thorfinn: <user name="seedy_girl"> and <user name="thorfinn"> (Default)
[personal profile] thorfinn
Hi. I keep seeing a lot of "Apple are stupid" comments going around the place.

Don't get me wrong - there are certainly a lot of rabid and stupid Apple fans out there. But there are a lot of rabid stupid Google fans, or Microsoft fans, or Linux fans out there too. There's plenty of stupid to go around for everyone, and it's not magically unique to Apple.

This "Apple is stupid" meme seems to primarily be based around the idea that Apple's latest product release doesn't have some common feature that "everyone else has", and therefore they must be stupid.

The lack of certain common features in a variety of their products is not stupid on Apple's part. It's an absolutely crystal clear, conscious, heavily researched, deliberate, end user tried and tested decision to keep the feature set and number of options down to a useful minimum.

The simple reason for that is that they do not wish to present the average consumer and user with choice paralysis. Most normal people open up a common application or system options dialog box and go, "argh, what the hell do I have to tweak, I see six million options none of which are what I care about?"

That's what Apple are avoiding. If you open up an Apple product, the odds are you'll be able to figure out how to use its basic functions without needing to read a manual or search for instructions. Contrast that with my latest recently work acquired Nokia phone, where I, a hardcore geek who has owned several Nokia phones, had to open the manual to figure out where the power button was.

This difference is precisely because they're willing to cut features that "everyone else has" when they are reasonably certain those features are not actually a common use case, and particularly so when there is some alternative method to get to that use case that isn't too bad.

Yes, that means that you (and me, and everyone) probably have some pet desired feature or features that don't exist in Apple Product Du Jour.

You know what? That's fine with me. And if you don't like the featureset offered by a particular product, nobody is making you buy it. There are plenty of options elsewhere.

That kind of gap is also what the third party software market exists to fill - whether it's the hundreds of thousands of apps on the iOS app store, or a similar volume of mac freeware and shareware apps, or the vast volumes of Windows and Linux applications out there, etc.

I don't know any geeks using any operating system who don't immediately go and install a bunch of third party stuff to make things go the way they want to. And the set of stuff they install? All different for each of them. Doesn't matter what OS you're using, everybody does that.

Essentially, the fact that some product doesn't have some features you desire doesn't make it stupid. If you need those features, then just get them elsewhere, don't complain that product is stupid, when those features are available from somewhere else.

So can we stop calling Apple (and anyone that happens to use their stuff) stupid now?


ETA: I totally don't mind if you call Apple annoying for what they're doing. That might even be true. Stupid is just not factual.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-29 09:33 (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I'd go as far as saying that not to include cut&paste in the first-gen iPhone probably was not the most-well-thought-out UI decision in the world. Stupid? Can't comment, it may have been that it was left out for an actual, sane, reason rather than "who'd want to cut&paste?".

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-29 11:42 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Perfectly well thought out. The only reason they've added it, frankly, is because of the degree to which it became a common way of poking fun. The iPhone UI is actually worse now, for the addition of it.

Which is to say, for most common user tasks c&p is unnecessary. It's an edge case, which they consciously lost from functionality in order to get an optimized usage path on touch screen use. Which has been compromised in the current incarnation, but such is life.

What's funny to me is that Thorf provides discussion around exactly this point in his original post, but still people feel the need to jump in and say "Hur hur! Cut and Paste!" - which simply illustrates that there's a huge portion of the audience who can't differentiate between features and usability.

Whereas the market can (and does) - people tend to prefer the more usable approach. The funny thing is, they're unable to articulate why they prefer it - which leads to people calling them "stupid" and "zealot" - whereas they're actually simply pleased with a computer that works in a way they understand.


(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-29 13:55 (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I have (limited) cut & paste in my mobile. I am actually trying to remember a mobile phone I've had in the last 10 years that didn't have it and can't remember a single one. They did the Rather Neat "look for anything that looks like a phone number, provide a contextual menu to add it to Contacts, to Dial or to the Destination field of a new text message" on all received text messages and is a PERFECT use-case for something similar to cut&paste. Those phones have been (in order) some random Nokia (a 6150, I think), an Ericsson (an R320s, I am pretty sure) and my current winmob monster.

Not having used an iPhone (no, really, never), I can't tell you if it had something similar, but from the frustration iPhone users near me expressed, it didn't provide even this.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-29 22:32 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Okay, this is hilarious. You're saying you've never used the phone, have no hands on experience with the UI and usability, and still feel it's necessary to point out that Apple is thinking things like "Who'd want cut and paste?" and that these are borderline stupid.

Uh huh.

See, not only is this an excellent model of *exactly* the kind of thinking Thorf is countering, it's just weird to me that you feel the need to comment on such things despite having no useful experience. You're just repeating what you've heard at that point, and it's that sort of echo chamber effect that results in the public perception that C&P was a problem. When in fact, it's not.

Oh, btw - the iPhone does provide everything you've listed above (contextual understanding on numbers and web addresses wherever they fall) and yes, that's the perfect use case.

Out of curiosity - what makes you feel compelled to post on a thread like this?


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