How Apple Keeps Surprising Us in Unexpected and Delightful Ways

Apple keeps figuring out how to make our life better with technology in ways that we keep missing or not thinking about. It's an Apple hallmark that we keep forgetting about over and over, then smile when we see it.


When we try to think about what Apple is going to do next, we tend to think about acronyms and high-level technology concepts. There is also the visible influence of the competitors who, not knowing what to do next, roll out bits and pieces of half-baked technology for the sake of specsmanship.

Reviewing coverage of Apple's special media event for the new iPhones, in the areas of Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) and the elimination of "swipe to unlock", the new features of the 5s camera, larger pixels, the image processing techniques to make for better photos, the motion coprocessor for health and fitness tracking, I got the feeling that Apple, behind the scenes, develops pretty good ideas about how to make our smartphone lives better. The company works hard at that.

Apple can do that because engineers live and breathe the technology in their labs every day while the best the rest of use can do is throw around terminology and wonder how, in detail, it can be pressed into service. As a result, Apple's corporate, internal insight is what gets overlooked over and over.

Along the way, the development of that technology is driven by the Apple philosophy, internally instantiated by Jonathan Ive and publicly proclaimed by Tim Cook: It's "Not just rampant technology for technology's sake."

And, from today's presentation:

  • "We don't just pack in feature after feature."
  • "We think deeply about experiences we want to create."

Apple continues to surprise and delight us because it has access to all the engineering and development tools that outsiders seldom think about or have access to. As a result, when Apple conducts these special events, we're left feeling like, "Aha. It's so obvious. This is the way to go forwards."

Then, a year later, the cycle starts all over again with the naysayers claiming that Apple has lost its innovative edge. Maybe, just maybe, next year we'll smile and remember how Apple really operates.


iPhone 5s image via Apple.