Skip to comments.Why Apple is Kicking Everyone’s Ass – The Real Cost of Software Development is Usability
Posted on 04/11/2010 2:38:33 AM PDT by Swordmaker
What does Apple get that Sony, HP, Microsoft, Dell, Samsung, and LG dont? . Usability in software. All these other geeks out there making hardware love packing on specs, stuffing big numbers like RAM, gigahertz, and hard drive space into small or cool looking gadgets. It all looks good on paper, but after you use one of their gadgets for more than a few weeks, you just want to throw it out a window. Thousands of new gadgets released every year all using the same-old crappy unfriendly, unintuitive, unattractive software. Its no wonder so many are flocking to Apple when we can just pickup one of their simplistic products, start taping and swiping our fingers, and lo and behold it just does what we want it to do. Of course, it isnt easy, or cheap, to make software this user friendly, which is why everyone is having such a hard time keeping up.
As a software developer, I hear the phrase I just want it to . Which, as any experienced software developer knows, is the most expensive phrase we ever hear. People have software needs all the time, which may require vast complicated effort to achieve, but they want it to hide all that complication behind a simple and user-friendly interface. What most people dont know is that making software do just about anything doesnt cost nearly as much as making it easy and intuitive for them to use. This lack of cost awareness is what ruins so many brilliant product ideas.
Sony is, in my opinion, the worst offender. In the past decade, I have seen Sony release cutting-edge gadgets to the market before anyone else. The PSP was an amazing gadget when it came out, in theory. It played music, videos, viewed photos, surfed the web, and of course, played games. The problem was that, excluding the last feature, it didnt do any of them well. In fact, all the claimed features were so hard to use that almost no one could figure it out. Then, even more idiotically, Sony received reports that users were not using the extra features and stopped improving them! Sony could have been the what the iPod Touch is today, but lost the chance with bad software.
But I dont just write this to rant, I write this as a warning to other business owners and entrepreneurs out there. Developing software and technology is one thing, but making it user friendly is another. In fact, usability can consume up to 80% of a projects time and resources. That is, if your actually going to make something people will want to use. You have to build it, review it, fix it, test it, fix it, beta release, fix it, get feedback, fix it, get more feedback, fix it and maybe just maybe people will be able to actually use it.
This is why the only mobile platform even close to keeping up with Apple is Googles Android. Google is the only one in the fight with the know-how and resources to keep up. Even RIM, makers if the Blackberry, cant keep their mobile software up to par, they have to invest in starting from scratch or spending huge resources in fixing what they have.
If you or your company has a great idea for an application or gadget, just remember, once you price the development
multiply it a couple times for usability.
I have a degree in Business Administration, concentration in Finance, minor in Economics. So, Leisler, yes, I do know about the time value of money...
Thanks for the iPad capability lists.
I have my iPad and I love it.
Just to play devil’s avocate for a second - on a different site, a fellow held much the same position as yourself. Determined to prove his assertions, he went to his local AAPL Store and actually played with a real iPad. When he left, he said something like, “It is magical, amazing. I was wrong. See my new iPad?”
It certainly is. Macs don't need anti-viral ware... as of this time the total number of Viruses for Mac OS X in the wild, after ten years of OS X being in the wild, is ZERO. The business would not have lost a week of productivity due to viral infection if they had a Mac in that location. EVERYTHING that was being done on that computer could just as easily be done on a Mac... and even the Windows vertical solution database they run the optometry Office software on, being that it does not have to connect to the internet, could be run in a virtual machine sandbox under OS X, and be safe. All other work, especially internet ordering etc., could be handled by the Mac side... and be safely done without the need for cycle eating anti-anything ware.
Actually, I was. My daughter was driving and I was surfing the internet on my iPhone. So don't call me a liar. I can actually show you on the map where the five minutes of no signal were located. AT&T has a strong presence across that corridor...
Not a lefty by any streach and have been using AAPL since 1989. Payback = stock price. Bought at $100 in 2000, 2 splits. Now $230+. Market Cap just $10 billon less than MS.
