All posts in “apple”

Product as a P(a)lace

Potala Palace, Tibet

The joy of products. Well, ok, that is pretty rare. Why do you think that is? I personally believe it is because creators of products often do not think about the relationship between user and product. A relationship I hear you cry?! Yes, a relationship. We all have relationships with the environment around us whether it be our favourite mug, our car or simply the dustbin. We interact with these entities on a daily basis. However some, we interact with more.

Some we actually enjoy interacting with.

That’s right, enjoyment from interacting with non-human objects, how bizarre. But the interesting thing is that better products do not always build better relationships. Imagine, if James Dyson had created his bagless vacuum cleaner but it looked and felt the same as any other cleaner on the market. The impact would have been minimal. In fact, the bagless bit is probably the least important. Dyson’s styling of the cleaner made it a desirable item, something we would be happy to spend time with, even look forward to interacting with. It was a shift in relationship with an otherwise ugly and cumbersome object often hidden away.

Dyson changed the relationship from distaste to desire.

So what happens when we come to the web & mobile? If you follow me on twitter you will undoubtedly have heard me complaining about the user experience of websites, apps, CRM. You name it, if I’ve interacted with it, and it’s been bad then I have probably mentioned it. It all seems so simple to me and I really find it hard to comprehend why some products are made so badly?!

The twitter app for iPhone is an example of how to continuously make a good product worse. The latest iteration of ignorance has seen a shift so big in awfulness that I deleted the app altogether. I’ve used that application since I ‘bought’ it when it was called tweetie 2 (before the curse of the twitter acquisition). The biggest issue is that they have now hidden direct messages! HIDDEN! Also if once you have found them and someone has spammed you then if you click on their profile image it no longer takes you to their account so you can block them. No. You now have to remember their username and then search for them and then block them.

Good product to terrible product, so bad I could no longer spend any more time with it.

This matter of spending time with products leads me on to why I have titled this piece ‘Product as Place’. It’s because when I use an application or product I am there, in the moment, in that place and I rely on good architects and interior designers to make my time there a pleasant one, regardless of what it is i am trying to do. The difference is that I am choosing to be in these places rather than it being just circumstance. This concept really doesn’t sound that complicated to me, nor obtuse. Those who build applications have already been given the titles of architect, engineer and designer but more often than not I find myself being pushed towards the brutalist equivalent of a hi-rise council flat. Far from ideal.

Would you spend your time in the sewers if you didn’t have to? I very much doubt it. But for some reason product creators seem to think that we do.

An ugly website is a cave, a bad UX a labyrinth

If you know better is achievable then it’s like sitting in a cave facing a palace. It makes you mad to get lost in the labyrinth when you know they could have built a straight path. If you wonder what a palace might look like (for an application) then download Path which has just been refreshed to show the best UI i have ever seen on a touchscreen device. They have really understood what it is to treat product as a place. You know this as a user when you start pressing buttons not for their functionality but for the joy of the animation when you do so. This delight is what makes a product become a palace.

If you need further evidence of this philosophy then look no further than apple. They NEVER offer you the best technical spec on any of their devices and rarely the best price to boot. But what they are selling you every time is a palace, with no mazes or hidden doors. That is what you are really buying when you purchase one of their products.

Please please please, everybody, spend some time with your products and ask yourself. Do you enjoy being there? Is it a pleasant experience? If given the choice would you happily come back?

If you’re answer is yes to any of these then you are probably in the wrong job (i.e. delusional) or lucky enough to be in the 1% of people who do make decent products.

Steve Jobs RIP


Steve Jobs RIP

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

No Jesus, No iPhone 5, No Thanks

empty church

First off, we need to offer an apology. We had previously predicted Jesus would return to launch the new iPhone. This clearly did not happen and we’re not quite sure why. The ONLY explanation is that there must have been a problem with our initial calculation. For those of you who sold your iPhone 4′s and donated your all your money to ad banners telling everyone else to do the same then, all we can say is… whoops. Maybe next year, yeah?

