Real Life People Don’t Care About Apple’s Design Philosophy

I saw Apple’s Designed By Apple In California ad on TV yesterday.

When you have to explain your design philosophy to people, when you have to explain to them that your products are special because of how they make people feel, when you have to explain to people what they’re supposed to feel, instead of just letting people experience that feeling, then chances are something’s not going right.

I remember my first iPhone. Using it evoked a feeling of almost childish delight at discovering all its fantastic secrets. It’s going to be hard for Apple to continue to create products that convey that feeling. It’s going to be really, really hard.

People don’t care about Apple’s design philosophy, they just want great products that work and made them feel good. I don’t think this ad is going to help Apple win back its culture status. In fact, it might contribute to just the opposite.

Further reading:
Why This 14-Year-Old Apple Fanboy Switched To Android
Apple’s Awful Non-Apple TV Ads Were Awful [Update: new link]

Why The Hate For The Apple Genius Ads?

This entry was posted in Advertising, Apple, Culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Real Life People Don’t Care About Apple’s Design Philosophy

  1. mikecane says:

    I left Comments elsewhere about this ad. This ad debuted at the WWDC. It should have never left it. It’s good for rallying the troops, but when I saw it on TV it was so self-congratulatory as to be sickening. People point to the Misfits ad — but that ad celebrated *others*. This ad really celebrates *Apple*. And that just shouldn’t happen.

    As for iOS 7, the minimalistic sparseness of it might be coherent in terms of melding the slab design with what appears on the screen, but it also feels impoverished. But I’m saying this based on screensnaps, not having experienced it. Seeing it in person and using it might be different. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the general public.

    Since the death of Jobs, Apple has had one sour note after the other with its TV ads. Those annoying Genius ads, those WTF celebrity-Siri ads, and now this. I wonder if Chinua Achebe was fundamentally right: Things Fall Apart.

    • laura says:

      Thanks for pointing out something I felt but didn’t fully articulate: the self-congratulatory nature of the ad. You’re right; that just shouldn’t happen.

      • mikecane says:

        Seeing it on TV in the real world is different from seeing it on the Net. I can’t explain why, but it just is. That’s when I saw the self-congratulations in it.

  2. Your critique is right. If you have to explain, you’re missing the point and you’re not confident in what you’re offering. I miss the more fun oriented feature ads of the old Mac & PC days. In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy ads seem downright mean spirited and while they hit the high points of their features, they always feel nasty.

    I felt that “childish delight” you described when I switched from Windows to Mac and now have an iMac, MB Air and an aging iPad. Love the computers, think the iPad is just OK. I recently switched to an iPhone from Android and was very disapointed. On the one hand, everything now synchs seamlessly and that was what I was going for, but while the Android system felt rough, it was actually easier to pick up on.


  3. RicDay says:

    A little late to the party, but I agree with Mike – I first saw the ad in the WWDC stream and it “fit” that context, but it doesn’t work on public TV. Time for Apple and its agency to get back to basics: show apps in use.

    Towards the end of this ad they have the “a few great things” message which could in itself be the core of an ad series: we make these few great things and her is how they work together.

    Given two more-or-less equal options, I guess I will tend to purchase the one whose design I prefer, but features, functions, durability and usefulness all trump design. Years ago, I loved the design of B&O audio gear, but when I wanted a really good cassette deck I bought a seriously ugly Nakamichi because of what it could do for me (replaced an almost-as-ugly Revox open reel machine).

  4. Pingback: Does Apple Want My Money? And Other iBookstore Mysteries | The well-prepared mind

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