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MacBytes
Jul 21, 2004, 09:43 PM
Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: GUI now too complex (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040721224317)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

iKenny
Jul 21, 2004, 09:59 PM
I really have to disagree with Mr. Bell on this issue. He states that "Apple should get out of general-purpose computing" and instead go with multimedia creation, where its strengths lie. However, I think it has been shown on numerous occasions that Apple's strengths lie not only in multimedia creation but in understanding how people want to interact with a computer. I can do so much with my Mac easily and quickly despite the large number of files on it.

Also, he says that he thinks Microsoft has it right, using search technology to interact instead of files and folders. So what's Spotlight then?

Thirdly, he talks about communication and how since everyone just wants to communicate now, it works best with just one company's solution. So why can a Mac still communicate better with other Macs and sometimes with other PCs than a PC can? I think they get along pretty well at this point.

I think Apple's low market share cannot be attributed to its products at all. If anything, it's that they're so far ahead of their time and/or so easy to use that they scare people. The real problem is a business problem. Love him for his design, but Steve isn't a great businessman. Advertise OS X and I think it would really help, but that's just my opinion.

nagromme
Jul 21, 2004, 11:05 PM
The real problem is that DOS was the business standard, and Windows inherited that. Being first was more profitable than coming along later and doing it right (Mac vs. DOS).

rjwill246
Jul 21, 2004, 11:14 PM
I really have to disagree with Mr. Bell on this issue. The real problem is a business problem. Love him for his design, but Steve isn't a great businessman. Advertise OS X and I think it would really help, but that's just my opinion.

You are spot on. Apple just doesn't seem to want to tell its story! It is hard to understand this because lesser companies with ******* products scream from every television set day after day about how good their products are. Apple says nothing about its computers or OS. I just hired two nurses for our office- they are both going to switch. They had no idea how easy it was to use a Mac. Expose blew them away.
Apple really has let its faithful and shareholders down very badly by its inaction... it is very sad indeed when MS which, IMO, has made only one product with any value (Office- and even THAT is far from stunning) rides the waves and Apple appears to be lost somewhere under the curl! Steve may be brilliant- and I am an admirer- but his anti-business sense (or plain lack of empathy for the corporate world) has done Apple no good at all. Thank heavens for the adventurous companies that have supported the Mac and its OS so vigoroulsy recently- but it's no thanks to Apple that the company is being supported so well by the military and the universities etc.
Apple's deafening silence on the virtues of their staple products is simply unfathomable.

dizastor
Jul 21, 2004, 11:20 PM
I think half of the people on this forum (myself included) would go jump out in front of a bus if Apple decided to stop producing multi-functional computers.

And for the sake of our own well being, I say we band together and throw this columnist in front of a bus.

jsw
Jul 21, 2004, 11:22 PM
You are spot on.

Agreed. Business 101: market your product!

iMeowbot
Jul 22, 2004, 12:01 AM
I really have to disagree with Mr. Bell on this issue. He states that "Apple should get out of general-purpose computing" and instead go with multimedia creation, where its strengths lie. However, I think it has been shown on numerous occasions that Apple's strengths lie not only in multimedia creation but in understanding how people want to interact with a computer. I can do so much with my Mac easily and quickly despite the large number of files on it.
Notice that the interview was with Don Norman, who has spent a great deal of time finding bad things to say about Apple's products since he was squeezed out during the NeXT takeover. He was one of Apple's driving forces in failing to adopt a modern operating system for so many years. He then went to HP where he freely admits to have accomplished nothing, before retreating to academia. (Plenty of academics do produce, but it's a good place to coast too.)

His buddies are Jakob Nielsen and Bruce Tognazzini, two more "usability experts" with lots to say and little of substance to show for it.

On Longhorn, MS have been attempting that database thing for years and years. One well-publicized failed attempt to do it was called Cairo. The only big difference with Longhorn is that is uses a different database engine and XML. There's nothing magic about XML, it's just markup, really nothing more than a verbose version of exactly what MS currently do in the Windows registry.

In real life, the only reason a global search might work now where it wouldn't a decade ago is that computers are orders of magnitude faster and have gobs more storage -- not user interface but raw machinery.

rikers_mailbox
Jul 22, 2004, 12:24 AM
The real problem is that DOS was the business standard, and Windows inherited that. Being first was more profitable than coming along later and doing it right (Mac vs. DOS).

Good point. Windows and other Microsoft products (office suite, entourage, etc,) have always been designed for, and used by businesses. The fact that people started using computers at home was for work, not entertainment. MS lucked out being first on the scene.

