profit centered design

31 Aug 2009 - 11:03am
4 years ago
12 replies
554 reads
jet
2008

Adrian Howard wrote:
> And, a Todd says, if the majority of your customer base isn't replacing
> batteries - is it customer focussed to add a feature that they don't
> want or need?

If you take away the choice before they ever have it, how do you know
they want it? What if what the majority wants isn't actually good, or
is not good for the customer base as a whole? Is every design nuance
of the iPhone based on what the majority of the users wanted or what
Jobs/Ives and the bizdev people at Apple wanted?

The Android G1 has a battery that's easy to replace, which means I can
carry a spare on the road or buy an extra-capacity one. It's an option
I have, and there's enough people doing it that there are plenty of
aftermarket batteries available. It doesn't make the phone any less
reliable, I've dropped mine plenty of times and it's never fallen apart.
(It's certainly never caught on fire or imploded or any such thing.)

There are also enough iPhone owners interested in replacing the battery
in their iPhone/iPod that there are outfits selling replacement
batteries and upgrade kits online.

Is it customer focused to make it difficult for the user to change the
battery if the battery dies out of warranty and to make "upgrade to a
new model" the repair option? (And haven't we learn anything from the
planned obsolescence model of the US auto industry?)

It's certainly good business sense to make repair difficult -- when the
battery died in my 60G iPod, they wanted to give me %10 off a new iPod
if I'd "recycle" the old one. Let's see, I can pay $360 for the
current version of my iPod that holds slightly more music or replace a
battery that probably costs $10.

Which is the better deal for me and which is the better deal for Apple?

I ended up getting a battery online for less than $20 with shipping, if
you're handy with tools it's a trivial thing to replace. An Apple Store
Genius could easily swap out a battery in less than 5 minutes, test it,
and I'd have happily paid $25-50 for them to do it.

--
J. E. 'jet' Townsend, IDSA
Designer, Fabricator, Hacker
design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

Comments

31 Aug 2009 - 3:20pm
Charles Boyung
2009

I think you just about hit the nail on the head here. Apple really
does not care about what users may or may want. They never really
have. Apple depends on their following to do everything for them,
and telling outright lies in the marketing that they do do.

Most Apple consumers are so completely out of touch with what they
are buying, they would never think twice about upgrading their iPhone
instead of replacing the battery like you wanted to do. That's why
they don't offer any sort of battery replacement on the iPhone. Why
try to make a $10 profit on a battery replacement when they can make a
$100 profit on a new iPhone? There are probably more people that are
just going to take that second option rather than do what you did and
look for third-party solutions just because they don't know any
better and trust Apple because they think that they are the "good"
guys.

On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45216

31 Aug 2009 - 3:36pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

This is a white-paper I'd read repeatedly!

Scott

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 9:20 AM, Charles Boyung <
charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com> wrote:

> I think you just about hit the nail on the head here. Apple really
> does not care about what users may or may want. They never really
> have. Apple depends on their following to do everything for them,
> and telling outright lies in the marketing that they do do.
>
> Most Apple consumers are so completely out of touch with what they
> are buying, they would never think twice about upgrading their iPhone
> instead of replacing the battery like you wanted to do. That's why
> they don't offer any sort of battery replacement on the iPhone. Why
> try to make a $10 profit on a battery replacement when they can make a
> $100 profit on a new iPhone? There are probably more people that are
> just going to take that second option rather than do what you did and
> look for third-party solutions just because they don't know any
> better and trust Apple because they think that they are the "good"
> guys.
>
> On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
> iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
> good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
> you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.
>
> --
"You always have the carny connection." - Clair High

31 Aug 2009 - 3:37pm
Mike Dunn
2008

Apple is just doing what countless other manufacturers have been doing for a
long time now- creating disposable products. Look at most cars these days-
the saying "they don't make 'em like they used to" is more true in that case
than anything else.

