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mac's customer experience: is it freedom, or discipline? apple's secret sauce

What is it that has given the Mac such a great rep? Is it really easier to use? And if the Mac is easier to use, does that come at a price?

On the Windows side, some may argue that Apple doesn't make a serious computer with serious software (except for niche needs such as - ahem - creative work). And it is possible that Apple's pursuit of simplicity may mean its software has fewer features at times. 

But I think what Apple excels at is very simple - and hard to do: Keeping the platform powerful, with visibly wonderful output, but balancing that power against a disciplined approach to consistency and great, great, great information architecture. 

I use Macs and Windows systems all the time. My conclusion is that the culture among Windows programmers is to pile on features, and the culture among Mac programmers is to clarify and simplify. 

In the end, though, is it Mac's simplicity that makes it so lovable? No. Not at all. A simple process is not memorable. What do people remember about their experience with their Mac? The clue is in the preceding paragraphs. 

Reader Comments (3)

Hi Paul! Thanks for asking. I bought a MacBook back in April, very unexpectedly, after my Sony Vaio crashed. It was actually cheaper than a new Vaio and I thought I'd give it a try. I realized that if I needed to work on my website, I would have to install Windows and use the Apple "Boot Camp" application. I went to the Genius Bar and they did help me, but, as it turns out, I mainly use the Windows side of the MacBook because it is so much easier and more useful for me. I feel kind of guilty for now using the Mac side but it just doesn't make sense for my work, it takes too long to get from one thing to another. I can't multi-task as easily.

Kind of weird??

September 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchantdoc

If it works for you, then that's fine ... although you might want to take another approach in which you can experiment with some of Mac's unique apps (iWork and iLife). There are also other apps that let you use Windows and OS X simultaneously, which would assist in the A/B comparison. If you do that, I think you'd be a perfect person (given your Windows background) to answer the question: what is it about the Mac? Simplicity? Or something else?

September 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterPaul K. Ward

So, to provide more clues about Apple's secret sauce, I offer two words:

1. Leverage
2. Desire

September 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterPaul K. Ward

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