Its been a design crazy week, but here is some more food for thought. This great quote found by the folks at influx demonstrates an important & growing facet of design.
"As we're spending more and more time with digital products, User Interface is becoming one of the most important areas of design, but it's also one of the trickiest to judge. When user interface design is good, it's hassle-free and we don't have to think about it; but when it's bad, it can make our lives hell." -Alice Rawsthorn-IHT
Looking specifically at Apple, why do we love their products? What sets them apart? The iPhone isn't going to be the best phone on the market by any means. Its not even 3G. What is it beyond the oooooh and ahh factor, that contributes to its success as a brand and in culture? It's not the sleek design, but really the interface. The ipod may look good, but really the way it allowed us to store music, access it, and download it made it so simple and easy. This is what powered the digital music changeover. The iPod revolution wasn't about the design and shape of the player, as it was how it changed our behaviors. Look at how many mp3 players are out there and subsequently released since the iPod; more memory, smaller design, pocket-friendly. Yet none can knock the king off its perch, because it almost always comes down to how you access your data. Apple computers certainly look gorgeous, but thats never sole reason for purchase. People love the UI and how simple it is..
Just look at this Chinese iPhone knock-off. It looks nearly identical, but does anything think it can outsell the iPhone?
So it seems we may say we love how it looks, but really we love we use the bugger. Proactively designing to their future habits is truly the future of design. And Apple does a damn good job playing to our future.