Victor’s Insider Scoop on Steve Job’s Design Aesthetic …
October 1st, 2011 | top of page

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” —Steve Jobs 2003

In this month’s Insider Scoop I’m going to focus on why Apple products and services look and work the way they do and what we can do to make our products and services more appealing.

Even if you aren’t (yet) a convert to Apple computers I’d wager the odds are next to zero that you or your children have not contributed to Apple’s coffers which, as of June 2011, had cash and cash equivalents around $76B (which is more than the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s cash balance!!). Even if there’s not an iPod in your family surely your son or daughter has downloaded music for their mp3 player from iTunes.

No instruction manual needed to do this; just your credit card number!

Let’s look at two devices that perform similar functions. The Microsoft Media Center Remote control and the Apple TV Remote Control. According to Microsoft their remote will allow you to Conveniently access your digital entertainment with one remote control. Enjoy the freedom to control your Windows Media Center PC from up to 20 feet away. The on-screen menus are specially designed for remote control interaction. Never miss a moment of your favorite programs—pause and rewind live TV, or record an entire TV episode, series, or category. Shuffle your entire music collection according to artist or genre. Tune in FM stations and even pause live radio. Browse, zoom, pan, or print your pictures by using the remote. Remote buttons glow in the dark for ease of use while watching TV in the dark.

Features and Benefits

• Friendly Media Center Menus

• Watch TV When and How You Want

• Manage Your Music

• Edit Your Digital Photos and Videos

• Backlit Buttons

The functions of the Apple TV Remote are pretty similar with the addition of the ability to rent digitally streamed movies without having to leave your home or decide what movie you want to want days in advance of actually watching it.

The REAL difference is the look, feel, and user interface.

The Apple Remote is sculpted aluminum and has 4 buttons. The Microsoft Remote is grey plastic and has 38 buttons. One is beautiful. The other looks like all the other non-descript remotes hanging around your home. You’ll need a manual to operate one, the other has no manual because its operation is intuitive: just pick it up, press the Menu button, and the on screen display makes it obvious what you need to do to get your desired result.

Apple TV Remove vs. Microsoft Media Player Remote

So why are these two devices with similar functions so different?

The answer goes back to Steve Job’s quote at the beginning of my Insider Scoop: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

It seems that so little thought was used to create the Microsoft Remote. Apparently it was not much more than “let’s copy what’s been done before because: it’s easy, people are familiar with it, and it get’s the job done. In the words of Steve Jobs: “The only problem with Microsoft is they have no taste. And I don’t mean mean that in a small way. I mean that in a big way.”

Apple’s approach is different: “Design is how it works.” Start with the experience of how it can work on an intuitive level and keep it simple. Remove unnecessary clutter. Work backwards from the “how” to get to the “what”.

In the aftermath of Steve Job’s recent death the fact that Steve had a long term relationship with a Zen Buddhist master has become more well known. It’s clear that Apple’s minimalist design aesthetic and simplicity of use under the purview of Jobs drew from Zen philosophy.

In the October issue of Phoenix Apartment Real Estate Deals I’ll focus on how we in real estate can use some of these ideas to market our wares that are so seemingly disparate from Apple’s.


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PS – If you are ready to begin to thrive again by getting off the sidelines and putting your money to work give me a call at 602-320-6200. I see lots of deals and may have just what you are looking for.

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