As a long-term graphic designer and the resident Mac tech-guy at Alstin, I found Steve Job’s’ recent demise to be the closing of a window that I’d often peered into. Though I think some of the eulogizing was over the top and overly simplistic, I found much of the criticism directed towards Jobs’ and his apparent deification to be equally ignorant.
One of the most repeated comments I read was that all Apple did was make things shiny and market them well, with Steve being little more than a huckster pitchman preying on the easily distracted masses. Sure, you could attribute these POVs to Android fans who think their superior platform doesn’t get a fair shake, developers who froth over Apple’s “walled garden”, the “those who hate anything popular” crowd, and an abundance of rambunctious 13 yr. old boys, but in reality, you simply have a group that doesn’t understand or respect the concept of complete design.
Steve Jobs understood this, and he was a bit of a prick when it came to getting other people to grasp and embrace the concept. It mattered a lot to him, possibly more than anything other than his family. It was his life’s philosophy. “Make it great!” was all about elegance–the inseparability between form and function. Because his vision was so clear, he believed that the best way to keep people from making the wrong/inelegant choices was to remove them altogether. In the end, this led to products that had built-in limitations, but that’s because of Job’s philosophy that the device knew better than the user did. When you let the device make all the decisions, you no longer have a computer. You have an appliance. And who tinkers with their microwave oven?
When you plunk down your cash for an Apple product, you’re not buying a shiny product with a great marketing campaign (though these are givens at this point), what you’re buying is a vision, what design luddites call the “Kool-aid”, simply because the value of the concept is not apparent to them. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.
For those of you that DO get it, here’s another product to look at – nest.com. And trust to just work… – j