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 8:20 AM, Charles Boyung <
charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com> wrote:

> I think you just about hit the nail on the head here. Apple really
> does not care about what users may or may want. They never really
> have. Apple depends on their following to do everything for them,
> and telling outright lies in the marketing that they do do.
>
> Most Apple consumers are so completely out of touch with what they
> are buying, they would never think twice about upgrading their iPhone
> instead of replacing the battery like you wanted to do. That's why
> they don't offer any sort of battery replacement on the iPhone. Why
> try to make a $10 profit on a battery replacement when they can make a
> $100 profit on a new iPhone? There are probably more people that are
> just going to take that second option rather than do what you did and
> look for third-party solutions just because they don't know any
> better and trust Apple because they think that they are the "good"
> guys.
>
> On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
> iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
> good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
> you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45216
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

31 Aug 2009 - 5:18pm
gretchen anderson
2005

You just can't underestimate the power of branding. If you control the
story, you can make people accept whatever, including no battery
upgrade. As long as it works, no one cares about the battery. As long as
it's cool, the buyer's cool.

> Apple really
does not care about what users may or may want. They never really
have.

31 Aug 2009 - 5:30pm
Mark Schraad
2006

maybe they are 'drinking the kool-ade' because they are happy, well
served customers. How sinister and evil is that?

Mark

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 31, 2009, at 1:20 PM, Charles Boyung <charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com
> wrote:

> I think you just about hit the nail on the head here. Apple really
> does not care about what users may or may want. They never really
> have. Apple depends on their following to do everything for them,
> and telling outright lies in the marketing that they do do.
>
> Most Apple consumers are so completely out of touch with what they
> are buying, they would never think twice about upgrading their iPhone
> instead of replacing the battery like you wanted to do. That's why
> they don't offer any sort of battery replacement on the iPhone. Why
> try to make a $10 profit on a battery replacement when they can make a
> $100 profit on a new iPhone? There are probably more people that are
> just going to take that second option rather than do what you did and
> look for third-party solutions just because they don't know any
> better and trust Apple because they think that they are the "good"
> guys.
>
> On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
> iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
> good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
> you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45216
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

31 Aug 2009 - 5:46pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 6:30 PM, Mark Schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:

> maybe they are 'drinking the kool-ade' because they are happy, well served
> customers. How sinister and evil is that?
>
> Mark
>
> Sent from my iPhone

We're onto your game, Mr. Sent from my iPhone!

Seriously, though - there was an article in Wired, of all places (which
means...not some super secret industry journal, it's practically People
magazine for nerds), talking about how Apple's approach to design was
somewhat black mystery box, and it's a horribly false binary to insist that
because, say, they don't care about users in the entirety because some of
their approach involves whatever disparaging term we use to describe non-UCD
these days. There are different approaches to everything, including design
- somewhat in the vein of how the term "Best Practices" doesn't mean "Only
Practices".

Mmm Kool-aid,
Scott

p.s. My user testing group of me and my cat gives the iPhone 3g a consistent
45% satisfaction rating, as I experience outright delight and glee at the
ability to do what I want, minus points mostly that can be lain at the feet
of AT&T. My cat doesn't express any interest in the innovative UI because
it's not made of tuna.

--
"You always have the carny connection." - Clair High

31 Aug 2009 - 7:14pm
Mark Schraad
2006

funniest post of the day... just awesome.

I concur with your division of satisfaction. I be an outlaw as a result.

Mark

On Aug 31, 2009, at 5:46 PM, Scott McDaniel wrote:

