“Two luminaries – chairmen of Apple and Microsoft – make keynotes this week, in a highly anticipated standoff between the Consumer Electronics Show and Macworld. While analysts, bloggers and reporters will debate different strategies in operating systems (Leopard vs. Vista), entertainment (iTV vs. Home Server, Media Center and Windows Live), digital media (iLife vs. Windows Ultimate Extras and Windows Live), music (iPod vs. Zune) or mobiles (iPhone vs. Windows Mobile), I will focus on the men’s personalities and the companies’ different approaches to the events. The contrasts in style and substance will be important in making sense out of the companies’ announcements.”
Gates & Jobs: Substance vs. Style
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2007-01-09 2:49 amjayson.knight
“Yes, Microsoft also sent “free” laptops to bloggers to get positive Vista reviews, Apple doesn’t need to. 😉 ”
Dude, that story is soooo last week…it’s time to move on. The rest of the tech world has.
The contrast in style I find so interesting is Apple brand’s perceived freshness, coolness and openness. There’s presumption that Mac OS X is more open than Windows or that iTunes/iPod offers so much choice. But is that perception real?
One could argue (and rightfully so) that OSX is a better OS overall than Windows, but I’m not really sure that it and iPods offer more choice. What I think Jobs has instilled in the Mac crowd is “What does it look like?” and/or “What color is it?” as opposed to “How much functionality does it have?” And that’s fine if you’re deathly afraid of beige boxes. But unfortunately, this kind of insanity has found its way outside of the Apple cult, which is the reason why Vista ships with the goofy-ass UI that it does, and the reasn why game consoles and other gadgets can get away with sporting ‘removabe faceplates’ as a feature, as if anybody should really give a shit.
2007-01-09 1:15 amrayiner
There are a number of points you fail to consider:
1) Human beings like things that look nice. Aesthetics is a subject that has been studied nearly as long as people have been studying things. Addressing the aesthetic qualities of a device is a very real and necessary concern. Even a techno-file can appreciate this fact: there are many elements of aesthetics that are actually integrated into our brains, and designing products to evoke those programmed reactions is a very concrete goal.
2) The iPod’s style goes hand-in-hand with its usability. That circular wheel that’s at the center of every iPod (and the Zune, btw), isn’t just an elegant design feature, but a damn efficient way of scrolling through lists of items. The aesthetically-pleasing button-layout of the iPod (wheel with four-clickable areas plus a clickable center) means that you can navigate the interface with a minimal range of thumb motion, and without looking at what you’re pressing.
3) Most everybody appreciates better aesthetics, all else being equal, but nearly everyone considers functionality they don’t use to be bloat. A fundamental design principle of pretty much everything is that every feature should carry its own weight. In most devices that have a ton of functionality, most features do not carry their own weight.
2007-01-09 5:45 amre_re
>1) Human beings like things that look nice. Aesthetics is a subject that has been studied nearly as long as people have been studying things. Addressing the aesthetic qualities of a device is a very real and necessary concern. Even a techno-file can appreciate this fact: there are many elements of aesthetics that are actually integrated into our brains, and designing products to evoke those programmed reactions is a very concrete goal.<
I am posting this from within vista right now and while the asthetics are nice, I hate to say it, but everything else sucks as far as the overall user experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about the underpinnings, but simply about the overall experience that a vista user will have.
I don’t mind learning new things, and anything computer related comes very easy to me, but there is just so much in vista that makes no sense to me. for example: the way the menu’s are constructed and how the control pannel is set up, how everything goes black when you install a program like something critical has happened (which it has) but it doesn’t even make you type in a password to install software…….. just click ok. It is a very obtrusive opperating system, it makes you work hard to do things that should be easy (and a pain in the ass).
it took me an hour to get a realtec 8139 network card to work…… the most common frickin NIC known to man and it didn’t work out of the box, I don’t understand that.
i think the interface is very nice and the under the hood changes are great, but as far as end user experience it is a big step backwards from windows xp pro.
so yeah….the asthetics are nice, but most everything else sucks imo.
i must also add that i use osx, linux, bsd, and windows and am quite experienced with all of them. IMO, osx is a much nicer os then vista (not based on style as the title would suggest, but on simple usability). i also prefer linux and bsd (and xp) to vista, but that is somewhat irrelevant because i do not feel they are in direct competition on most fronts.
Edited 2007-01-09 05:53
2007-01-09 6:35 amDuffman
What I think Jobs has instilled in the Mac crowd is “What does it look like?” and/or “What color is it?” as opposed to “How much functionality does it have?”