AAPL, like its products, are long term investments, not dividend paying, trust fund crap.
According to Job’s slide show at the 4.0 Demo, Andriod is now 19 and iPhone 64.
All right, prove your negative.
Macs can run all Windows software, All versions of DOS, UNIX, BE-OS, AmigaOS, AtariOS, C-64 Software, all variations of LINUX, Mac OS X, Mac OS, THE-OS, and several other more obscure operating systems that run under emulation or Virtualization. So what proof do you have that PCs can run more?
Jeff Gordon is a loser! Kyle Busch is a better driver, but you even adopt a driver's name for your own...
now that's a fanbot supreme!
Apple rocks. Obama sucks, as does Jeff Gordon!
Apple makes its profit on hype and glossy products. Under the cover they are nothing special.
Actually I have used a mac, even owned a couple. Bought my kids ipods and itunes.
They are overpriced and over hyped.
Don’t believe that for the ipad. I’d love a functional tablet PC, even have a business application for it to use.
The ipad doesn’t have enough power to do much except be an expensive kindle.
Apple buyers usually buy the trade carpenter. He's like the PC guy that has to buy more computers as the old ones fill up with trojans and viruses!!@!
Have you driven a Ford lately? They sync with iPod, not zuneeeeeeee...
“Actually, I was. My daughter was driving and I was surfing the internet on my iPhone.”
Well I live in Tampa and have traveled extensively with an AT&T phone. Their network stinks.
Ahh so for a mac to be usable it has to pretend to be a microsoft PC. My point is made.
Adoption by state
|State||% of iPads||Pop. per iPad|
Umm, because they are a monopoly?
Apple is making a lot of business enemies. Their fanatical users like swordmaker are making lots of enemies in the user community.
Hype only last so long. Sooner or later it begins to tarnish. The iPad is the beginning of that. They put out a barely functional overpriced product that is essentially a big smart phone minus the communication.
Numerous other vendors will soon enter the market with functional tablet PCs. All of which will have to compete with lower end laptops.
I know many iPhone users who cuss AT&T every single day. Their entry into other cell providers might help but why buy old technology when something like the droid is out there.
Your point is not made, nor is it "pretending" to be a Microsoft capable machine, it is, if need be. But for most purposes, equal or better software us natively available in the Mac environment. For those very rare occasions where there is not, then one can hold one's nose and run the MS stuff in a safe sandbox.
Thank you for saving me the time of writing that.
Getting irritated at the number of FReepers he11-bent on flinging their favorite insults with no consideration of accuracy.
“But for most purposes, equal or better software us natively available in the Mac environment. “
Dreams are wonderful things. Keep saying it long enough and maybe it will become true.
“For those very rare occasions where there is not, then one can hold one’s nose and run the MS stuff in a safe sandbox.”
Security is more than a wall. Users are the weakest link in any system. Apples are not secure.
It’s kind of true. I go to grown men’s houses and they watch me work, wish that they could wear bleached out, ripped Carharts, have a truck and a dog at work, go to lunch for burgers and beers, have friends who build boat, planes and do marble bathrooms in their houses as a return favor, and be able to take off work when they want too.
If sandal wearing, come-look-at-the-color-saturation Apple guys ever figure out how to swap out window, I’m screwed.
my understanding is that the new iphoneOS4 is 64 bit and the iPad is 64 bit already. Safari runs Flash in a 32bit App sandbox to keep it from breaking Safari. I may be wrong on this, but this is what I was told by a friend who is an Apple engineer.
iPhone uses a subset of OSX.
I’m still wondered about the whole pc thing. I think it is a great industry. But, I talk to my young kids and they are like...blah.... They’ve always had them.
Seriously now, how many people care about their toaster, or dishwasher? We are not too far away, if not there already, were they are just commodities.