If internet content/access continues to become prelevant in the business environment, and the personal computer is more useful and fun for the average consumer, then what happens? MS certainly hasn't been designing an iLife-equivalent product, and DOS may become a minority in an increasing number of UNIX/Linux/OS X machines running the business networks of the world.

What's great about Apple, and more specifically Macs, is that they are largely compatable with MS standards. That is, they can communicate and share with them easily. Can the same be said about Windows? MS does not find it necessary to supprt Apple protocals because they control marketshare. If Apple can secure a large and growing marketshare (because remember! its fun and easy to use a Mac), then MS may regret this.

The current download audio codec battle is a perfect analogy to this. If Apple/AAC proves to be the preferred format and MS is *still* too stubborn to support it, they may drive themselves out of the download and audio-device market entirely!

(exhale) Ok, done. Did you follow?

iMeowbot
Jul 22, 2004, 12:56 AM
If internet content/access continues to become prelevant in the business environment, and the personal computer is more useful and fun for the average consumer, then what happens? MS certainly hasn't been designing an iLife-equivalent product, and DOS may become a minority in an increasing number of UNIX/Linux/OS X machines running the business networks of the world.
That's more or less consistent with Jobs' view of the world, expressed in this Wired interview (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.02/jobs_pr.html) from right before NeXT was merged into Apple.

iMeowbot
Jul 22, 2004, 01:36 AM
Agreed. Business 101: market your product!
They are marketing it, just using slightly unusual methods. As noted in the quarterly conference call, the crossover from music to computers appears to be taking effect.

Promoting too hard might be a big mistake right now, they still have work to do on supply chain competency and know it, as demonstrated by the recent reorganization. It's a good thing if growth is kept to a manageable level until production can be sorted out, overly rapid growth could easily send quality down the crapper.

rikers_mailbox
Jul 22, 2004, 02:42 AM
That's more or less consistent with Jobs' view of the world, expressed in this Wired interview (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.02/jobs_pr.html) from right before NeXT was merged into Apple.

That was the best article I ever read.

GaelDesign
Jul 22, 2004, 04:03 AM
Whoa, that Steve Jobs article was amazing. He was dead-on on just about everything that's happened in the past 8 years. It's amazing that he was talking about how Java on the client-side is stupid in 1996, and soon after Java started to migrate to the server. And we're all using object-oriented server programming. Scary how Jobs knew it all along. And the comments about Microsoft owning the Web if it doesn't stay simple are very true -- the more complex the Web gets, the more market share MS grabs. Thank God for open standards and the Linux movement to keep MS at bay.

The one funny thing about that article is Jobs' pessimism regarding desktop computers. I guess he needed to take over Apple and reinvent the company to get excited about that market again. And now with the iPod, Jobs really has "changed the World" in a profound way. It must feel good. :)

Jared

matthew24
Jul 22, 2004, 05:22 AM
He is right, lets get rid of the Registry- and DLL-hell, so let's dump Windows.

billyboy
Jul 22, 2004, 07:47 AM
It is easy to sell your product, but hard to sell it in line with what you can supply. If 30 million people suddenly decided to switch, Apple would be suffocated by the back orders and end up worse off than before. Gently gently does it. iPod production will be cranking up and iup as prices come down, but to have got iPod marketing worldwide into full swing straight away would have done Apple more long term damage than good.

shamino
Jul 22, 2004, 01:48 PM
This guy's a trip. If you boil down all the fluff, this is his argument:

The GUI is too complicated for today's computers
Apple has a GUI
Therefore Apple should get out of the market and give it all to Microsoft

What he ignores (and is hoping you will too) is that Microsoft also has a GUI. And one that's much more complicated than Apple's

If GUI's are too complicated for Apple, then they're too complicated for MS.

And if MS can come up with a better solution, what makes him think nobody else will be able to?

Or, for that matter, does he realize that Apple has already demonstrated the very technology (universal fast searching) that MS thinks will save Windows? And that Apple will ship it two years earlier (1st half 2005, as opposed to some unknown time post-2007)?

I'm sure he knows this, but since he's working for Microsoft, he won't say anything, in the hopes that you, the reader, don't find out.

sjk
Jul 22, 2004, 07:04 PM
It is easy to sell your product, but hard to sell it in line with what you can supply. If 30 million people suddenly decided to switch, Apple would be suffocated by the back orders and end up worse off than before. Gently gently does it.Not to mention the support nightmare they'd have on their hands.

iMeowbot
Jul 22, 2004, 08:31 PM
Or, for that matter, does he realize that Apple has already demonstrated the very technology (universal fast searching) that MS thinks will save Windows? And that Apple will ship it two years earlier (1st half 2005, as opposed to some unknown time post-2007)?
To put this into perspective: this was the "interface guru" for Apple from 1993 to 1997. Copland, anyone?