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Apple Gets the Importance of Packaging; Why Doesn't Google?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-pursue-that-which-retreats-from-us dept.

Businesses 639

Hugh Pickens writes "Rebecca Greenfield writes that Google's Nexus tablet with its taped sides and fussy plastic takes effort to open, eliciting what some would call 'wrap rage,' the linguist-approved word for the anger associated with opening a factory sealed product, and as a montage of frustrated Google Nexus 7 owners struggling to open their new tablets' packaging proves there is at least one thing Apple gets that Google does not: boxes. In comparison to the minutes-long process that it takes to get to Google's well-reviewed tablet, opening an iPad takes a simple slide of a cover — a lid that 'comes off easily, but not too easily,' as Random Tech's Anthony Kay puts it. Apple boxes aren't beloved by accident. The company thinks about the way a box informs a product and takes boxing seriously for a reason. 'Not only does the box give people warm and fuzzy associations with the product from the get-go, but also, people form emotional attachments to the actual pieces of cardboard. Instead of tossing them like the trash that they are, people have been known to keep their iBoxes,' writes Greenfield. 'Instead of forgotten in a dump or recycling facility, the boxes sit on shelves serving as a constant reminder of the beauty within.'"

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Because (-1, Troll)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698171)

Apple buyers are like cats, they like the packaging more than the gift, and are just as stupid.

Re:Because (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698207)

yes, because my iCrap is going to be worth something in a few years and selling my used iCrap with the original box in good condition will increase its value

Re:Because (0, Offtopic)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698249)

Given that cats get free shelter, food, protection, and medical attention in exchange for occasionally giving affection on their own terms, who're the stupid ones in this relationship? :P

Re:Because (5, Funny)

fellip_nectar (777092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698435)

Cats also get neutered...

Re:Because (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698515)

You know the old saying....

Cats don't have owners... They have personnel.

Re:Because (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698567)

Hey now, if I lock a cat in a cage with some fun cat toys it won't even look at them, it will cry to be let out.

Wrap rage...? (5, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698183)

Well, of all the things that qualify as first world problems...

And really? People keep i* packaging? That's kinda weird and squirrelly.

Oh, also with respect to unwrapping, please PLEASE peel off those annoying bits of protective clear plastic. They look terrible after they'be been on a few months and have bubbled and got bits of dirt under them. And they make me twitch in an OCD kind of way.

Re:Wrap rage...? (4, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698299)

People keep the packaging for returns and because selling your mint condition iDevice with mint condition packaging means you get higher resell value on eBay.

Re:Wrap rage...? (4, Funny)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698527)

selling your mint condition iDevice with mint condition packaging means you get higher resell value on eBay.

Ah, the joy of reselling a product that's never been used.

Re:Wrap rage...? (0)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698553)

Wow! I think those same people need to go get some interesting stuff to fill all that spare time they clearly have.

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698305)

Well, of all the things that qualify as first world problems...

And really? People keep i* packaging? That's kinda weird and squirrelly.

Exactly... The story about "packaging fetishists" is just as much about doing something wrong as it is about doing it right. Why not just make packaging that is easy to open and recycle, and let the consumer enjoy just the product instead of worrying about the box? Or, at least, make the box in a form factor that is easy to actually reuse instead of inspiring Apple fans to collect shelves and shelves of meaningless cardboard. I mean, at least pewter figurines or tea sets or pictures of old people has some prolonged sentimental value. With an iPad, are you really going to give two shits about it after you get the next generation version?

Thanks, Apple, for putting time into thinking about how to get me to hang on to MORE shit I don't need.

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698393)

Why not just make packaging that is easy to open and recycle, and let the consumer enjoy just the product instead of worrying about the box?

Indeed, I tend to be more impressed with the company if the product arrives in a plain cardboard box, printed with vegetable-based inks, and no plastic packaging waste.

I can then more easily reuse it (e.g. to post something I've sold on eBay, or wrap a fragile gift) or recycle it.

Re:Wrap rage...? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698673)

Indeed, I tend to be more impressed with the company if the product arrives in a plain cardboard box, printed with vegetable-based inks, and no plastic packaging waste.

I can then more easily reuse it (e.g. to post something I've sold on eBay, or wrap a fragile gift) or recycle it.

Never really thought about it that much but you are right. Whenever I recieve a clean box or envelope with removable/coverable branding, I tend to keep it around for when I need to send a package. Might be good marketing if those companies mentioned this explicitely somewhere in the instruction manual.

