Take a look at this Android OS update chart for comparison — the iPhone 3G was released just over 3 years ago, and now has been dropped for OS updates and support. They’re still functional, just not with the new iOS. By comparison, the Google Nexus One is no longer supported for the OS updates, and it was released just last year! The full chart is a sad story, I for one own an use an android handset, it’s a paltry UX with fragmented app store, little or no documentation for what my version of android (and flavour, for that matter) offers and how I might upgrade should I choose to. I recall an old line from Steve Jobs on Android (a little off topic now), about how Android forced the user to solve these small problems themselves, and that Apple felt the best user experience would be reached by Apple taking the role of systems integrator.
I’m all for it. As a user — I want to forget more and focus on the things I care about. Getting my work done, getting in contact with loved ones, keeping my things in order — the usual things. Which mix of hardware/software am I on? With Android I have no idea! The tools at my disposal are so poorly designed it almost doesn’t even matter.
I came across this post on Binary Bonsai earlier today, mainly focussing on Microsoft Office’s new Vision video (see below). Michael’s response is fairly gentle, nudging MS and noting how far from reality the future visioning tends to be
The latest is the Productivity Future Vision from the Office division, which like all their videos, looks great (and probably would interact horrible in a real-world scenario):
I suspect these videos are made not only by outside agencies (if you know different, let me know), but entirely by graphic designers who dream about interaction design, but never had to realize their ideas in the real world.
I’m feeling much less generous when looking at this finely crafted, shiny vision piece. It’s clear that MS has an eye to the future potential of technologies like touch, tablets and the ‘big data’, but it’s so far removed from the reality of what they’re actually producing. Frank mentioned to me the other day something that’s worth noting here — Apple doesn’t create concept videos for future products. They don’t make ambitious future vision style images of the future — they just make great products that people can use today. The magic of it is that these products push us a great deal towards a different future, but they don’t bother trying to impress us with their vision, rather they do everything possible to impress us with what their vision has lead them to create.
It’s a world apart, the two approaches. Shut up and ship, Microsoft. If this is the future, create it. We’ll love you for it, but not if you never bother following through with this vision.
On another note, I have to say the similarities between this vision and the amazing work BERG London have been producing in the last few years is striking. Here’s a few BERG visioning pieces that have, in my view, been quite influential in shaping the future of products and interaction. Well done, lads.
Our simple vision at Intel, is that we’re going to add a billion people to the internet by 2015. Going from 1.5 bn to 2.5 bn people. So you take that, combined with those 15 bn devices [predicted to be connected to the internet by 2015] and our vision is basically to connect everyone to everything, and that’s before you even talk about machine to machine.
Kirk Skaugen, head of Intel’s Architecture Group @ Web 2.0
From where you currently read, look around. How many systems are? supporting and intersecting the place you are? How many are visible, and interestingly, invisible?
What grammar do we have for them? How many ways to measure them? And as for the invisible ones, how many? ways to view them? The physicality of the motion of these?systems, and in turn their physical inefficiency, is impressively ?inaccessible. Meanwhile, we’ve grown accustomed to? inaccessible process taking place all around us.
Supporting and intersecting the place you are. Take a look around, how many invisible systems supported this reading experience?
As usual, Apple’s approach to introducing new-ish technology is to highlight it acting as a human enabler. Vision impairment? Here’s the thing for you;
There’s lots of hype (both positive and negative) on the web about Siri, about how it’s an amazing new interface type and how that changes the way we interact with technology. Of course, there are nay-sayers who would rightly point out that it’s old technology and Apple are claiming to break new ground where others have already been. Nevertheless, I’m curious to see it in action (youtube videos aside), especially in helping to connect humans to each other, in new, simplified and transparent ways.
This video posted by Ben Bashford made me smile, and gave me reason to track down another, more recent version, from the IT crowd. Enjoy!
Is not about saying yes. It’s about saying no. It’s about deciding what not to do, which parts of the universe you’re going to leave alone right now. Focus can change, it inevitably must. To have no focus, to chase every opportunity indiscriminately – to have no true yardstick by which you can say for certain that which you are not – is easy. But it’s critical, to your identity, to your character, to your story. Without focus, you’re lost.
It’s the old frontier that actually presents the most interesting opportunities, because the shine has worn off. This is your platform for real innovation, innovation in a place or a market or a situation that truly is ready for it.
- Seth Godin
One might also add this image, to give some context. The year is 2011, the hype is fading/growing/plateauing and we all want to shape a better world. Where does the next wave of innovation lie? Our friends Russell and BERG might suggest the next lived innovations will come from technologies which have faded from view, at the bottom of the trough of disillusionment. I think this is easily apparent in the technology sphere, and it’s influence in society of all kinds. When we’re having conversations with government about how to deliver quality customer experience, we’re amazed and suspicious and excited all at once. It’s for certain the first steps down a long path toward genuine, open, transparent engagement (with of course, all of the necessary Chinese walls and private design space needed to actually create something, not just have it designed by committee). When we know more, dear friends, you will too.
So cogent, so clear. Steve Jobs at the 1997 WWDC closing Q&A session.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology. you can’t start with the technology, and try to figure out where you’re going to sell it. When we came up with a strategy and a vision for apple, it started with — what incredible benefits can we give to the customer? I think that’s the right path.
User experience at the core of any new idea. And there’s more.
There is so much more headroom to make the networked world we live in so much more productive, so much easier, and so much more fun than it is now. That we know how to do, it’s not research, we know how to do this. To bet on the next 5 years on the results of research [Steve's talking about voice recognition and agent based software], to bet our next 5 years on research would be foolish. So the core of our strategy is to take advantage of the dramatic headroom to make this connected world so much more productive for the rest of us.
The post-PC era is characterized by an explosion of ideas and application of new talent to software. It’s an era of immediate gratification and painless, one click distribution. App production is a cottage industry not something entrusted to only a few experts or those who can raise venture capital. It allows the small to distribute widely and get a shot at stardom. It has been (thankfully) avoided by enterprise buyers. The result is an explosion of apps: well over half a million new apps have been built in three years on three platforms that did not exist three years ago.
Horace Dediu on the multi-platform future technology landscape.