Why Apple is loosing money on making crappy headsets

Design is all about focus. What to focus on, what to disregard. There is limited time and no designer has the time to make anything perfect. Apple is sublime in making the 90% mostly used parts of the user experience near perfect. Except one thing.

You have an iPod, what do you listen with? You have an iPhone, what do you listen and make calls from? Apple's headset and/or head phones.

In the 2002 article Mind your language,  by Game Developer Ben Cousins, Cousins explains what to focus on to make a successful product. In short: whatever the user spends most time with. Apple is usually great at this but seem to be missing the headsets.

It's not that the headsets / head phones are bad per se. They just aren't really good. And the quality is awful, I'm on my 6th pair this year and mad as a hat when the sound goes in one ear.

Apple should really look into making a better headset, ensuring that customers are using headsets with the intended functions.

The iPad - short and simple

The most over hyped machine ever has been unveiled and a torrent of fanboyism and hatred has echoed over the blogosphere. So now should be a good time to talk about what the iPad really is.

It's just a larger iPod touch!

Yes. Yes that's exactly what it is. Well ok not exactly, it's a lot faster. But basically just a large iPhone without the phone. Not sure why people are complaining about this though since I've heard tens or possibly hundreds say they wanted a larger iPhone when it was first launched.

Why isn't it wide screen? Because it's a doubled iPod touch screen, this way apps will work with very little fuss and developers don't have put too much effort into designing specific apps for the iPad and iPhone.

So, will it be awesome? Probably yes, your iPhone is pretty awesome right? Imagine not having to squint at the screen to surf and you're there already. Also we know Apple will release a software update for the device before launch. It probably won't mean too much but we're likely to see at least one more feature that we'll like. Just because Apple likes to push positive.

So it will sell a billions units? Apples track record says yes. But they have failed before. and all tablets so far have died a gruesome death. Mind you, smart phones weren't exactly a super hot market before the iPhone launched. They certainly didn't cause the amount of hype and development that Apple created in the marketplace.

That's it. The iPad. We haven't seen all it can do, but this is what it is. A larger iPhone, just like millions of users have been clamoring for.

Just because it doesn't cure cancer and live up to the pre unveiling hype doesn't mean it won't be awesome. It's to early to tell if the iPad will be a hit or a miss. But regardless it will push general computing further towards touch UI. Which is really the innovation Apple is bringing to the table. Not a new UI. But a new use for their most successful one.

Apple conference, iPhone OS 3.0, iTablet?

WWDC is today. In approximately 7h. What do you think will happen? I sincerely hope for an Apple Tablet, basically a larger, more powerful, iPod Touch with a huge battery. But I don't really think it will happen. Apple is working on it and when they can get price, performance and form factors together to really blast the market with tablets they will. I just think it's to expensive today.

iPhone OS 3.0 will launch today however. Which brings a huge amount of updates to the iPhone and the App Store. Let's see those landscape SMS' and ad hoc multiplayer games flourish!

The iPod experiment 1

I'm a game designer and that means all other media are secondary interest at best. But music is ever present and a great help during the workday and daily commute. Now I've never been an iPod owner but I have owned a few mp3 players and a truck load of Sony Ericsson walkman phones, but none of them have ever been good enough to continue using. So with my new paycheck in hand I thought I'd hit two birds with one stone and buy an iPod touch, hopefully it will solve my music issues and allow me to play iPhone games as well!

Of I went to the local store and purchased the 8GB version (I'm cheap, let's say no more about it). Immediatly I was blown away by the packaging and ease of use. The interface is brilliant and the interaction with my PC at work was simples then most USB drives. Itunes is a terrible program to work with but the iTunes store worked well and I has my first music, video podcasts and games up and running in a few minutes.

The sound was excellent and the video fantastic, wifi surfing was awesome and applications were plentiful even though I find myself lacking offline support for things like rememberthemilk and google calendar... Why should I need to use apples software when there are better products available? From partners in other software genres nonetheless.

I was enjoying myself on the way home, interaction with my iPod was fun and simple and the video and music kept me going strong. The simple 3d racer I'd downloaded worked great and was actually kinda fun. Probably mostly from control novalty but hey, Wii right?

It's when I got I was annoyed. I could sync with iTunes at home because I already had synced at work... That means all my music that I've collected over the past 10 years is forfeit... Or I could delete everything on my iPod and start again... Why apple, would you build such stupid limitation into your device? I'm using the same damn iTunes account on both machines so security or licensing issues don't come into it at all. This is just plain dumb.

Well, I've no deleted my iPod and started over.

The experiment continues...