Re:Wrap rage...? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698423)

Yes. I jack off to the packaging of my magical iPad every night.

Sent from my iFag device

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698605)

The point of owning an iDevice is to show it off. Nonchalantly displaying the box on a shelf fits into this lifestyle perfectly.

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Insightful)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698615)

The story about "packaging fetishists" is just as much about doing something wrong as it is about doing it right. Why not just make packaging that is easy to open and recycle, and let the consumer enjoy just the product instead of worrying about the box? Or, at least, make the box in a form factor that is easy to actually reuse instead of inspiring Apple fans to collect shelves and shelves of meaningless cardboard.

Many people don't understand packaging is very important and your post, unfortunately, is no exception.

In the case of tablets and phones, packaging is the first personal encounter with what is intended to be a personal device. Getting this step right is crucial to shaping how a consumer perceives the product and too many companies neglect this simple but ineluctable point.

It's not fetishism to want a consumer's experience of "getting at the device" to be quick, obvious, and easy. Furthermore, packaging that is easily opened and which is not damaged upon opening makes that packaging reusable.

Apple's packaging of phones and tables is exemplary in this regard. The only thing that must be permanently damaged in the unboxing process is the shrink wrap, and even that can be preserved so that it can be reused. This means that when I upgrade my tablet I can sell the old device on eBay in its original packaging and allow my buyers to have a very-close-to-new out-of-box experience. I've sold quite a few phones, tablets, and laptops on eBay and people really appreciate the out-of-box experience, so much so that I mention that the item has all the original packaging intact.

Style, simplicity, and reusability are not shallow but deep. It's the failure to appreciate the work that goes into making something simple that is shallow.

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698387)

Actually, this is nothing new, nor specific to apple. A lot of people keep the boxes that products come in, especially if the product has enough value to be worth repackaging in its box for resale or storage later.

For example, I had some pots that came in boxes. I tossed the boxes, as I have a place to store pots and use them frequently.

I have a rice cooker. Kept the box. Keep it in the box. On the rare occasion that I use it, it comes out of the box, and goes back in. If I get around to having a yard sale, I will put it out, in its box.

Likewise, I have the boxes for xbox360 and my wife's PS3. Why? because they might need to be sent out for repair someday, or I might want to sell them.

The only thing special here is that apple is actually still using boxes, whereas other products have moved to clamshells, which are more frustrating to open if you don't have a good pair of sciscors handy at the moment... and don't give you a package that you can easly repackage the product in.... which brings up another nice thing about boxes....

when I open a product in a box, and its already broken, I have a convienet vessel in which to transmit the product back to the store from whence it came to exchange it.

Nothing new, or particularly interesting here.

Re:Wrap rage...? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698577)

Nothing new, or particularly interesting here.

On the contrary, I think that's pretty fucking bizarre. Storing packaging on the off chance that you might want to re-use it one day? Really? That ain't normal, dude.

Re:Wrap rage...? (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698803)

That ain't normal, dude.

Yes, it is. When I purchased my Calphalon One cookware, I kept all the boxes (except for the ones I got at discount stores which didn't have boxes) so when/if I move, I can slide them back into their protective packaging for transport. I don't have to figure out how to wrap them to protect them, or find an odd-sized box for them to fit in. They go back into the original boxes which stack nicely.

Like the OP, I also store my rice cooker and scale in their original boxes. It helps keep everything together and the boxes store more neatly than having everything lying around with cords hanging loose.
Considering what I paid for my stuff, taking this one extra step to keep things neat, orderly and protected is an extremely minor issue to deal with.

Re:Wrap rage...? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698503)

People keep all sorts of packaging. I collect vintage computers. A lot of them still come with their original boxes. Some people really like that, and it boosts the price people can get for the computer. Personally, I can't program or play games on a box, so I'm happier paying less for a computer.

But sometimes I get a cheap computer that still has its box. What do you do with a box you dont' want? After all these years, it seems a shame to trash it. So I've been hanging on to them. I might one day want to sell my Apple IIgs, and the original boxes will probably add 50% to the price I can get for it. So a stack of empty boxes occupies the corner of my basement.

Re:Wrap rage...? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698523)

I still have a Mac 128K box somewhere up in the attic. The idea was to have something to ship it in if I ever needed to, but, you know...