Another Apple(ish) cultural connection. They remind me of the people that drive the Volvo 240’s for thirty years telling me how Sweden is better. In short, there’s something about the stereotypical Apple fetish owners. It’s like their circuit boards were washed in the tears of blond, blue eyed Nordic babies collected when they were laughing with joy.
I do remodeling for fun too. You should see my marble master bathroom or the on I just did for my daughter and son-in- law. Gonna gut their kitchen next month and redo that.
Macs can run more software than PCs can,
Simply not true
If I partition a modern mac and install Win 7 in one partition, and a brand of Linux in another, plus the partition that runs OSX — I can run any and all software made for each of those OSs in native modes with no hacks to make them work as they are designed.
You cannot install OSX on a cheap pc without major hacks — plus, if you do it will not run as designed - things will break like printing,
Yea there’s a wrapper to run 32 bit flash on a 64 bit Linux. And there’s even a 64 bit beta out. I have nothing but trouble with it.
As for iPad vs my ThinkPad? I haven’t really touched my laptop in a week. Since I have no work to use it for, I’ve been using it for content consumption.
Around 7 pounds versus one and a half; 3 hour battery versus 10.
To use laptop, set down, open lid (wait for it to wake up and reestablish WiFi) , login and go. To use pad, press home button, swipe finger and go.
Mobility: I can walk around the house with the pad like I would with a magazine; about the same size too. Laptop, yea its doable, but awkward and clumsy and forget about holding like a magazine and still interact with it. Transporting: pack laptop in backpack with power cord, sling backpack over shoulder and go. iPad, close cover and carry like said magazine. Did I mention battery life?
Theres PLENTY of research by knowledgeable people who consider the ipad very short of functionality.Apple is, and always has been, about minimalism. The point of the iphone and ipad is to do what you want(eg. movies, photos, mail) as fast and as easily as possible. People that are willing to go the extra mile to get all the "features" they can out of their system inevitably gravitate to Windows or Linux.
Complaining about apple devices being short of functionality is like complaining that oranges aren't apples.
The Kindle with the same size screen as the iPad is $489. The base iPad is $499.The Kindle, as a dedicated book reader, does not have color, movie viewing capability, games capability, etc., yet did well in the marketplace. Even if the only function of the iPad was to be an ebook reader, it's well positioned in that market. We could quibble about whether the color screen that uses more power or the black and white with lower power consumption model is better, but the fact remains that the iPad is extremely competitive with a functional and successful product in an existing niche category, and adds much more functionality in other areas.
Great analogy! ROFLMAO!
You are simply not in the target market, as myself.
Power: I assume you are referring to the 1 GHz cpu. Here you are falling into the old thinking. You can no longer judge power by cpu speed. There is plenty of info available to go into this in detail on the net.
But to make this interesting: you sound like an honest guy - some time go to an AAPL Store and prove yourself correct.
FYI: The iPad is comparable in price and size to the Kindle DX and will do much more than the one trick Kindle or Kindle DX.
Why Apple is Kicking Everyones Ass?
Umm, because they are a monopoly?
Explain and define monopoly...
By your def anyone who makes any thing proprietary is a monopoly — like name you favorite car company - which like AAPL does not permit you to use a competing car companies parts.
“Apples are not secure.”
The US Army and NSA would disagree....
It’s not hard, there should be Man Schools to get people basic skills sets.
I keep hearing about a new Stooges movie. I can not wait.
Of course, Windows Mobile and Android will multitask ALL your apps fine. No need to get Microsoft or Google to 'sign off' on your use of multitasking, or use only their special tools (see the new dev license debacle from Apple; slashdot is all up in arms about it).
Flash Support... It will not support Flash, and probably never will, because Flash is a 32 bit application and iPad and iPhone are 64 bit Operating Systems... and Flash is a resource hog that eats CPU cycles.
REALLY? The ARM inside the iPhone and iPad are 32 bit devices; in fact, the iPhone OS currently (and I presume 4.0) is 32 bit only.
Additionally, there are 64-bit-compatible versions of Flash; it runs on the 64 bit versions of Windows and Linux.
