Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren for Macworld

Apple is at its best when it doesn’t know best

Inside of Apple are two wolves…

Okay, I’m only sort of kidding. But it’s true that there’s long been an internal conflict within the company that reaches into its very soul.

On the one side is that intrinsic philosophy, trotted out at many a keynote presentation, about how the company loves to surprise and delight its users. That’s embodied in way that Apple creates solutions to problems that users didn’t even know they had. And when it works, it’s truly incredible: Apple’s best products, like the iPhone and the original Mac, are direct end results of this kind of creativity.

But there’s a dark flip-side to this ideal for which Apple is no less well-known: the “Apple knows best” dogma. It’s often compounded with the company’s fixation on form over function, or with its practice of providing only one way to do something. It’s the side of Apple that seems to think that its products would be perfect, if only it didn’t have to deal with those pesky users all the time.

These two things exist on a continuum and Apple’s behavior over the years has often been pendulum-like, swinging back and forth between the extremes, while never totally abandoning either side. In recent years, there have been definite indications that the company has swung towards that platonic ideal of a product extreme, but if Apple’s latest products are any indication, the pendulum is now firmly heading in the opposite direction, once again bringing the surprise and delight.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

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