Apple and the Design Experience

I have been accused of being an Apple Fanboy.  I  admit to owning a number of 'i-things', but nothing like this: 25 Signs That You Might Be An Apple Fanboy.  I do not have an Apple tattoo, no Mac-couch, or any of the items on this list. I am guilty of enjoying Apple products. 
What is the big deal with Apple anyway? I am sure that everyone has an opinion on this. There is not much middle ground: they seem to be loved or hated. 
Apple is brilliant at using design
to provide an amazing customer experience.  It is not just about the product. The experience is managed at every touch-point. Customer service, packaging, product, iTunes ... it is all part of the experience that we call Apple. 
I have been reading, Do You Matter?: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company by Brunner, Emery and Hall (Sponsored link). The authors made the following observation:

We think that mostpeople are prone to define design, particularly good design, more narrowly than they should. When you see an iconic product, such as an iPhone, for instance, [...] it's so easy to overlook the big picture of how the product fits into the company's future - and the future of similar products in general. We want you to consider a far broader view of the significance of design.

Speaking of product design, the authors wrote that:

The difference between a great product and a merely good product is that a great product embodies an idea that people can understand and learn about - an idea that grows in the minds, one they emotionally engage with.

Can a product, and a company, be successful based on design alone? Not necessarily.  The author pints to the "total concept - how the product operates, how it sounds, and how it feels." Does it resonate with customers? That is what is special: you experience Apple. 

If you want to look at an interesting case study, consider the Motorola Razr. Clearly this was a popular phone. Was Motorola able to use this to sustained the success they enjoyed from the early success? They tried to migrate the Razr 'looks' to next generation of devices, but they never really understood this: Design, as the author points out, establishes the relationship between your company and your customer.

I highly recommend this book.  It should be read by every engineer, marketer, and business person. As for Apple - that's your call.  I love my i-things.


Photo: By multisanti