I was just about to email Paul Thurrott when I decided this rant was too long for an email and would be better suited to a blog post.
I just read his review of the iPod 3G and I have to agree
with him. It seems like Apple is running into a road block of, the iPod is a mature product, there really
isn't much more you can do to the device...
The best example I can
think of is cars. Besides offering better fuel efficiency or
more integrating luxury options, there really isn't much else you
can do to make four tires with four doors more appealing. Considering
cars depreciate instantly when you drive them off the lot (the same can be said about technology), it seems to me that it's a true money pit. Don't get me wrong, I own an iPod, but after I played music, explored the menu's, and acted like a teenager buying their first Starbucks Coffee, the novelty wore off and it went back into the box when the new ones came out. Much less exciting is iTunes (and obviously bloated), which I use because I'm stubborn and have become spoiled by Bonjour. Not to say iTunes is safe, there are many ways it can be improved.
I'm sure that Apple would debate both of us on this, but truth be
told, this new iPod it reminds me of Project Looking Glass. It was an attempt by Sun
to create an imersive 3Dish desktop. I think it's innovation for the
sake of innovation. Much like the Speech capabilities in the new
iPod. I get why, but do we really need it? Does it make the product
better? No, I think it makes it harder to use. I can see someone
being injured because they broke their concentration
and they went flying off the tread mill trying to figure out the correct press sequence to access a feature.
To drive this point home, I was watching a presentation from Mix09, called, "Ten Ways to ensure RIA Failure" by Anthony Franco, the link is here http://videos.visitmix.com/MIX09/C06F.
The part of the video I love is where Anthony highlights the "iPhone
Curse" at 15:20. He talks about how he gave his iPhone to his Mom and
asked her to make a call and she didn't know how. In all of the iPhone
ads, it shows someone using the device, so that when we pick one up, we
instantly start swiping, but she'd never seen an ad, so she had no idea
what to do.
In a way, Apple's design estetic, is their biggest curse. They
make things so easy to use, they are hard to use. I refuse to buy an
iPhone for this reason. I bought a Mac with the intention of trying it
out. I found it harder to use than a PC. Some things like
copy/pasting files are complicated, and don't make sense to me. Other things like, when you move a
folder and one already exists, Windows asks you to "merge' the two,
Apple asks you if you want to "replace", instinctively I clicked
"Replaced" and OSX wipped out half my music. So I installed boot camp
and went back. I had a friend argue that I need to "re-learn" how to
do all this stuff on a Mac. I said, No, why? When you decide to buy a
different car, do you need to relean how to drive, no, you use the skills you already know and drive away.
I hope this post didn't loose focus or direction. I get really upset when people think that everything Apple does is genius. They are a great company and have transformed the telecom industry, which is as backwards as 1890, but before we add features because we can, we need to take a look and ask our selves should we.