"It continues the language of form into a new multimedia age, where it goes without saying that different multimedia applications can be connected to one another and that the storage medium can be carried in a pocket, taking it anywhere one goes."
and came across this paragraph from the Apple Design Team in 2006/7:
"The iPod nano is a full-featured iPod that holds up to 1,000 songs. It is thinner than a #2 pencil and is made from stainless steel and twin-shot polycarbonate. Its design is informed by our preoccupation with the materials and processes of manufacture."
”The system is that there is no system.” Then he added, “That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a process.” Making the distinction between process and system allows for a certain amount of fluidity, spontaneity, and risk, while at the same time it acknowledges the importance of defined roles and discipline."
In Innovation is the new black Jared Spool writes
Understanding the user experience isn't new. It's something designers and researchers have done for years. However, because it's linked to innovation and innovation is now an important corporate objective, its value has increased.
Now organizations realize they have to study how users currently experience their products and service. From this, they derive insights into how to make improvements and those improvements go into the design the teams aspire to achieve.
Fixing the MP3 Mess
Before Apple introduced the first iPod in 2001, there were dozens of MP3 players on the market. Most of them had flash-memory hardware that could only hold a handful of songs, often 10 to 20 at most, with hard to use interfaces and tiny displays.
In 2001, there were several PC music management programs available. However, their interface to the various MP3 players seemed almost an afterthought, convoluted and inconsistent. Simple features, such as playlist support, were non-existent, since each player's support varied so widely.
Users, wanting new music on their player, needed to purchase an entire CD album, even if they were only interested in a single song. Once purchased, putting the music on the machine was extremely difficult, requiring many steps and several different interfaces to "rip" the music, transfer it to the player, and subsequently listen to the music -- all made by different companies with radically different commands and displays.
The difficulty of getting music from the CDs to the player encouraged users to look at online libraries of already encoded music. Why go through the effort of ripping your own CDs when someone has probably done it before? The popularity of music libraries, such as Napster and Kazaa soared, as did the temptation to upload music the user hadn't paid for.
Apple's iPod Insight
Apple's designers could see something better emerging from this mess. They imagined a future where music listeners could find the specific song they wanted, click a single button and the system would instantly purchase the music, download it, and transfer it to the player, ready to listen to.
The hardware had to be easy to use. A long-playing battery, crisp lcd display, simple controls, and sleek design was all part of their vision. The PC software would know about the hardware's features and seamlessly make the interface flow.
The 99-cent-per-song price point for music was as much part of the new experience as the hardware design. Picking and choosing just those songs the listener wants to own, without getting songs they aren't interested in, makes it easy for people to build a personal collection they love. Moreover, the slick design of the unit makes it more likely people will gloat about their new player.
While it took several years for the vision to realize itself fully, the new customer experience emerged to change the way music is sold. Apple, once a hardware company, now is realizing more than $1 billion every year just through the sales of the songs in the music store. Innovation took Apple into the leadership position of an established industry in less than three years.
So we can see that Apple are actually looking at the user experience and how it can be radically enhanced.
Picture uploaded by Perfecto Insecto. Used with thanks under CC.
Looking at the yearbook for 2007 the next nano commentary includes:
"With integration of the iTunes software, the user can purchase songs, audio books and podcasts in the iTunes Store and synchronise the iPod with the user’s Mac or PC."