Camera/Webcam... With a 99¢ app, available now, the iPad will allow an iPhone 3Gs camera to be controlled and shoot pictures for the iPad and display them on the iPad... in real time. Other apps are on the way that will do the same thing with ANY bluetooth capable camera.
So I can juggle my iPhone while trying to balance and look at my iPad? I guess since there's no camera on the iPad you have to do something... I mean, it's not like other tablets or netbooks have cameras; oops, I guess they do!
phone/video call... The WIFI capable iPads work just fine with the iPhone version of SKYPE... and will make phone calls to any phone in the world using the built in microphone and speakers.... or to a Bluetooth headset.
About time they caught up with Windows Mobile which has run Skype for years... And what about other VOIP tools? Google Voice? The dozens of SIP-compliant tools?
Removable battery... First of all, the battery in the iPad is dangerous to handle, secondly, the addition of a battery access port would add weight and complexity and cost to the iPad, and thirdly who needs a replacement battery when the iPad has a measured 11.8 hour life between charges, and a 30 day standby time?
Yes, those dangerous LiPo batteries that are found in hundreds of cell phones and remote controlled toys, with those untold millions of people maimed or killed. Uh, maybe not... Plenty safe, actually. At least as safe as LiIon batteries which every laptop out there uses - and lets the user change.
Memory Card Slot... The iPad was designed to be a Cloud based computing device with storage on the cloud. Which memory card of the 14 current standards would Apple have decided to include?
Yes, so difficult! I mean, the SDMicro is so huge that you can't use it, and those 8-card-readers that HP, Dell, Toshiba, and about every other laptop maker builds in are just too limiting because they only support the top 8 cards, and thus only about 95% of the market. Better to ignore it all and lock out 100%, rather than just 5%...
And that cloud, better hope it's running and well connected! Of course, we've seen just how reliable that is with AT&T and other networks. And travel, well, get ready for heavy-duty roaming fees overseas - nothing like paying $3.00 per MB to download your e-mail and pictures!
Need I go on? From simply out-and-out technical errors (54 bit OS - sure!) to excuses (too dangerous to handle a battery that millions handle every day without a second thought), this reads like a total Apple apologetic...
Note that the report you link is not really correct; I know I (and many other power users) set my Windows Mobile to report as IE7, so I'm not shuttled off to some limited mobile web version of a site (99% of all sites are perfectly fine in Opera and PIE). Meaning that there are plenty of WinMo users who don't show up in that list because we don't report ourselves as limited browser.
One thing I’ve noticed on these threads is how much of the negative about Apple is dissing the users, not the product.
NEway, the upcoming HP Slate will be a good test of the visions of Apple & MS in their visions for implementation of the tablet interface. Long-term, I’m not sure either vision will be successful, but if either is, I suspect it will be the Apple iPad version. Rather than flame and try to make people mad, I will try to be objective in my analysis (Note, though, that I do have a preference for Apple products.)
The tablet computer has been a holy grail for the industry for years. There is an almost manic desire to kill the keyboard. Until reliable touch screens came out, though, there were no viable input alternatives.
The iPad, from my brief encounter with it, seems to be about 75% designed for media consumption, but is capable of light word processing, email, and other input. Apple used the strategy of taking a mobile OS and upscaling it. The biggest advantage of this is that the OS was designed for touch interface from the beginning.
With the HP Slate, the stated specifications are 2.2 lbs (a little over a half pound more than the iPad) and it runs full Windows 7. This will make it more powerful, but will result in greater power consumption. Windows 7 is also primarily a mouse driven architecture with some touch controls attached.