> On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 6:30 PM, Mark Schraad <mschraad at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> maybe they are 'drinking the kool-ade' because they are happy, well
> served customers. How sinister and evil is that?
>
> Mark
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> We're onto your game, Mr. Sent from my iPhone!
>
> Seriously, though - there was an article in Wired, of all places
> (which means...not some super secret industry journal, it's
> practically People magazine for nerds), talking about how Apple's
> approach to design was somewhat black mystery box, and it's a
> horribly false binary to insist that because, say, they don't care
> about users in the entirety because some of their approach involves
> whatever disparaging term we use to describe non-UCD these days.
> There are different approaches to everything, including design -
> somewhat in the vein of how the term "Best Practices" doesn't mean
> "Only Practices".
>
> Mmm Kool-aid,
> Scott
>
> p.s. My user testing group of me and my cat gives the iPhone 3g a
> consistent 45% satisfaction rating, as I experience outright
> delight and glee at the ability to do what I want, minus points
> mostly that can be lain at the feet of AT&T. My cat doesn't
> express any interest in the innovative UI because it's not made of
> tuna.
>
>
>
>
> --
> "You always have the carny connection." - Clair High

31 Aug 2009 - 12:15pm
Cathy Wang
2009

It's much like the razor-razorblade model isn't it?
However, because of how expensive the razoblades are, I, as a woman,
often just buy a new razor. Usually the package comes with 2 more
razorblades. I find it more cost effective. Is it a backward
engineering for this kind of strategy?

At the same time, this is probably a good model. It helps the
economy. How many people have made a living out of just replacing
mobile batteries and re-selling them?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45216

1 Sep 2009 - 8:55am
Tracy Boyington
2007

I don't understand your logic here. Are you saying people upgraded while
they still had "perfectly good" phones because they were hopeless Apple
addicts? Are you under the impression that before the iPhone, people
only upgraded when their phones died? Because most people I know upgrade
because they want a new phone, even if their existing phone works. And
did this long before the iPhone hit the scene. My husband and I have
owned one or more cell phones ever since they came in a bag, and neither
of us has ever upgraded because our current phone no longer worked.

>>> Charles Boyung <charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com> 8/31/2009
1:20 PM >>>

On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.

1 Sep 2009 - 9:02am
pnuschke
2007

Most people I know only upgraded their phones once their contract had
expired and they got a substantial discount on the next phone.

I've seen many iPhone users upgrade well before contract expiration at the
full device cost.That's a big difference.

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:55 AM, Tracy Boyington <
tracy_boyington at okcareertech.org> wrote:

> I don't understand your logic here. Are you saying people upgraded while
> they still had "perfectly good" phones because they were hopeless Apple
> addicts? Are you under the impression that before the iPhone, people
> only upgraded when their phones died? Because most people I know upgrade
> because they want a new phone, even if their existing phone works. And
> did this long before the iPhone hit the scene. My husband and I have
> owned one or more cell phones ever since they came in a bag, and neither
> of us has ever upgraded because our current phone no longer worked.
>
>
> >>> Charles Boyung <charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com> 8/31/2009
> 1:20 PM >>>
>
> On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
> iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
> good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
> you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Paul Nuschke
Principal, Research & Strategy
ELECTRONIC INK©
www.electronicink.com

1 Sep 2009 - 9:15am
Tracy Boyington
2007

But I don't see that as indication that they are "drinking the Kool-Aid." One could just as easily say that someone who sticks with Nokia, for example, has "drank the Kool-Aid" if they refuse to even consider other phones, including the iPhone. People saw new technology, they liked it, they bought it. The fact that a small percentage of them were not satisfied, just as a percentage of people who buy *anything* are not satisfied, doesn't mean Apple somehow connived them into buying something they never wanted.

>>> Paul Nuschke <plnii11 at gmail.com> 9/1/2009 9:02 AM >>>
Most people I know only upgraded their phones once their contract had
expired and they got a substantial discount on the next phone.

I've seen many iPhone users upgrade well before contract expiration at the
full device cost.That's a big difference.