Re:Wrap rage...? (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698551)

The Apple packaging is nice enough to warrant a spot in the basement. People seem to appreciate it when they get my hand-me-downs and it comes with all of the original packaging/disks/etc.

Re:Wrap rage...? (5, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698599)

But the main main reason many people buy an iPad is so they can make unwrapping videos for Youtube. The tablet is just a bonus.

Re:Wrap rage...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698623)

I keep nice boxes. My MacBook box served as a safe way to transport my computer until I found a case I liked. Unlike most boxes, it was study and didn't get destroyed opening it.

Re:Wrap rage...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698729)

I see no problem with any of that. Soon Samsung will have the same packaging and they will claim that's the only way to do it. The judge will believe them and Apple will be forced to apologize to Samsung, the court, slashdot, me, you, and everyone else on this planet for thinking their packaging is special.

Different Markets (2, Informative)

Hnice (60994) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698193)

Ummmmm, because Google's not a toy company?

Re:Different Markets (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698357)

Quite right, my boy. Google just shits in the box anyway, so the packaging is unimportant.

Re:Different Markets (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698443)

If Google were a Roy company there would be about 20 feet of tape, 35 twist ties, 14 molded pieces of clear plastic, and 55 plastic retainers to keep you from pulling the previously mentioned twist ties through the cardboard.
Yes, I have children, how did you guess.?

what the? (5, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698197)

Ok.. I don't get it. I got my Nexus 7 preorder on Monday and did not have *one* problem with packaging. As a matter of fact I have liked the packaging of every Nexus product I have bought as well as even thought the graphic design was good. I had no problems breaking the seals and opening the box.

I am much more concerned about the fact that the unit will not charge and the fact that so many people at places like at xda-developers [xda-developers.com] are seeing the same defect time after time and the fact that I am having such a hard time getting an RMA.

Re:what the? (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698307)

all you have to do is post a message on one of google's forums about your hardware issue and wait a few days for someone to respond

Re:what the? (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698367)

A few days? Sorry... that isn't good enough. Anyway, right now the problem is that people on 1st level phone support at Google are not authorized to do RMAs and it has to go to 2nd tier.

Their phone support is jammed, and their 2nd tier must be doubly so.

Re:what the? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698317)

The defect I was referring to is the side of the screen lifting and/or a gap. My problem with charging (the included charger and cable is good and works with my phone) seems to be your normal luck-of-the-draw factory line defect.

Re:what the? (4, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698355)

if you have a hardware issue just take it back to the store and have them replace it. that's what i did with my iphone 3gs a few years back. took 20 minutes at the genius bar including the waiting

oh wait......

Re:what the? (1)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698381)

As a matter of fact I have liked the packaging of every Nexus product I have bought as well as even thought the graphic design was good.

I came to the comments to say just that. My Nexus One and Galaxy Nexus both had nice, simple packaging, so making this out to be a Google-wide problem is a bit much.

Re:what the? (2)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698473)

It took me 5-10 seconds of trying to slide the outer cover off before i realized it really wanted to slide in the other direction, and then another 5-10 seconds to wedge the lid off the box (after cutting the tape of course.) Is it slightly harder to open than some packaging i've seen? Yes. Is it in any way comparable to clamshell packaging? Not even close. Is this whole thing being blown way out of proportion? Definitely

Re:what the? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698765)

I am more concerned that my 7 andoird clock apps on my home screen all show different times

Huh? (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698201)

My Nexus 7 arrived on Tuesday, and I opened it just fine. The tape used to keep the box closed was a little interesting, looked almost like it had been melted on, but nothing anyone with a pair of scissors or box cutters should have trouble with.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698327)

Yeah this story confuses me.

Step 1: Push box out of sleeve
Step 2: Cut two pieces of tape
Step 3: Open box
Step 4: Profit

There's not even a ??? step. Is cutting tape really that difficult?

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698655)

Is cutting tape really that difficult?

Is having to reboot your computer when something goes wrong really that difficult? Not really, but when you have to do that it worsens your experience with the product. Any packaging that requires the use of tools to open is not good, user-oriented packaging. You can make packaging tamper-evident without requiring the customer to locate sharp objects.

There's a reason Amazon has been placing so much effort into making "hassle-free" packaging and coercing manufacturers to do the same (going so far as to send their own packaging designers to the manufacturers in order to consult on how to make their packaging better). Apple was one of the earliest on this boat, but they're not the only one. That Google missed the boat actually surprises me a bit.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698771)

without requiring the customer to locate sharp objects.

