The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

It’s Not What You Can Create, But Why You Are Creating It …
October 23, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Apple are copping a lot of shit at the moment.

If you read the press, you’d think they were Blackberry rather than one of the most influential – and profitable – companies on earth.

Sure, things may not be as progressive as they once were, but then innovation tends to slow down when a category becomes more mature.

Now I know what you’re thinking …

“But Samsung are continually bringing out new features and functions”

… and I’d be forced to agree with you …. however I recently read an interview with Jonathan Ive and Craig Federighi that, for me, had a lovely perspective on how they view the whole ‘innovation race’.

“It’s not just about new features, but also the deep layers of integration that goes into each one. There are so many problems that have to be solved to enable one big idea. We don’t start with 10 bits of technology that we try to find a use for so we can add them to our features list”.

OK, so you could argue that it’s in their interests to say that, but then Federighi added something that I think gets to the crux of the matter:

“New is easy. Right is hard.”

I love that. I utterly love that.

I also think it’s a good definition of what’s wrong with adland.

In our quest to look interesting or relevant [mainly to our peers], we tend to chase new when what we should be looking for, is right.

Of course, ‘right’ is relative – and in no way am I suggesting we should stop looking for ways to continually push boundaries and possibilities – however one of the reasons business continually questions adlands value is because we often give the impression we’re more focused on doing stuff that makes our peers stand up and applaud rather than creating stuff that inspires and encourages society to act in ways that have genuine commercial value for our clients.

In other words, whereas so many focus on trying to be cool, the truly influential are obsessed with creating clever because – as the guys at Apple say – anyone can do new, it’s doing – and executing – what’s right, that’s right.

27 Comments so far
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This is the best post you’ve ever written.

Comment by Bazza

He’s after freebies.

Comment by John

thats like saying your ipad air is the best fucking tablet ever.

oh you are. proves my fucking point perfectly.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m not talking to you. I’ve literally just got a new Mac Book Pro and then you launch another one. Good job the difference between mine and the ‘latest and greatest’ is basically nothing more than a lick of paint.

Oooooh, I’m such a bitch.

Comment by Rob

i have some constructive criticism for you campbell. thats not being a bitch. thats being a soft planning twat. id show you what being a real fucking bitch is but i want a mac pro though the tight fucker hasnt even given me some fucking batteries for my fucking mouse yet.

Comment by andy@cynic

Excellent post Rob. I don’t know if new is actually so easy (compared to hype for example), but the point being made is a good one.

Interesting you published this post just hours after Apple launched their iPad air.

Comment by Pete

@Baz I really like your cylindrical Mac Pro. The “all American” badge is an additional nice touch. Sentimentality as a product attribute. A new sort of innovation.

Comment by Pete

nerd passive aggressiveness. like normal passive aggressiveness just fucking pathetic.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s a good point Pete … though I could argue ‘new’ is as much in the eye of the observer, as the creator.

That said, especially when you filter it against the amount of stuff people [read: adland] say is new when it isn’t, your view can’t be discounted. [As if it ever would]

Comment by Rob

of course you fucking like it campbell, its the sort of reframing bollocks you wet your girly panties over. at least its a fucking good reframing and not the shit other fuckers say like “we arent an advertising company, were a communication solution provider”. twats.

shame apple go and fucking spoil it launching a couple of ipads that show all the thoughtfulness of a bloke buying his wife a birthday present from a petrol station fucking forecourt.

dont cry baz, i do like the mac pro bomb thing. you can send me 5 of those.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with the point being made in this post, I just wonder if it would have the same impact on me if someone from Nokia had said it. Sadly I don’t think it would.
Despite working for a competitor, I believe Apple have had unfair levels of criticism levelled at them. Some are fair game but unfortunately for them, society has been educated to only offer their enthusiasm to products that converge wildly different tools, services or purposes. This means they are unlikely to fully satisfy the broader audience with their important and complex internal innovation that has been designed to improve the overall user experience.

Comment by George

But isn’t that a route of diminishing returns that forces them into a cycle of new versions that can’t be as revolutionary as the enthusiasts demand?

Comment by John

Annually new, but arguably less right.

Comment by John

Definitely John, they say that in the article Robert quotes from. All I am saying is that situation is magnified by societies apathy towards any technology innovation that doesn’t feature some sort of “blockbuster” innovation.

Comment by George

Ah well, if the blogger had provided a link to the interview, I might have been able to read it.

Comment by John

blogger makes campbell sound a fucking loser. good work doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Is this your job application for cupertino George?

Comment by DH

Isn’t your comment a fireable offence or are you all back in ‘we aren’t evil’ mode?

You’re right of course, Apple are getting a lot of stick that is not entirely fair … however when you pioneered a mainstream technology and built your brand on innovation that had a more tangible difference to people’s lives or possibilities, you can’t exactly expect people to be happy when your biggest change is offering a phone in multiple colours.

That said, I love the ‘new is easy, right is hard’ … and I hope they get back to executing that in more obvious ways.

And yes, if Nokia had said it, I’d not nearly be as wowed. On some level it’s about ‘proof points’ [which are no where near as obvious as they once were with their earlier tech] but on the other, it’s because I’m brand prejudiced … which might make Apple happy, but alarms me no end.

Comment by Rob

Short, sweet and spot-on.
Gives me hope in my small world down here in NZ.
Now with hope sorted, can you do a rant about something so I can feel elation!

Comment by Henk

You only feel that when he doesn’t blog.

Comment by DH

‘New is easy. Right is hard’.
True, true, oh so very fucking true, Rob.
And ‘cool’ for its own sake will surely kill you.

Comment by Ian Gee

I’m a techie, and don’t buy Apple devices myself. (I’ve got cheap Android stuff instead. I’d happily take a freebie iPhone though)
But from a techie perspective, I think Apple is amazing for bringing old technologies to maturity so quickly. Instead of just accepting the status quo, they have pushed things like display resolution, touch screens and fingerprint recognition to the point where expensive old stuff that has kicked around niche use-cases for 20 years just works and is deployed pretty much globally in the space of weeks.
Until the iPod, MP3 players looked horrid and had the same UI as 1980s walkmans. Then Apple showed us the click wheel.
Until the iPhone, “smart phones” were ugly devices with half the screen space taken up with horrid little keyboards. Or touchscreens were inaccurate and laggy. Then Apple got touch screen right first time.
Until the iPad, tablets were basically 8kg 2″ thick laptops with a crap screen on the outside. Then Apple showed us lightweight, high resolution displays with decent battery life.
I hope they can keep that momentum up; it’s good for all of us.

Comment by Shackleford Hurtmore

Excellent points Shackleford … something people forget, ignore or fail to realise.

Another skill of Apple is to take emerging technology and make it more meaningful – and useful – to society as a whole. SONY and Palm were offering iPod Touch functionality way before Apple and yet it was Jobs and co who recognised the bigger potential which let them take the idea to a much bigger and better place.

I will make sure your job application comment is put together with George’s so Baz can ensure you get put to the top of the high paying job opportunities list at Apple HR HQ.

Comment by Rob

Thanks. I’ve got some ideas for a touchscreen remote controllable toaster that I think they’ll like.

Comment by Shackleford Hurtmore

iBread. I’d buy it. But then I bought a remote control ball.

Comment by Rob

It’sa good job Apple are still focusing on product, because their new media arts ‘what’s our manifesto?’ ads are wide of the mark

Comment by northern

[…] Sometimes that’s because the public don’t understand the significance of micro-innovation. […]

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