We knew this was coming

The last keynote Steve Jobs hosted, he looked thin. Like scary-thin. Knife thin. Turn to the side and vanish thin. iPhone thin. Had enough? Moving on...

He just didn't look well. I feel sad that he's gone. My best friend emailed me and for a few minutes I enjoyed my husband's blissful ignorance before I told him.

In the 90's I used to wonder why computers were that awful "putty" color. You would have your big ol' desktop or tower, a clunky monitor and matching keyboard and it was a big ol' pile of fug. And I used to wonder why it didn't look better? In college I used some shiny purple gift wrap from a present (I don't even remember who gave it to me) and I fashioned a frame for my clunker monitor. It was an attempt. Colored appliances were still unheard of. Later, when I tried to explain this to my husband, he said "Who cares what it looks like! It's just a computer!"

Not to Apple. These fascinated me. I wanted to make the switch, but my husband was hesitant. Then when we finally switched, (in this case, the iPod was the Gateway drug, and an Apple store employee admitted that all of the smaller devices are gateway drugs for the iMacs and MacBooks) it was "Why didn't we do this sooner?" This is what most people say after switching. After, my husband would marvel at the tight packaging and the design. And how well everything worked together. No more "Who cares what it looks like!" No more "it's JUST a computer."

Then the iPhone came out. We watched the keynote for that too. No one knew what it would look like. There were all kinds of drawings. Would there be a plastic keypad? A stylus? It was hard to imagine a smart phone without these things. They seemed necessary. Now they seem kind of silly. And now, people complain that the newest iPhone is a letdown. At some point you do something so well, people reach unrealistic expectations. It's like they totally forgot -- just a few years ago people did not love their phones.

If you have it in your house, it should be nice to look at. If you're going to spend a lot on it, it should be easy to use and you should love it. This all seems obvious, but so many techie companies completely missed the mark. One guy got it, and figured out how to design products with the obvious in mind.

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