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Friday, August 17, 2007

iCon

Recently, I've been working with a lot of Mac lovers at my workplace. They're passionately loyal to Apple products. It tickles me to find anyone so passionate about certain things. In this world of a million options and cheaper alternatives, I believe it takes something special to inspire brand loyalty. And looking at an iMac, I can easily see how it captures the imagination!

I like to look behind a success story and figure out how/why it happened. This is true of both people and products. Lots of times, people only see the finished end product and go, "Oh, they had it easy" or "Oh, that's intuitive enough. Nothing new". I think the real interesting success story lies in the making of a product/person. And if you look closely enough, you'll find a piece of the person in the products that they create.
I was curious about Steve Jobs. So I picked up "iCon: The Second Greatest Act in The History of Business", a biography of Steve Jobs and started reading it.

First off, this was a good read unlike some other biographies. It doesn't bore you with unrelated stories and vague statements. It is simple, straightforward and dishes out criticism as well as credit. It amazed me that for someone who talks a lot about karma & philosophy, Jobs sometimes can be ridiculously silly! :) Goes to show that genius in one field doesn't mean any kind of maturity in general. Sure enough, when you read through Jobs' life story, you see some elements of his character in Apple products -- for instance, the austere simplicity of Apple applications or the easy aesthetics of the UI.

Whether you love Apple or not, it is definitely an inspiring read about a man who changed three industries -- computers, music and movies. In the book, Jobs makes it clear that his final ambition would be to overtake and defeat his main competitor -- Bill Gates. Almost all his moves in the computer market have been toward making Apple a viable alternative to Windows boxes. And I have to say that he's getting closer.

I am a hardcore Windows user and I don't have many complaints against it. But I was simply blown away by the Mac recently. I got a HD camcorder recently. It came with Sony's crappy bundled software, Picture Motion Browser. Windows MP doesn't support the AVCHD format for HD movies and I had to use PMB. And by golly, was it crappy! Frames were dropped, the picture was grainy and Windows kept crashing with some strange error. On the other hand, I plugged in the Camcorder on a Mac and the experience was a lot different. Mac automatically opened up iMovie, imported the movies and played it back impeccably! The quality and user experience were simply too smooth. I loved it and am seriously considering buying a Mac for various other reasons.

Anyways, I just had to rant about this on a Friday..:) And this is my response to RS' book tag a while back. Go read iCon.






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9 comments:

Gopinath Sundharam said...

Yeah, I agree. It takes a while to come out of MS products and OS, but once you are hooked into Mac, there is no turning back. It is like a huge magnet. :) Even though I have Dell-MS as my laptop, I use couple of Mac's at my work and I'm really addicted. I recently switched my phone plan to Cingular just to get iPhone - you get the point... :)

Kishan said...

Go ahead and get ur imac. I recently bought a macbook and I love it. I have been windows user like you for ages, although I don't have any complaints against windows, I never felt the urge to play with my laptop everytime I see it until I got the macbook.

u might face some problems if u are into trying out the beta applications...as most of them are made for windows...

prabukarthik said...

Not too long ago people thought,
'Design and business needs are different'. Now they realise 'Design is the business'

Products which are attractive are often perceived as more user friendly. This is not to suggest you can have crappy interaction with beautiful look and feel.
Just take a look at the irctc website. Just look at the skin. And see whats your initial impression.
If only you have used this site sometime back. you will know what i am talking about.

Donald Norman has written a book(EMOTIONAL DESIGN) on this subject.

The key thing about Jobs is that he is not trying to be consistent.
Most of the top guys try to be consistent and run the company entirely for Q1,Q2,Q3 Q4 results.
Eventually they just end up being consistently mediocre.

RS said...

I have a feeling if Kamal reads this post, he'll go and buy a Mac to set up our home office :) I need to lay off fiction for a while and start reading these sorta books!

Anonymous said...

I haven't used a mac but it's my guess anything will be better than what MS offers the way windows is (mis)behaving now..
I love Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford! :) Did ya check it out?
-viji

i-am-the-legend said...

truly speaking, i have not come across the iMac. but the way u have explained it has given me an interest towards it. i'm very much impressed about Apple's other product. so surely i hope this will also impress me!

DufusMaximus said...

Not to disagree with your post, but
(a) Camcorders do firewire, typically, which is an Apple protocol, so should work best on Apple. I'm sure browsing to Samba shares on Macs wouldn't be a pleasant experience either.
(b) Looking at the pricing, Macs are like BMWs, where Windows are like Hondas/Toyotas. Whichever works for your range.

IBH said...

hey subha..how are u long time it is....update ur blog :)

Anonymous said...

Is there an intended pun on "iCon", cleverly masking it with the whole 'i'mac theme?

rc.