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A History of Steve Jobs' War on Buttons

A History of Steve Jobs' War on Buttons

by , 3:20 PM EDT, July 26th, 2007

Steve Jobs has been on a war against buttons for a long time. The original Macintosh had no cursor keys. Apple's Cube had a touch sensitive area instead of a power switch. The Apple remote control has only six buttons. Apple's mice of old clung to one button. So it's not surprising that the iPhone's virtual keyboard goes up against the entire smartphone industry, according to Nick Wingfield at the Wall Street Journal.

Other companies load their electronic gadgets up with buttons which just confuse most customers. The iPhone, an extremely sleek and minimalist device is continuing evidence of Mr Jobs' decades long war on buttons. They are, in effect, blemishes that add complexity and detract from the clean lines of a product.

That simplicity even extends to Apple's retail stores. The elevator in Apple's store in Tokyo has no buttons. It simply stops on every floor. "I got used to this," said customer Hiroshi Kawano. "It's simple, and I like it."

When Mr. Job's unveiled his Front Row remote control, he reveled in the simplicity of the Apple remote and compared it on a Keynote slide to a huge, complex remote with more than 40 buttons. "I don't know that there's ever been a slide that captures what Apple's about as much as this one," Mr. Jobs said.

Sometimes, Apple's own customers are confused at first. Apple's iPod has no clearly labeled on/off button. Nowadays, every one understands.

Fortunately, few other executives have this particular feeling for aesthetics, and it remains Apple's undisputed hallmark. Just like the black turtleneck -- which, by the way, doesn't have buttons either.

  

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