Friday, April 02, 2010

Simplicity is the simple answer

You hear a lot about the iPad these days. I am getting mine tomorrow and I will bring it on the road with me, so I will know more soon.

For now, let me comment on one simple thing: simplicity.

Apple is a master at making things simple. I know if you are a geek you do not like it. You like complexity. Sense of power. Ability to be root. Emacs is a dream, with its easy-to-guess Control-x Control-c command to exit the application.

But if you are like the rest of them (I am a geek), they don't. I know, I know, the usual example of my mother is boring. But she is using a computer today and she is scared of it. And if you married a geek, good for you (I did, but she is not into computers). Most of them did not marry a geek. And their spouse do not like computers. Our kids look at technology and devices as tools. They do not need to go deep, they just want them to work (until they grow up and become geeks too).

Geeks do not get simplicity. But the vast majority of users just do.

Let me give you an example. Instructions on the Google site on how to add a Gmail shortcut on the homepage of your smartphone.
On Android devices:
1. In the browser, go to Gmail (be sure you've signed in)
2. Press your device's < Menu > button
3. Select More
4. Select Bookmark page and select OK
5. Press your device's < Home > button, then press the < Menu > button
6. Select Add > Shortcut > Bookmark
7. Find 'Gmail' and select it
8. A new Gmail icon appears on your home screen

On iPhone devices:
1. In Safari, go to Gmail (be sure you've signed in)
2. Tap the + at the bottom of the screen
3. Select Add to Home Screen
4. Tap Add to confirm
5. A new Gmail icon appears on your home screen
Can you notice a difference? I do. And it is for Gmail - a Google product - on Android - a Google product.

Why will people like the iPad? It is simple.