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:55 AM, Tracy Boyington <
tracy_boyington at okcareertech.org> wrote:

> I don't understand your logic here. Are you saying people upgraded while
> they still had "perfectly good" phones because they were hopeless Apple
> addicts? Are you under the impression that before the iPhone, people
> only upgraded when their phones died? Because most people I know upgrade
> because they want a new phone, even if their existing phone works. And
> did this long before the iPhone hit the scene. My husband and I have
> owned one or more cell phones ever since they came in a bag, and neither
> of us has ever upgraded because our current phone no longer worked.
>
>
> >>> Charles Boyung <charles.boyung at nexustechnologiesllc.com> 8/31/2009
> 1:20 PM >>>
>
> On top of that, just look how many people upgraded to the newest
> iPhone at full price when their existing phones were still perfectly
> good. When you've got people drinking the Kool-Aid like Apple does,
> you're bound to take advantage of it as long as you canl.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Paul Nuschke
Principal, Research & Strategy
ELECTRONIC INK©
www.electronicink.com

1 Sep 2009 - 10:47pm
Adrian Howard
2005

Hi Eric,

On 31 Aug 2009, at 17:03, j. eric townsend wrote:

> Adrian Howard wrote:
>> And, a Todd says, if the majority of your customer base isn't
>> replacing batteries - is it customer focussed to add a feature that
>> they don't want or need?
>
> If you take away the choice before they ever have it, how do you
> know they want it? What if what the majority wants isn't actually
> good, or is not good for the customer base as a whole? Is every
> design nuance of the iPhone based on what the majority of the users
> wanted or what Jobs/Ives and the bizdev people at Apple wanted?

I've no idea. Making assumptions either way seems premature. There are
costs as well as benefits to having a removable battery as I
previously mentioned.

> The Android G1 has a battery that's easy to replace, which means I
> can carry a spare on the road or buy an extra-capacity one. It's
> an option I have, and there's enough people doing it that there are
> plenty of aftermarket batteries available.

And that's great. If you are somebody who is on the road for extended
periods I can see that being an important feature for you.

I'm not. I've never needed an additional battery for my phone (which
isn't an iPhone :-) Never needed to replace it either.

The fact that I have a removable battery has only every been a problem
for me rather than a feature (accidentally become disconnected and not
charging, getting lost, separating and disappearing under the sofa
when I dropped it, etc.)

> It doesn't make the phone any less reliable, I've dropped mine
> plenty of times and it's never fallen apart. (It's certainly never
> caught on fire or imploded or any such thing.)

But it is more complicated to design and build. Almost certainly more
expensive to build. Possibly larger. Probably more fragile than a
built in one.

(Just because your phone didn't break doesn't mean that over larger
numbers it's not an issue. The product designers I've talked to in the
past have all hated battery packs coz of the design issues I mentioned
before.)

> There are also enough iPhone owners interested in replacing the
> battery in their iPhone/iPod that there are outfits selling
> replacement batteries and upgrade kits online.

Yup.

There are also people who sell extra battery packs to plug in to give
you an extended battery life. I don't think that means that Apple
should have made the iPhone twice as thick/heavy with a larger battery.

> Is it customer focused to make it difficult for the user to change
> the battery if the battery dies out of warranty and to make "upgrade
> to a new model" the repair option? (And haven't we learn anything
> from the planned obsolescence model of the US auto industry?)
>
> It's certainly good business sense to make repair difficult -- when
> the battery died in my 60G iPod, they wanted to give me %10 off a
> new iPod if I'd "recycle" the old one. Let's see, I can pay $360
> for the current version of my iPod that holds slightly more music or
> replace a battery that probably costs $10.
>
> Which is the better deal for me and which is the better deal for
> Apple?

Of definitely a better deal for Apple there. Doesn't mean that it
isn't a better deal for the customer elsewhere though.

I'm really not trying to say that removable battery == bad. Or
removable battery == good. Just that there are costs and benefits. For
me (with my experiences of my built-in-battery iPod and replaceable
battery phone) the costs of removable batteries outweigh the benefits.
For you - the opposite seems to be true.

Who should Apple have designed for? No idea myself not having done any
research on the number of potential customers out there, what their
expectations are, what features they like/dislike, etc. Apple seem to
be doing pretty well with their choices though :-)

(BTW this whole discussion reminds me of the stuff Kathy Sierra wrote
about you only being in a good place with a product when you have folk
loving _and_ hating it http://is.gd/2Mxxm)

Cheers,

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

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