I have never met tape that requires anything sharper than a housekey to remove. If you can't locate your keys, you've got bigger issues than failure to open a toy.

Re:Huh? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698385)

My Nexus 7 arrived on Tuesday, and I opened it just fine. The tape used to keep the box closed was a little interesting, looked almost like it had been melted on, but nothing anyone with a pair of scissors or box cutters should have trouble with.

Google would like to make it at least mildly challenging to buy a product, swap the product with modelling clay, and return the box for full retail value. Apple puts aesthetics first. Good for them, but really we are getting pretty high and mighty when we think a little bit of tape is going to induce wrap-rage. I bought a pair of scissors from home depot the other day that required, you guessed it, another pair of (heavy duty) scissors just to cut the plastic fused clamshell open. If you can open a box with a slightly pointy fingernail, or a key, or a ballpoint pen, then guess what it's NOT THAT HARD.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

miltonw (892065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698557)

Alternate title for the video: "People who can't cut tape try to open a taped package."

Re:Huh? (1)

bigdanmoody (599431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698681)

Pretty much this. I received my preordered Nexus 7 on Tuesday and found it no more difficult to open than my original Asus Transformer tablet. The top and bottom of the box fit together very snugly, as in I could feel the low air pressure inside making the box more difficult to open, but didn't provide and particular challenge. Perhaps people should try poking an air hole in their box if they are really having that much trouble.

I had supper with my brother Tuesday night, and he asked me if I'd had any trouble opening the Nexus 7 box; he'd apparently seen the videos referenced in TFA. I showed him the box and he wasn't sure how anyone had trouble opening it either.

Ouch (4, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698203)

I think I'm gonna be sick.

I mean I know people worship Apple and all. But...come on guys.

Nexus One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698211)

Their packaging for the Nexus One was beautifully done and I don't recall having any kind of frustration opening it. I kept all of it as well. I'll have to ask my brother if he had any rage while opening the 7 since he just received one. ;)

Superficiality carried to its extreme (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698219)

Seriously? There was nothing more important or interesting going on than some nebbish mumbling about the importance of packaging? Even for Apple fanboyism, this reaches new depths. "The boxes sit on shelves serving as a constant reminder of the beauty within." I wish there was a more appropriate and genteel response to that than, "Get a life!", but there you are.

Re:Superficiality carried to its extreme (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698461)

Proud member of the Weirdo-American community.

Huh. Kinda thought you'd embrace Greenfield as one of your own. Must be a schism of some kind.

I wish there was a more appropriate and genteel response to that than, "Get a life!", but there you are.

How about "Splitter!"

Re:Superficiality carried to its extreme (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698607)

I agree that the gushing is... weird. But the Apple packaging is nice, and people do notice it when they purchase Apple products. It's all part of their branding, which is very well managed. Other companies with crappy or hard-to-open packaging risk their branding just a tiny bit.

Nokia has great packaging too! (2)

dwater (72834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698223)

My point being...perhaps the packaging doesn't have much difference to the success of the company as you think...

Apple gift certificates too ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698237)

Recently I bought a "back to school" Mac which came with a gift certificate. And the gift certificate was packaged like a wedding invitation; white, envelope with the flap tucked into a slot on the back (not stuck down, or even tucked fully in), and classily written. And it's not the first Apple product I've seen whose packaging was a minor work of performance art. Perhaps Apple learned this from Japanese custom, but they learned well, and it makes a difference.

Worst wrap-rage of my life: (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698239)

A GoPro camera. Took me about 15 minutes to open it, I had to find a tutorial on YouTube to show me how to do it. I could have just slashed away with a knife or tore into it savagely, but I was trying to open it without wrecking anything and there was no remotely intuitive way to do it. A lot of careful cutting and tearing is required.

Apple good at making stuff easy to open? (5, Funny)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698245)

Can the iPad/iPhone/iX be opened without surgically removing key components yet?

Re:Apple good at making stuff easy to open? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698703)

It's almost universally a PITA to open an Apple product. Even their laptops and computers seem to be designed with dis-assembly as an afterthought. I had an iBook that required almost total dis-assembly just to replace the hard drive (newer models make it trivial). Replacing the screen on an iPhone 3gs is like rocket surgery.

