The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

You're viewing an article in TMO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site:
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.

  

Recent Headlines - Updated May 27th

Wed,3:10 PM
How to Deauthorize All Devices in iTunes 12
Tue,6:35 PM
iKlip Grip: iPhone Stand and Selfiestick with Bluetooth Shutter
6:09 PM
ShowStoppers & MacTech Team Up for DevFocus at WWDC
3:40 PM
HiRise Apple Watch Stand is Beautiful, Well Engineered
2:58 PM
Firefighters Take on Blaze at Apple’s Former Sapphire Glass Factory [Update]
2:02 PM
Apple Watch Course: Go from Newbie to Pro and Build 14 Apps for $25
1:55 PM
Three Things You Didn’t Know TextEdit Could Do For You
1:26 PM
TMO Daily Observations 2015-05-26: Jony Ive’s Promotion, Cortana Coming to iPhone
10:25 AM
Hold on to Your Pants, Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana is Coming to iPhone
9:20 AM
Local Content Deals to Delay Apple’s Streaming TV Plans
5:26 AM
Apple Promotes Jony Ive to Chief Design Officer, Creates VPs for Hardware and UI Design
Sun,12:13 PM
MGG 554: Sleepy Macs Sometimes Go To Work
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!