This quandary came to mind when looking at the performance of the
latest iPhone, the 6S. Observing it closely, we lose sight of it.
We see only minute changes between versions; marginal changes
which can’t be weighed. And yet these changes have a more
important attribute: they are absorbable. A change that is ignored
is not only valueless, it may actually destroy perception of
value. It creates clutter and confusion. A change that is
absorbable is valuable. It is meaningful.
Looking at new features like 3D Touch, Live Photos, and better
cameras, one can observe how easily acceptable and desirable they
are to those who first see them. As were Siri, FaceTime, Touch ID
and iCloud, making something meaningfully better is a sign of
sustaining innovation which does not over-serve.
Paradoxically, the improvements are not usually things that users
ask for. Surveys always show that consumers want “better battery
life” or a “bigger screen” but delivering something else entirely
which nevertheless leads to mass adoption shows an uncanny insight
into what really matters. Indeed, those who deliver only what
customers ask for end up marginalized and bereft of profit.
Wonderfully astute, as usual.