Reducing complexity and making choices – things I learned from Apple’s product designs

The other day a friend who was closely watching the Watch and Macbook announcements mentioned to me that Apple had introduced its new notebook with only one port – the USB C.

He gave many examples of why he need more ports, simultaneously, including charging the Macbook and a phone at the same time, for example or being at your desk and transferring files from a USB flash drive.

I thought they were all good examples actually, and situations I had faced before. Then I decided to challenge all the assumptions he had made with the fact that those situations are the exception not the norm.

With a battery life of 12 hours, there were very few situations where you will need to charge and give your iPhone some juice as well. You could plug the notebook from the power unit and it would go for hours even if it had to charge your phone. Similarly with its long battery life, the chances were slim that it would really run out of charge for “normal” usage.

Then it struck me that most of us do the same thing with all of our daily possessions. Take a look at your backpack for example. There are surely 100’s of things that I have in my own backpack that I have rarely used, but need for a “rainy day”.Truth is, during those “rainy days”, I had options.

I dont need 3 pens because there are 3 pen slots in my bag, neither do I need my check book, etc. I dont need a backup credit card – well I have not for the last 3 years, but I do carry them all and more things.

I believe we make these choices because of our fear of “what if” and apply it to the worst case situation. Which to a large extent prevents us from the “what if” and enjoy the best case scenario.

Optimize for the “likely case” and plan for your options might be a better situation – at least in my case. I think that’s a key learning from the USB-C port discussion.

Trying to save for a rainy day is great, but too much saving results in most days being gray, without enjoying the sunshine that’s all around us.

2 thoughts on “Reducing complexity and making choices – things I learned from Apple’s product designs”

  1. I believe you want to move to apple that’s the very reason in your recent blogs you applause apple good for you , all the best . god bless u. If you read this and didn’t approve my comment , at least remember we both had big discussion in our native language / in lengthy about startups in Bangalore during that time your sold startup money was not with u and your current Microsoft job not with you at unplugged event in IBM blr , sometime later I asked for investment in email , you reply that u only invest in known people company not strangers . I am not worried that u haven’t listen to my email nor u forgotten things .

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