Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Perfect Thing

1. The first element of the design process is knowing what you are about to design. In Anthony Fadell's case, "the job was to put together an MP3 music player that would work with Apple's existing iTunes application and would not suck." The next element of any design process is the trials involved in bringing a product as close to perfection as possible. The article goes on to describe such trials in designing a Macintosh computer. Beginning with an extremely large, expensive machine with no hard drive in 1984, Apple went through trial after trial to come up with a computer "half the size of a shoebox. Fadell's trials for the iPod, were, of course, different. His first trial was a device that did not come with a hard drive; instead, it had a "big slot" for one, and the consumer would have had to supply their own. His next trial device had its own memory, but the memory would be wiped clean every time the battery died, and this clearly would not work, seeing as the purpose of this product was to be a portable music player, and no one wants to carry around a portable power source. Through all the trials, however, one feature stood out: the scroll wheel. The idea of the scroll wheel solved the time-consuming "plus and minus buttons" on the already-existing MP3 players.
Then came the process of perfection. Details such as whether or not to have a power button were worked out, and then came ideas such as making the revolutionary product multi-lingual.
Thus, with the brilliance of Steve Jobs and his team, the first wave of the world-famous iPod hit the shelves.

2. In order to evaluate a "perfect thing," some different factors need to be taken into consideration:
  • Appearance. Appearance of a product is the first thing a consumer will notice. Look and style are important. If a consumer can easily see the product in their great grandmother's house, it is probably not visually up to date.
  • Convenience. How would the product fit into and work with the demands of everyday life? The convenient iPod we know would probably not be nearly as successful if it were the size of a laptop.
  • Efficiency and Durability. The product has to do its job, and do its job well. Constant breakdowns are an obvious consumer turn-off.
  • Cost. The price of the product is essential. No one is going to pay $1000 dollars for an mp3 player.
3. I currently own an iPod Touch. I can definitely say that it has more strengths than weaknesses. In my opinion, the most apparent strength is the design of the touch screen. The iPod Touch is the first iPod in which the screen dominates the device, and this sleek touch screen boasts a visually pleasing, modern look and organization that grants the user easy access to any of the useful functions such as music, iTunes, contacts, photos, and so much more.
One nagging weakness, however, is the battery life. Over the time I have owned my iPod touch, the battery life seems to weaken after every re-charge, and this obviously is not too convenient for someone who is usually on the go. Despite this flaw, however, the many features and strengths of the iPod have won Apple my loyalty for good.

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