As hundreds descended upon the Apple Campus in eager anticipation to ‘talk iphone’ or more specifically ‘iPhone 5‘. Thousands more of us descended upon the internet to see what we could garner from those lucky enough to be at the table. Simultaneously in another (far less popular) world literally tens descended upon churches around the world eager to get a glimpse of his lordships coming and to fast-track to heaven and beat the queues. Some had even camped out over night to secure their place. There would be just one problem for all parties…

Disappointment. Massive Disappointment

Both groups are used to this feeling but it was especially hard on the iPhone fanboys who actually believe in evolution. Sure there was a bit of Siri voice control here and a dollop of 8 megapixel camera there but nothing of the spectacle either parties had envisioned. Overall Tim Cook did an okay job trying to sound like Steve Jobs and by introducing the new technology, new prices and those watch faces for iPod Shuffle with Micky Mouse on them but where was the stigmata? The flowing gown? The golden locks? The spotlight just couldn’t be filled & the moment fell on expectations.

If you want to find out everything there is no know then there are a gazillion blogs out there with the same content on or just try the apple site. In my opinion, overall this looks great for 3GS owners ready to renew their contract or those new to iPhone. For those already with an iPhone 4 i am sure the majority will stick it out until the summer when the iPhone 5 comes. iOS5 will run on either device so there is no need to jump ship just yet. As for the Jesus fanboys, who knows, some are holding out for a summer extravaganza whilst others are left wondering whether they should try another book? So for now, no thanks.

Jesus to return for launch of the new iPhone

Steve Jobs Praying - All Rights to All Things D

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit. This year Apple intends to go even higher into the heavens.

There have been copious rumours surrounding what the industry is (lazily) calling the iPhone 5. However, we had originally betted that it would actually be called the iPhone Air due to its slimmer & lighter nature. But this isn’t the case either. The final name for the ‘iPhone 5′ will actually be the ‘iPhone R’!!! Now you may be wondering why this is but as the pieces begin to fit together it becomes glaringly obvious. The R stands for ‘Rapture‘.

This is actually the culmination of two very seemingly separate yet profound stories from 2011 that no-one would ever have predicted were related. This summer we expected the arrival of 2 things that would revolutionise our lives – Jesus & the iPhone 5. But neither came, much to the disappointment of everyone in the world (except maybe the Amish). We all laughed when Jesus did a no show & Harold ‘The Rapture’ Camping was proven wrong (again). But he wasn’t wrong. A leaked memo from Steve Jobs earlier in the year highlights his worry in handing over ‘to a lesser being’ aka new CEO Tim Cook to present the new device. It seemed there was only one solution. If Jobs was unable to present the new phone then there was ‘really only one other guy who could fill his trainers’ – The Big J.

Voicemail’s unearthered from the now cremated News of The World revealed that Steve Jobs had called Jesus pleading with him to delay his ‘coming’ until later in the year as the A5 chip meant he would be unable to present in the summer at the WWDC. Although there are no records of Jesus accepting his offer it seems highly probable that the two delays are now indeed coordinated. Especially since Apple did announce at WWDC the future release of iCloud9, later revising the title to simply iCloud -  a tool for backing up your life should you lose it.

One senior bishop, who does not wish to be named at this time said he was not surprised as this was not the first time a member of the Holy Trinity had aligned themselves with a product launch. “People forget that the Holy Ghost was the poster boy for Samsonite Scroll-Holdalls in 154 BC”, he stated. “The church can no longer rely on the traditional lifetime subscription model. We need to be seen as modernising; offering new incentives & freemium trials to encourage growth in our userbase. What better way to do this than to align ourselves with another iconic brand such as Apple”.

Taking all this into account you can’t help feeling a little cheated as a consumer, it seems as though nothing is sacred anymore. Will we even have time to buy an iPhone R or will Jesus be rapturing everyone in the audience? (as is typical of an Apple launch event). Either way, be sure to tune in on October 4th – it promises to be one hell of a show.

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