Q&A: What Makes Apple and Its Products Tick?

Author: Jim Lundy                        Date: February 15, 2012

Topics: Workplace       Research Note Number: 2012-2

Issues: What are the technologies and architectures that enterprises should leverage in the workplace?

What are the best practices for enabling a high productivity work environment?

Summary:  Apple has been on a surge lately. People say they enjoy using Apple products. There seems to be a consistent pattern of behavior among Apple devices. We answer some common questions to help explain the Apple phenomenon.

The comeback of Apple has surprised many people. Kids today know Apple products better than they know Microsoft. In fact, small children understand gesture-based computing (common on Apple mobile devices) better than their parents. Apple has succeeded because it has built an ecosystem that makes computing easier and, some say, more fun. We answer some questions about Apple.

1. People often say that Apple devices are fun and easy to use. What’s this all about?

When it comes to the device and the operating system, the design philosophy is different at Apple. It comes out in the behavior of the OS and how it interacts with the user. Apple has been gradually designing the operating systems of its devices to perform their duties in a reliable and consistent way, to stay in the background, and to let end users focus on their tasks.

Apple is extending this philosophy to embrace a very strong task focus. The Apple iPad is a device that effectively performs valuable functions in a smooth and intuitive way, with great consistency from one application to another. With iBooks and the focus on education, Apple has extended this approach with an explicit focus on creating a better user experience around a specific need, in this case, textbooks for learning.

Simple things like easily attaching to a wireless network in a reliable and intuitive way let users get to work quickly. Other features that users praise include great power management and wake-up capabilities.

This consistency and reliably often give users a better experience with Apple products than they have with other types of systems. Users often report “delight” with the OS itself. It lets them discover their capabilities gradually. The basic functionality is there and as users go deeper, they find it easy to learn how to do more.

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