Apple: The Good, The Bad, and the Needs Improvement

Apple’s eye for great design is well known, but sometimes they miss the target. I’ve read quibbles about the size of the Magic Mouse—many say it’s too small, I disagree—but one bit of design is outstanding. The iTunes Store manages to organize many thousands of titles, but has one shortfall that should be an easy fix. Finally, the launch of the iPad was so successful I think it probably surpassed Apple’s expectations.

Magic Mouse

Magic Mouse battery orientationThe Magic Mouse handles accepts batteries the way they should have always been installed. Both of the AA batteries are installed in the same direction. I struggle to understand why electronics companies didn’t implement this in everything powered by batteries since we began trying to figure out which way they go in. Great work on this. I hope other companies catch up quickly.

iTunes Store needs tabs

Adding tabs to the iTunes Store would not only benefit users, but it would boost Apple’s sales. When I’m rambling through the store just to see what’s fresh, I get bored before I look at everything I want to see and stop. Tabs would encourage me to shop a little longer.

Take the Staff Favorites section for instance. I may glance at that section and immediately see seven apps that look interesting. To view details I have to click an icon, read about the app, mouse up and click the back button, and find the next one I was interested in. Then, I click that icon, read about the app, mouse up and click the back button, and find the next one I was interested in. I don’t think I have to go through that five more times for you to see how boring this gets.

In Safari, I would hold down the command key, click seven icons, watch them open in tabs, then review each one before closing them when finished. The store is basically a website served within iTunes. How hard could it be to add tabbed browsing to the store?

iPads need user accounts

What does studying look like today?The iOS is perfect for an iPhone that has one number, one user, one account. It makes sense. The iPad; however, is more prone to getting passed around to multiple users. We have one iPad in the house and it gets passed around a lot. Now, it’s cluttered with long-forgotten free downloads. The biggest challenge is for applications that depend on online accounts. Facebook. RSS readers like Reeder. Email. Those are a problem.

I’m no software engineer, but this design challenge sounds like it’s more difficult. Memory restraints would limit fast user switching for now, but would it be that difficult to add user accounts to the iPad so the device could be more easily shared among family members?

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