Innovation Through Simplicity

“iHKDesign” ably responds to this jacktastic CNN piece by Steve Kovach, arguing that Samsung is “out-innovating” Apple. This bit (from Kovach) caught my eye:

Based on all this evidence, Apple feels behind. Take a look at its newest fourth-generation iPad. It has a killer processor and other great hardware features, but the operating system doesn’t take advantage of any of that. The home screen is still just a grid of static icons that launch apps.

Kovach’s whole piece is inane, but the above criticism — that iOS’s home screen is behind because it’s “just a grid of static icons” — is one I’ve seen from other, more reasonable critics. Such a mindset completely ignores simplicity and obviousness as benefits. The utter simplicity and obviousness of the iOS “system”, from a user’s standpoint, is arguably the primary reason iPhones and iPads are so popular. Is such simplicity for everyone? No. Is it suitable for all computers? No. But it is both comforting and comfortable for everyone who’s spent the last two decades more confused than not by their computers.

The utter simplicity of the iOS home screen is Apple’s innovation. It’s the simplest, most obvious “system” ever designed. It is a false and foolish but widespread misconception that “innovation” goes only in the direction of additional complexity.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013