It was the Mac’s problems that nearly caused Apple’s early demise in the mid-1990s. If Microsoft still owns nearly 90-percent of the personal computing world, why isn’t Apple dead already? What did Apple do better than other computer companies?
The Mac Became The iPhone And iPad
What made the Mac special? The graphical user interface? Probably not. Even Windows and Linux are point and click. Apple made sure the Mac OS got out of the way while we worked and played.
The essence of the Mac as we know it is usability. Maybe the Mac just works, but where it has really shined through the years is in usability. The Mac is easier to use for nearly every task.
Apple didn’t wither away and die because there were enough Mac customers to keep the company afloat until the next great thing came along. After all, the Mac didn’t reach the current level of prominence until the iPhone was launched.
Apple’s claim to fame has been to create products that users actually want to use; whether software, Macs, or iPods. That’s what Apple does best.
The essence of the Mac, that personal usability, has been successfully transferred into the iPhone and iPad. Both devices are instantly usable in ways not easily replicated, and certainly not exceeded, in Android OS, or Microsoft mobile devices.
That’s the secret to Apple’s success, that Mac-like usability, and it’s been embedded into the company’s entire line of products, from iPod, to iPhone, to iPad.
Likewise, Apple’s renowned ecosystem of services and apps, perform with singular purpose. Usability. iCloud does what it does, but out of the way, almost unseen, to store files, sync files between devices.
Apple made it Mac-like easy to buy music on iTunes (still easier than any online store, despite the long list of products Apple tries to sell). The iPod was the easiest to use portable media player.
The iPhone was the smartest smart phone, not because it did more, but because it was instantly usable. No stylus. No iPhone for Dummies book. All you needed was a finger and navigation became a joy, not a pain.
Somewhere deep within Apple’s organization chart are a few individuals charged with interface design. Despite a few hiccups, burps, and blemishes, OS X and iOS remain the most usable of operating systems on computing devices.
Apple has managed to extend the essence of the Mac– that user friendly usability– into new devices that evoke similar emotions and loyalty.
What of Google’s Android OS, or Microsoft’s Windows (RT or Metro interface)? They, too, evoke their respective companies and reflect previous products, and fall short of Apple’s famed usability.
It’s already a stated fact that Android OS users don’t use their devices to the same degree as iPhone and iPad users. Microsoft’s new Windows Phone interface, those floating and flipping tiles, is different, but not better than what iPhone and iPad users consider to be the standard of mobile device interface design.
As Google, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, and even Samsung have learned, that personal usability, that essence is not easily copied into other devices.