THE ‘AUGMENTED’ REALITY OF A LEGEND
Apple had already made a case for ‘good design is good business’ several years back. Gratitude! But with every launch of a new product from Apple now, world is getting divided into two- those who believe Apple is still a ‘buy’ and those who don’t care. Interesting stuff is unfolding. Here is my take on recent unveiling of #iPhoneX and the Series 3 watch ‘cellular’. I have not used these products so far, but I do use other Apple products:
a. Great Storytelling: First things first- you look at the launch film from Apple, in the voice of its chief designer — Jonathan Ive, you know that in the art of storytelling through technology-product styling-manufacturing finesse- and of course, the brand mantra, Apple is still the king. No one zooms into the lyrical-visual-details of a manufactured product as they do, with pride.
b. No Design Thinking?: As the world is talking of making everyone a disruptive innovation thinker through Design Thinking — Apple has missed the bus. Knowingly? Probably in the fork of ‘Design Thinking v/s Design Doing’, they just chose the latter (to stay differentiated from commoditized DT). But it has not worked. The ‘new’, is not convincingly so.
c. The New Analyst — The Designer: In this new age, market ‘analysts’ are talking of the phone features, from the ‘Users’ perspective. Shouldn’t there be some take from the designers? The whole world is talking about the onset of ‘Experience Economy’, UX (User-Experience design) has become a new sought after role in the design fraternity. Where are their voices? This signals a whole new opportunity for designers to be sitting in those chairs as market analysts (for consumer product companies?)
d. Missing the icon: When the whole world pressed a button, ‘the touch’ was revolutionary and desirable. Removing the head-phone jack from the phone was divided between ‘bold’ and ‘whimsical’. Now removing ‘home’ icon/button from the screen should probably not even find mention in a product launch by a company of the stature of Apple. It does, because the much awaited innovation from the new 5 billion USD campus now rests on these little additions!!
e. Front-end of Tech is in the East: The legendary Apple watch goes cellular now. Innovation? Indians are buying Chinese made, metal cased, SIM enabled watches for less than USD 20 (fathom several hundreds of dollars for the series 3, with whatever finesse and ‘complete -ecosystem’ you can). And these have been around for at least a few years. Front end of the consumer tech is shifting to the East. Perfection is still the pitch with the West. But in the age of VUCA, should we care of perfection?
f. Tech v/s Feature: Facial recognition, Augmented reality, Artificial intelligence etc. are not ‘Features’. They are ‘technologies’ that will keep evolving and becoming better for several decades. One visit to Bangalore and and every IT company worth its shareholders money, is claiming expertise in these areas. There must be some leeway open to the future possibilities then to bind them into ‘a’ feature.