Every now and then I’m required to address my Windows PC friends and Android smartphone friends to explain how both Mac and iPhone are superior to the dregs they use each day. But it’s like religion. Some get it. Some don’t.
Through the years I’ve searched for a more concise way to describe the differences between Apple’s products and competing products. Obviously, with hundreds of million of very satisfied customers there must be one ingredient that differentiates the platforms. I think I have it– in one word.
It’s All About Usability
When you think about what we ask our Macs, iPhones, and iPads to do (or, put differently, what we tell them to do if you happen to be a type-A alpha dawg personality) differs from person to person, but it can all be summed up in the word usability.
Generally speaking, Macs, iPhones, and iPads are more usable than Windows PCs, Linux PCs, Android or Windows Phone smartphones and tablets. I mean, come on, Microsoft puts full-on Windows on a tablet, so how easy is what should be a simple device to use when it runs Windows?
There’s documented proof that Apple’s devices are used more than their troublesome brethren. Mac usage online, and the number of apps Mac users buy and use, is substantially higher than the average PC user. The gap grows significantly with iPhone and iPad usage, which often dwarfs similar usage by Android-based device users.
In short, a Mac gets used more than a PC. An iPhone gets used more than a Samsung Galaxy S-whatever. And iPads get used far more than all other tablet devices combined, despite smaller marketshare. Why are Apple’s devices used more than competitor devices? The reasons are many and varied and somewhat obvious.
First of all, Apple’s customers– hundreds of millions of them– usually are better educated, and make considered decisions as to which device to buy. Those same customer exercise more effort to get the devices to do more. Hence, Apple’s customers purchase and use more applications than competing platforms.
Second, Apple’s approach to usability is to exercise discipline, provide user functions which actually do something worthwhile for the user, and not just bolt on or tack on every feature an engineer or designer can imagine. That excess breeds complexity which begets confusion. In general, OS X and iOS are easier to use than their Windows and Android counterparts, so, they get used more frequently and for a broader range of applications.
The customer experience and usability are tied together like Ben & Jerry’s or Trump and hubris. Statistics through the years point out that Apple’s usability share is far greater than each product’s overall market share. If ‘build it and they will come’ is a real thing, then Apple’s approach to ‘build it right and they will use it’ is just as real.
Usability! It’s what makes people not hate you!