This is a great article about Apple, and touches a bit on the user experience and how that shapes Apple’s products. I’ve cherry-picked some key points below.
Focussing on the Essentials (KISS)
“Also … there is clarity in the product categories.”
“By concentrating on the essentials Apple has also set trends in product design: Waste is omitted in case of hardware and software. This makes the products elegant and user-friendly.”
Elegant simplicity makes the product easy to understand, improving the user experience.
Controlling the User Experience
“Jobs believes in the principle of retail, because the customer can already be addressed when shopping emotionally.”
Retail ‘sets the scene’ for the user experience, allowing for symbiosis and continuity of experience. Apple Stores are the most successful retail stores of all time and generate more profit per square foot than any other store.
Evolution, not Revolution
“Rather than fight for leadership in innovation through high-risk investments, now existing products were picked up and taken by chic Apple design and good marketing”
When Jobs returned in 1997, he started on a course of evolving products rather than going with high risk bold innovation which nearly bought the company to bankruptcy. This gives consumers more confidence as incremental improvements do not require such a big leap of faith. (but is of course much more boring!)
The Consumerisation of IT
“Apple was one of the first IT companies engaged interests and wishes of ordinary users at the center. Not the man to adapt to the use of the computer, but the computer the people – at least the idea. Accordingly, the brand image of Apple in the consumer’s good. In interviews about brand loyalty and satisfaction Apple regularly reached record levels among its clients.”
Designing the product for the user, not asking the user to change for the product.
Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) sums up the launch of a new Apple product:
“The launch of a new Apple product is like a big important concert for me where you have to be in person. It is history. Certainly, I could order online or ask the store manager to let me in through the back door, but that wouldn’t be the same.”
An interview with Woz that’s well worth reading can be found here.