And you are wrong. Steve Jobs in an interview said:
“design is not about how it looks, it is about how it works”
So the opposite of what you said, but nice try.
Im guessing that the keynotes is the origin of the jobs reality distortion field.
Bill gates keynotes are similar to what i expect a keynote from the other steve of apple fame to be like…
Hell, i have a video of jobs doing a next add. His abilitity to spin the ability to have mail attachment icons appear in the text itself as the next big thing is interesting and scary at the same time.
Kinda makes me think of the comparison between being at one of hitler speeches and reading them in the paper the next day.
Jobs is one big example of “force of personality” in action…
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2007-01-09 1:34 amdrynwhyl
> Kinda makes me think of the comparison between being at
> one of hitler speeches and reading them in the paper
> the next day.
> Jobs is one big example of “force of personality” in
Actually he doesnt impress nobody else with his alleged “force of personality”, than his already existing few fanatic followers, who then salivate in public. Just like Hitler wouldnt have impressed anybody with his moronic speeches, but those idiots who already were nazis.
Edited 2007-01-09 01:36
Just because someone is more boring than another does not mean they are more substantial.
There was substance there? We lead, yadda yadda, convergence, blah blah, WTF.
It was incredible how insubstantial it really was, especially that nonsense about the black out for “proprietary technology” on the Home Server product… are you kidding me? It was shown to the people in attendance and specs were everywhere this morning so what was the point of that?
I watched it and it wasn’t to bad, a little boring in parts but that happens.
The one ridiculous thing was while they were showing an HP commercial they halted the stream. They put up something about respecting someones intellectual property :S.
I detest Gates but at least he’s never scammed investors and driven his company down the toilet. I suggest some of you read a history of NeXT. Not a pretty picture at all.
I don’t think anyone would say a Unix server is lacking substance, so why is OS X any different? I would even argue that Aqua provides a richer experience than anything Microsoft has produced. Nearly everything in OS X is scriptable.
One of my complaints with Windows is just how shallow its interface is. You don’t get style or substance.
Since 1984 it has worked like this:
1) Apple does something innovative.
2) Msft claims that will have the same thing only *so* much better.
3) Msft product release gets pushed back, and pushed back some more. All the while msft is stripping features from their promised product.
4) Msft’s crippled product is finally released to gushing praise from msft shills – er, I mean the tech-pop-media.
2007-01-09 5:39 amronaldst
And Mac style bottoms out to…
1) A session of reality distortion.
2) Empty wallet from buying Product that is white and plastic. You REALLY NEED IT. Because it completes your life.
3) Makes you feel good hugging junk that’s the same in all the other competing products. Impacts your life greatly.
4) Criticizing competing product citing bad taste while using a product that’s equally in bad in taste.
5) goto 1)
1) Jobs generates excitement at events through exciting products
2) Gates generates excitement at events by paying people to be cheerleaders at events
This was actually a poorly written story and not worth reading. There should be a way to mod a story down.
…on the subject of this not being “news”.
Gates has substance? That’s news to me!
First off I admit I’m a mac fan.
Personally I thought that Job’s keynote was a step too far, usually his keynote is about interesting features in a range of products, the 2007 keynote just felt like one god darn long iPhone advert to me.
Sure I wanna know about the iPhones features but I don’t want to sit through 1.5 hours of pure advertising hoping for details of other products (10.5, ilife 07, more on iTV, the new airport extreme etc.
And my nomination for most boring story of the year go to – that story!
Gates will be viewed as concentrating on substance while Jobs will shown to lean more towards style.
Possibly a story on whether Steve Jobs’ black turtle neck shirt could be compared to a mock black turtle neck design. Oh, the pros and cons of discussion are endless on this point.
From the article:
“Compare and contrast:
Gates met with bloggers today, while Jobs traditionally limits accessibility to select press, typical broadcast.”
Yes, Microsoft also sent “free” laptops to bloggers to get positive Vista reviews, Apple doesn’t need to. 😉
“Microsoft is fairly open with analysts, partners and press about its announcements, while Apple keeps everything secret until Jobs’ does the unveiling.”
Yes, Microsoft loves to announce vaporware and use non-existant products to make the *shipping* competition look bad. When Apple announces something, the last phrase of the announcement is (usually) “Shipping: Now.”
“Microsoft will stream Gates CES keynote live, while Apple will provide a canned stream hours following the Macworld keynote.”
The CES keynote was *not* live, it was delayed over half an hour…