I can’t see the HP Slate being particularly successful, because the HP Slate truly is a laptop with the keyboard removed and some touch capability added. The question of “Why should I get this instead of a full laptop?” becomes a lot more acute with the Slate. The keyboard on the Slate is resizable and floats on the surface, but I suspect this will create a lot of problems with the keyboard covering the Window area where you’re trying to create input. To be functional, I suspect most users will take a keyboard and mouse with them, and something to prop up the screen. This is why I think the MS approach will not be successful. Although I have only seen videos, the Slate isn’t out, the interface is a full PC interface, and in demo videos I’ve seen, the user had difficulty getting Windows to close, etc., because of latency and the difficulty of accuracy in touching the proper place on the screen. As this was a beta product, this may be fixed by the time the Slate comes out. There are some things I don’t know about the Slate, such as accelerometer and compass support, screen orientation capabilities etc. When Balmer demoed the Slate, he played Frogger, rather than a game that required accelerometer support, so on those fronts, I don’t know.
With the iPad, there’s no question. If you need the full capabilities of a laptop, it’s not your product. Is there a niche for what it is? With the Kindle being enough of a success at a similar price point to be very profitable for Amazon, I think there is.
Too bad you have a complex phone then and now. When I want to use the speakerphone functionality of my HTC Touch Pro 2 (which I use a lot, because it's so convenient) I simply turn it over, exposing the external speaker and dual mics on the back. The phone - that antiquated, non-user-friendly Windows Mobile thing - just works. Face it towards you, it's a regular phone. Set it down on a table and it becomes a speaker phone.
It just works.
I can. Last I heard, Sean Penn was going to play Larry.
As a Linux user - I take the comparison to Apple (poorly) as an insult! Really though - beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder.
With that said...
Windows - fixed look - you can change the background - you can change the color of the decorations - otherwise you are stuck with the way it looks.
OS-X - You get what Apple thinks is pretty.
Linux - A chameleon with 5 to 7 possible different window managers to choose from, thus every aspect of the environment is customizable. You can even have a raw terminal if that is ALL you want.
OS-X has a following. They also only have 3-4% of the market. Same is true for Linux. The majority of people who by Apple will buy nothing else. At least I can say that I have multiple Windows boxes along with multiple Linux boxes. (Not to mention my Droid phone ;-)
I’m going to take you on a few points.
Flash - that is just a sour grapes argument. We don’t have flash so we must not need it. If Lord Job had wanted us to have Flash he would have provided it to us! ;-)
Removable battery - You are making excuses with no really solid engineering backing. If it had to be removable, then other parameters of the design would have changed to accommodate that requirement - likely coming in at near or at the same actual cost. (I’m an engineer...it could have been done.)
The watermelon tastes better too!
Pick up a new HTC with the 480x800 screen (that's 16:9.6). Works great for all those things - REALLY well when in vertical mode, and watching full movies without pan-and-scan - and in higher resolution than an iPhone - is great.
Do you know how much weight you are talking about to make the battery swappable???
The weight of the Dell Mini 10 battery is about 9 ounces, and it adds ZERO extra weight to make it removable. Just like my HP G71 - it clips in from the outside and creates a seamless back.
Video ports... most users DO NOT USE VIDEO PORTS ON LAPTOPS... so that is just more BS. I'm a heavy computer user... and I can think of the times I used the video port on my laptop in the last two years... never. And again, weight, thickness of case, and cost?
Hey, it's nice to have, I use it for video out to projectors for presentations. Both with my laptop and with my phone (which has video out as well). And when I'm doing technical work (CAD or schematic capture) it's really nice to have a second monitor for documentation.
Why carry around a disk when the same content can be downloaded from the cloud?
Clearly you don't travel internationally. Internet connections in much of the world are a good concept, and often very lacking. Not to mention that many content providers like Hulu and Netflix will cut you off from streaming if you're outside the US, or some countries like China will cut you off from Youtube. Being able to play actual physical media is nice. And I can do that no problem with my laptop or with my phone (here in China most DVD places will copy the movie to your MicroSD card no problem, so then it's on my phone).
Do you understand that iPhoneOS is OS X???? It is a mobile maximized version of OS X.
A 32 bit version of OSX, that is... Snow Leopard it is not, nor based on Snow Leopard.
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