Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Oct 2010 20:54 UTC
Apple Is it an indication of Steve Jobs' (in)famous strive for perfection, or just stupid bone-headedness? The white variant of the iPhone 4 was first delayed for a few weeks, but those few weeks became 'end of the year'. Now we know why: the manufacturers Apple employs are apparently having issues matching the shades of white of the various components. This anecdote ties in nicely with a very interesting interview with John Sculley about Steve Jobs' ways of doing business.
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RE: Akio Morita
by galvanash on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:27 UTC in reply to "Akio Morita"
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I think the difference that arises with Job's approach is that by starting with a design and forcing engineers to come up with ways to implement it faithfully, he can often get results from the engineers that they initially thought were not possible... You tend to approach a problem differently when you know the end result is defined in stone (i.e. it has to work exactly like this) and no amount of arguing on your part is going to change it.

I'm not saying this is a better approach in all instances, but when it does lead to an engineering breakthrough it is usually partly responsible for the products success. For example, the "wheel" of the original iPod is often sited as the main point of differentiation between it and its competitors - and it worked remarkably well and took ages for competitors to create a decent knock-off. It also reportedly took Apple engineers ages to get right too... A compromise on that may have lead to a product quicker, it may even have been a good product, but it wasn't the same product that was originally envisioned - and if an iPod used rocker buttons for navigation it wouldn't have been much different from any other mp3 player...

As the article states, Apple doesn't make a lot of products - their success partly relies on them being able to make a product that their competitors can't duplicate easily - and if they do manage to duplicate it they can't quite get it "right". Imho that is directly attributable to the no-compromise-on-design approach they take.

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