Those of you that know me may be surprised that until Friday I had never visited an Apple store. In my household, I have an Iphone, two Ipods, an Ipad, and an Imac. I have gone from a Windows Fanboy to an unabashed Apple Fanboy in a relatively short period of time. I remember trying to defend my position with my brother and trying to rail against the closed architecture of Apple and their technology. I had thought that somehow by using an Apple, I would be going to live in Eastern Europe and my basic computing freedoms would be compromised.
Then slowly and device by device, Apple technology won a place in my heart.
Music was always my first love. (Even before the Green Bay Packers) I must have had 3 or 4 different MP3 players. Each one was better than the last as far as their quality, capacity, and computer integration. But I must admit they were all pretty dodgy when it came to organizing and synchronizing my music library.
I then bought my first Ipod and I remember the feeling that I encountered was that this is how all music players should be. It was simple, elegant, and refined. I remember thinking that it wasn’t intuitive. Not at all. That was because I had been used to working with devices that did not emphasize elegance and simplicity. I remember trying to figure out where the off switch was on the Ipod. I mean what kind of device doesn’t have an off switch?
And then within a few hours, I felt that same feeling I get after I use all Apple products – “why aren’t all devices this easy to use?”
From the Ipod to Imac to Ipad, the same feeling was realized. These are truly beautiful devices in every sense of the word.
I especially like this definition of beautiful:
“Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sense of sight.”
Very rarely, if at all, have I come across technology that fulfils this definition of beautiful that isn’t made by Apple. Most technology serves a utilitarian purpose, but it really isn’t beautiful. I mean, I love SQL Server 2012 and the things I can do with it, but it isn’t beautiful.
My trip to the Apple store again showed me the beauty of Apple
The store itself is a treat for the senses. Bright and busy, but not too noisy. I easily found the new keyboard and mouse I needed and then it wasn’t intuitive where I should go to pay. Why? Because I was thinking within the patterns that poorly designed stores and business had foisted upon me for many years. When I found one of the many helpful staff and asked where I went to pay, he politely said right here. He proceeded to ring up my purchase on his phone and send a bill to both my email and printed a hard copy of the receipt on the spot.
Paid in 10 seconds. From where ever in the store I happened to be. I was stunned.
Why aren’t all stores like this? This was awesome. Instead of forcing people to line up in queues and wait, people came to you.
This was beautiful. Probably the most beautiful retail experience I have ever had.
OK, I was suitably impressed and went home anxious to use my new keyboard and mouse. The mouse was wireless and didn’t have any roller ball or wheel to scroll up and down pages while browsing. Pretty cool, but nothing beautiful.
Then I was browsing later and I accidentally swiped left and right while browsing.
AND I WENT BACKWARD AND FORWARD THROUGH A HISTORY OF THE PAGES I HAD BROWSED!
I honestly think I sat there and stared for a minute. This was a truly beautiful mouse. No longer did I need to click the back and forth buttons on the browser, 99% of all browsing actions could be done with my mouse.
Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Why weren’t all mice like this?
It reminded me of the feature Microsoft had in Vista that allowed you to flip through the applications. But while Microsoft seems to go for cool things, Apple goes for beautiful things. Cool is temporary, beautiful is lasting. Cool is what I want to show others, beautiful is what I wish I had created. Cool is something I want to have, beautiful is something I’ve always needed.
I must admit that it will take a lot to move me from my Apple technology to other manufacturers.
Other manufacturers are copying Apple in many ways, but while they are making copies that are pretty, they still have not come close to a technology which I would consider truly beautiful.
Now if you excuse me, I need to go browse the net. 🙂