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: Hmmm
by kaiwai on Sat 16th Oct 2010 03:21 UTC in reply to "Hmmm"
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I wonder how can he hold up shipment of the iPhone because of color mismatches, yet not only ship but *design* them with antennas that are in electrical contact with the user's body...

It only happens in certain situations; I'd put money on it the issue was raised but the conclusion was that the number of people who would handle the phone like a gorilla would be few in number. Something Steve needs to understand, there are a lot of gorillas out there who like man handling everything they touch.

I won't deny he's doing something right, and his company is a refreshing break from the cheap commodity mentality that is consumer electronics (and at least somewhat justifies the price premium), but I guess his meticulous, visionary attention to detail only comes into play in areas he has expertise in.

Apple wasn't the only one who did this; years ago before the debasement of technology as a race to the bottom there were companies who would spend time on fit and finish. Companies who realised that yes, having a fast computer is great but what about the feel of the computer and the operating system, the way in which expansions were designed and fit into the main computer.

The problem is we have people on this very forum who want NZ$700 computers but then whine when it doesn't operate like a NZ$2300 MacBook Pro or a Sony Vaio. You get what you're willing to pay for - there is a price you pay if you want something that is above the 'race to the bottom' quality that Dell, Acer, Toshiba and HP/Compaq have indulged in. But even with Sony they're at the mercy of Microsoft, where Microsoft's quality fortunes go so will theirs.

I've always been a fan of the vertically integrated model where the computer vendor owns the operating system itself. I've stated several times that if a big OEM embraced *BSD, built a great GUI and framework on top, created a set of home grown applications in house to bundle with the computer, got third parties on board with a great set of development tools, they would be able to carve out a niche where they can keep all the value in house rather than losing 1/3 of it to Microsoft each time a computer is shipped.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sat 16th Oct 2010 06:24 in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:

In my opinion, this feeling that engineering both hardware and software makes the product better is totally wrong in the case of desktop/laptop. I rather see it as an error : when people dislike Mac hardware, they ditch Mac software as well, while the latter is arguably much more well-done. It's just a profit loss.

There's really nothing wrong with computer hardware nowadays (well, except the overheating Acers), except if you want something *really* exotic and useless like a touchscreen to be duck-taped on it.

The sole thing that goes currently wrong in the PC market is that after both HW and SW are manufactured, HW manufacturers are in charge of putting those together and put loads of crap in software. For this to change, the OS manufacturer must be very clear : installing anything but drivers voids the hw manufacturer's right of selling the OS. They make hardware, software is not their realm.

Most of the other problems we have with our computers daily rather come from OS legacy, poor OS design decisions, and bad OS-software vendor interaction. It's this, in my opinion, that needs to be fixed... And it's the realm of software, not hardware.

Edited 2010-10-16 06:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 12:34 in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:

In my opinion, this feeling that engineering both hardware and software makes the product better is totally wrong in the case of desktop/laptop.

I beg to differ.

Have a look at smartphones (they've become somehow the equivalent of the PC's of the 19xx in the 20xx era). Put something new like a compass in a phone and *poof* - new innovative software is written to the benefit of end users.

It's more difficult to get end user innovations without a vertical model i. e. a clear vision of a feature that consists of HW to support it and software to use it.

HW vendors have no real incentive for innovation without software vendors (which means primarily Microsoft) supporting new features properly.

I even think that the PC industry somewhat (not entirely) relies on vertical integrated vendors such as Apple as a driver or accelerator for progress (others like the game industry influence HW performance). We've all seen what happened to the adoption of things like USB, web cams or DVI out on laptops, etc. when vendors such as Apple start to push such technologies. It doesn't mean that Apple always succeeds (think FireWire), but it's one major first step for certain HW to gain traction.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by aliquis on Sat 16th Oct 2010 17:43 in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
aliquis Member since:

What a complete bullshit. I wanted to say this even to the post above.

I've got a Macbook Pro, and it suck. End of story.

Sure laptops in general probably suck much more than desktops, and even more so than workstations. I'd still assume an IBM Thinkpad would had been much better.

And atleast I definitely didn't got what I paid for. How the fuck can someone say that about any Apple product? Unless you think "paying for brand" matters.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat 16th Oct 2010 18:24 in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:

isn't that exactly what Apple has done?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by alcibiades on Sun 17th Oct 2010 08:23 in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
alcibiades Member since:

kaiwai, this is terminally confused about the way the PC market and industry is.

All PC vendors are packaging from a small range of standard components. You have three or four hard drive makers, all of whose products connect to other components identically. You have two graphics card vendors. Half a dozen main board suppliers, and only two processor vendors. Memory, there is more, but one memory chip is also exactly like another in terms of connectivity.

The only differentiation in the OS between Apple, Windows and Linux is Apple's attempts to restrict what their OS will install on. Otherwise, in how it relates to hardware, there is no difference. There could not be, if you think about it, because the hardware is identical. There is no more difference between a given Mac and a given Dell in terms of hardware than there is between two different Dells or a Dell and an HP. They are using slightly different selections from the same set of hardware components.

The cases are very different. But I don't suppose even the most fanatical Apple adherents maintain that what really makes the famous Apple quality is integration between the OS and the case?

This whole thing is a complete nonsense. What we have here is an OS which is slightly different but no better than the alternatives, being deliberately crippled in terms of what it can run on, and then used as the differentiator in a designer brand.

Its all about branding. It has nothing to do with engineering or design or integration or the rest of this stuff. It belongs to the history of marketing, not design or engineering. One has to say that as such, its brilliant. But that is all it is.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 11:59 in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:

The only differentiation in the OS between Apple, Windows and Linux is Apple's attempts to restrict what their OS will install on. Otherwise, in how it relates to hardware, there is no difference.

Strange. There is e. g. a huge difference in HW usability, though. I've never seen a Dell having something like target disk mode. Do HPs come with EFI? Why has DVI output been a standard on even the cheapest Mac laptops for years while HP's still used VGA, etc. etc.

I see Apple's HW design choices (and yes: even if the number of suppliers of components is limited, there's still such a thing as a HW design) less a restriction than a set of choices that affects their software. It's part of the platform they build on. E. g. iChat (AV) is a SW that directly relies on the availability of a cam on every Apple laptop. Even something trivial as sound output - I've never had a Mac with lousy sound output while the HP I have to use at work - even though it has a distinct sound card - has horrible sound quality.

Do you want to know why HP even bothered to put a sound chip in the PC? Easy - there are still way to much idiots that think a spec sheet tells the whole story. And that's why some people come to the wrong conclusion that it doesn't matter if you buy HP, Dell, Apple, IBM or whatever.
However, consumer thinks otherwise ..,7...

Reply Parent Score: 2