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stanman64

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 9, 2010
755
756
I happened to stumble across this old quote from Steve Jobs today:

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."


What are your thoughts on this quote and Apple's current situation/outlook?


IMO: I cannot say I am innocent from leaving a comment or two about Apple's "downgrade." I believe Apple has more areas of potential improvement now than they have had in a while, but I am not sure I agree that they are nosediving.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,871
35,337
Boston
What are your thoughts on this quote and Apple's current situation/outlook?
If you look at Apple's history, its been a rarity that they opted to be on the cutting edge of product development.

With the exception of the Apple I, II and some other products, they've mostly taken an established product and improved it in a way that really resonated with the public.

For instance, the iPod, music players were around well before the iPod. Some had hard drives, others had displays. It was apple that astutely put it together and rolled out a great product.

The iPhone, same thing, there were smartphones out for years.

The iPad, MS was trying for years to get the tablet market off the ground, it took apple.

So my point here, is that Jobs was an excellent visionary who saw products not being utilized to their fullest potential. I think that vision is now missing from Apple. All I see now is apple looking to make their existing product lines thinner, so thin that the cameras now protrude from the body of a phone. I seriously doubt that Jobs would have green lighted an iPhone with its camera sticking out - we'll never know but that's my opinion.

I don't think apple is going through a nose dive, but they don't seem to be as nimble and quick to react as they used too - a side effect of their growth and popularity, I guess.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Penryn
Nov 30, 2013
25,926
14,219
Gotta be in it to win it
I happened to stumble across this old quote from Steve Jobs today:

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."


What are your thoughts on this quote and Apple's current situation/outlook?


IMO: I cannot say I am innocent from leaving a comment or two about Apple's "downgrade." I believe Apple has more areas of potential improvement now than they have had in a while, but I am not sure I agree that they are nosediving.
Reading it reminded me of all the yogi Berra isms like; "it's Deja's vu all over again".
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,674
2,092
Australia, Perth
I happened to stumble across this old quote from Steve Jobs today:

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."


What are your thoughts on this quote and Apple's current situation/outlook?

I agree... It's hard to please us... When u add something to products, we just keep asking for more.

I guess the other way you could look at it is, well "since Apple is a closed eco-system, even more we'll won't listen to our customers either" and you either like it, or go elsewhere. period...

Somehow, i think Apple would loose even more customers that way. Looks doubtful.. its defiantly not impossible based how how the company controls things anyway other any other.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,396
857
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Here is that quote in its actual context: http://www.inc.com/magazine/19890401/5602.html

It still applies to today's tech world and Apple seems to still be following the idea - Which I think is OK. I don't think they're nose diving either.

Where do great products come from?

I think really great products come from melding two points of view—the technology point of view and the customer point of view. You need both. You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new. It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them—not something they'd want now.

You mean the technology is changing too fast.

Yeah, and customers can't anticipate what the technology can do. They won't ask for things that they think are impossible. But the technology may be ahead of them. If you happen to mention something, they'll say, "Of course, I'll take that. Do you mean I can have that, too?" It sounds logical to ask customers what they want and then give it to them. But they rarely wind up getting what they really want that way.

It's got to be equally dangerous to focus too much on the technology.

Oh, sure. You can get into just as much trouble by going into the technology lab and asking your engineers, "OK, what can you do for me today?" That rarely leads to a product that customers want or to one that you're very proud of building when you get done. You have to merge these points of view, and you have to do it in an interactive way over a period of time—which doesn't mean a week. It takes a long time to pull out of customers what they really want, and it takes a long time to pull out of technology what it can really give.

What do you mean?

It's hard to explain. Sometimes the technology just doesn't want to show you what it can do. You have to keep pushing on it and asking the engineers over and over again to explain why we can't do this or that—until you truly understand it. A lot of times, something you ask for will add too much cost to the final product. Then an engineer might say casually, "Well, it's too bad you want A, which costs $1,000, instead of B, which is kind of related to A. Because I can do B for just 50¢." And B is just as good as A. It takes time to work through that process—to find breakthroughs but not wind up with a computer no one can afford.
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,435
797
How this for an idea ...

1) make Mac computers that allow for upgrades. Stop the solder in crap.
2) try making a front end to their routers that have two settings - standard (as is) and advanced (missing)
3) fix iTunes so it is not the bloated convoluted piece of work that it is now. People enjoyed using it before.
4) If you are going to get rid of the Mac Pro and replace it with a Mac Mini Pro then say so. Also provide more BTO options.
5) Fix the damn IOS for iPhones to allow more customizing. People with poor vision don't want to look at 4pt and smaller.
6) Acknowledge the gamers and consider at least one laptop and Mini to meet this HUGE market.
7) Dump Thunder Bolt on anything but the Mac Pro and go uniform with USB-C plus USB3.
8) Pay the damn licensing for HD audio and stop screwing the customer with DVD quality audio rather than Blue Ray level.
9) Either sell an "ATV" software for the lower end Mini to make it a turbo ATV or offer an upper tier ATV that competes.
10) Stop the damn form over function crap. We can have both.
 
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Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,408
2,744
Jobs was an excellent visionary who saw products not being utilized to their fullest potential. I think that vision is now missing from Apple. All I see now is apple looking to make their existing product lines thinner, so thin that the cameras now protrude from the body of a phone. I seriously doubt that Jobs would have green lighted an iPhone with its camera sticking out - we'll never know but that's my opinion.
They're already starting to try to capitalize on new things: smart watches, automated cars, and VR are a few. We already have the Watch, we know Apple has been hiring smart-car engineers, and we've even seen the occasional leak on Apple's VR headsets (which is a tech that has actually been around since the 80s-90s, and an idea for way longer, but never really started taking off until the Occulus came around recently.)
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,674
2,092
Australia, Perth
I happened to stumble across this old quote from Steve Jobs today:

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."


What are your thoughts on this quote and Apple's current situation/outlook?


IMO: I cannot say I am innocent from leaving a comment or two about Apple's "downgrade." I believe Apple has more areas of potential improvement now than they have had in a while, but I am not sure I agree that they are nosediving.

Agree with this.... But by the same token, customers will still not be satisfied.

It's tough to please everyone

Your right, they have nose dived.
 
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