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 TMO Headlines - Updated August 25th

Wed, 6:01 PM
ACM 374: The Apple Narrative, Music Industry Directives, and Samsung's Spoiled Milk
Wed, 2:45 PM
Zus MFi-Certified Kevlar Lightning Cable: $19.99
Wed, 2:31 PM
Siri and Apple's Machine Learning Are About to Get a Lot Better
Wed, 12:56 PM
Obduction, Myst's Spiritual Successor, is now Available
Wed, 11:00 AM
TMO Daily Observations 2016-08-24: Interview with Andrew Tokuda, aka Digital Droo
Wed, 8:00 AM
Checking Your 'Find My Mac' Status (And Why You Might Need To!)
Tue, 7:55 PM
Parallels Desktop 12 Supports Windows 10 and macOS Sierra
Tue, 7:20 PM
North Korea Unveils Netflix-Like Service Called Manbang, Seriously
Tue, 6:15 PM
Tesla Battery Upgrade Will Boost Range to 315 Miles
Tue, 5:51 PM
Samsung Shuts Down Milk Because LOL
Tue, 2:01 PM
Capture 4K Video and Pics without the High Resolution Price Tag
Tue, 1:52 PM
LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery: $39.99
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!