs to iPods, iPhones to iPads, Apple is the company that has somehow managed to decimate competitors by conjuring one market crushing product after another. By doing so it has also managed to change a wide variety of industries that impact people’s lives everyday. They do all this while maintaining a sizably higher price margin along with products that exhibit shorter life cycle. Love them or hate them, one must agree that the deciders at Apple have shown how a company can come back from the brink of bankruptcy to become widely successful, nonstop. The current global cash reserve of Apple is valued at a whopping $40 Billion and that was six months ago. These guys at Apple not only know what the customers want, they also know it before most of the people outside the Infinite Loop campus do. They have literally changed the digital life landscape, and they are not done yet.
Today was the WWDC, the annual conference where Steve Jobs had introduced most of Apple’s pioneering products like the OSX, Macbooks and of course he unleashed the iPhones and iPads in the same venue. The keynote speech has been made available for streaming in Apple’s website here, check it out. Its a particularly interesting presentation for WWDC in many years, for three primary reasons.
One, no iPhone release today. For every year since the original iPhone announcement back in 2007, Apple has managed to either introduce a new model or at least improve an existing model. But this year the company decided to focus entirely on its software division.Two, a majority of the presentation and demo was provided by other members of Apple executives which is in contrast to previous years’ conferences where Mr.Jobs held the stage for a bulk of the time. This clearly shows Mr.Jobs’ limited participation in Apple’s operation. The third, and perhaps most intriguing factor in today’s event was the announcement of cloud services from Apple. Apple has never been so great with cloud based systems (read: MobileMe)
If you did watch the keynote, you would have noticed the one thing that makes Apple products seem so magical. Its the extreme simplicity of each and every individual stuff they spoke about. Be it the new Notification system of iOS, or the Multi-Touch gestures of OSX or, the astonishing, entire distribution mechanism of iCloud, you could literally see that it was all about user experience. All of the features were admittedly powerful and very much sophisticated, but the sophistication does not come from flashy graphics or intricate steps, but from the features’ incredible simplicity. Take the new Mission Control feature for example. If you have not used a mac, the Spaces and Expose´features of OSX are extremely handy in the current Snow Leopard version. By combining them with other widget and context controllers they have produced a one stop control room for managing all of your presentation layers. But that is only an engineering feat. When you come to the useability side is when you see its true power. The different spaces within the control manage themselves and all the user has to do is to drag something onto another entity. The user does not have to worry about the type of the screen, size of the file or anything else that does not require the user’s attention. The user has to focus only on his work and everything else is almost invisible. That is the true elegance of these applications.
If you were not completely blown away by the iCloud features demo, then there is a good chance that you are not alive. Although Amazon and Google have made some significant inroads into the cloud way of data delivery, none of these guys came even close to what we saw today from Apple. Apple of course has a huge advantage in terms of existing subscribed customer base via its iTunes and App store ecosystems but, nevertheless, the way photos and movies, songs and books seamlessly transfer from one iOS device to another s is truly remarkable. There was often just one or two button clicks which was all required to make it happen, and what-more those were the only buttons on the screen. In terms of intuitiveness and user experience its nothing short of a design masterpiece.
A few days ago I blogged about the differences between minimalistic-design Vs feature-first-design in software development. Today these guys showed what I so crudely tried to explain and this was what that blog was all about. No matter if you agree or disagree with Apple’s certain policies, you can’t disagree to the fact that they surely know how to make their products seem magical.
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