I often hear people saying "apple has pushed forward the development of usable interfaces", "apple products are examples for great usability" and so on. My question is: is this a proven fact? And if so, can you tell me at least one distinguishing design concept used in iOS or OS X that justifies such statements?

  • 1
    ask Tog ;-) asktog.com/atc/the-third-user
    – Lovis
    Nov 5, 2013 at 10:41
  • Why the restriction "in the last 10 years"?
    – unor
    Nov 5, 2013 at 13:52
  • I didn't want to hear something about the invention of the computer mouse but rather about the features of the software interfaces (iOS, OS X). Nov 5, 2013 at 14:22
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    @AnnaPrenzel what Apple has leveraged is a tight correlation between hardware and software interfaces. They go hand-in-hand.
    – DA01
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


Historically, Apple (or rather, Jobs) has pushed the company towards selling user experience as a whole, rather than piecemeal as separate hardware and software. This has been especially true over the past decade or so where Jobs gave Jonathan Ive considerable power within the company to push their industrial design forward.

It's not always been a perfect marriage of hardware, software and users but if you judge the company based on success, I guess they've done OK.

Broadly speaking, things that Apple has pushed into the mainstream from a 'usable interface' point of view:

  • the GUI
  • the mouse
  • WYSIWYG print layout
  • laptops
  • handheld computing
  • touch UIs

And the list could go on. None of these are necessarily things Apple invented, but rather these are things Apple polished, packaged, and made appealing to a (relatively) broad audience.

In the end, is that Apple's doing or Steve Jobs? I don't know. It is known that Steve Jobs was a rather picky CEO who had veto power over nearly every decision within the organization. Jeff Bezos has a similar reputation. Based solely on the success of each of those companies, maybe that's a good strategy (that being having a strong leader who is focused strongly on user experience).

  • "In the end, is that Apple's doing or Steve Jobs?" What is a company if not the people in it?
    – GollyJer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:07
  • @GollyJer in the case of Apple, the debate was long about the 'person' in Apple rather than 'the people'. The jury is still out, but it does appear that Apple is going just fine sans Jobs, so you are likely correct.
    – DA01
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:17
  • What I mean is, in my opinion, it was definitely Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive, and anyone else making design decisions at the company. The output of any company is the people inside doing the work.
    – GollyJer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:53

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