Of course, this only effects a small percentage of their users and does not seem to harm their image with the public-at-large - so it is hard to argue with their business/marketing/engineering decisions. Disposable society and all that...

Dumbest. Post. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698265)

Seriously. WTF slashdot.

Apple has it down to an art and a science (3, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698269)

Every time I get a new Apple product, it's a cool experience. The briefcase style MacBook Pro box is very sleek, and everything inside of it has it's own special compartment, it's own special wrapping, etc. Same thing with an iMac or an iPhone. It really makes you feel like you're getting a luxury item.

Not Google's Fault (1)

8Complex (10701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698273)

I wonder if everyone realizes that it wasn't Google that designed the packaging, but likely they just designed the artwork on the outside.

As for the box itself, it seems that a packaging engineer just got their fit between the two halves a little too tight... it's not like they put it in heat-welded clamshell packaging!

Maybe companies do have personalities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698279)

It's hard to justify love of packaging rationally, but it seems like people do care, and it affects their opinions. Therefore Apple puts effort into packaging; Google does not. Just two different takes on what matters and what doesn't.

Re:Maybe companies do have personalities. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698715)

The sack around a Chivas Regal bottle doesn't make the booze taste better, but the CUSTOMER pays for it and is pleasured thereby.

That sack has sold a lot of booze...

Die Hard 2 troll Harder... (4, Funny)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698281)

"is at least one thing Apple gets that Google does not"

Beeeyotch please...

Questioning Importance of the Box (1)

letsief (1053922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698291)

I think the author is vastly overestimating the importance of the box. Sure, I'll grant you that the Apple boxes are nice, but the only people that get that attached to the box are people that are already attached to the device inside. And that's pretty common for iDevices.

By the way, I didn't have any problems opening the Nexus 7 box. I saw the funny video before I got my device, so I was probably compensating. At least, I had a knife to cut the tape holding the box shut. After that it was smooth sailing. I don't know why the reviewers had such a hard time. Maybe they just had performance anxiety by being on video.

Again, I'll grant that the de-boxing process wasn't as nice as my iPad's box, but it wasn't unpleasant by any means. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being an iPad box and 1 being the stupid sealed plastic containers, I'd put it at about a 7. It wasn't particularly memorable, and that's probably fine.

I confess (4, Interesting)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698295)

I've kept my Apple boxes (Mini, keyboard, MacBook, iPod Touch plastic case, iPad). I don't have them on display nor do I lovingly gaze upon them, they are in my garage. I recognize their superior yet simple functionality and keep them for the day I move and need to pack up the gear. I'd rather use the original packaging since it's obviously designed for its purpose, instead of grabbing some random shoe box. I can't say that for most other product packaging. I especially despise heat-sealed plastic packaging.

Re:I confess (4, Informative)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698761)

I, too, keep the boxes from my iThings, but for another reason. I've found that resale goes WAY up when you sell an Apple product on CL with the original boxing material. I have no idea why, but people really do put a value on Apple's packaging. You are correct, from a design standpoint, they do a really good job; but that's where my love of iBoxes ends. It's a nice tradeoff for me, though, so I'm not really complaining about iBox fever.

Apple has their own retail space. (1)

bedroll (806612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698311)

The simplest answer is that Apple has their own retail space, which is likely the top location for buying their products. They get to dictate that experience and others selling their products must follow. Google has the Play store, but if they ever want the Nexus to be a success it must be displayed at big box retailers where potential buyers can try it out. As it happens, big box retailers like packaging that is difficult to open but attractive otherwise. It's a lousy theft deterrent, but they prefer it to having extra security measures to prevent open box theft. Still, Google should probably have omitted some of the plastic seals for direct sale tablets.

Alternative hypotheses? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698313)

Given that Google has been treading the path of relative minimalism in the packaging for their assorted flagships, I see three basic possibilities:

1. Cargo-cult: Google's cardboard box guru is smart enough to know that Apple makes good cardboard boxes, and has successfully emulated certain elements of them(lack of tacky carrier branding, minimalist design, though usually on a black field rather than a white one, and so forth); but has failed to understand the entire set of variables that go into making a good package, resulting in a close visual reproduction without the functional qualities.

2. Somebody fucked up in production. The design that, indeed, worked perfectly in CAD and in low-volume mockups turned out to have somewhat sloppy tolerances that erred on the side of 'too tight' when X thousand of them showed up in the containers from the pacific rim, at which point it was a bit late to do anything about it. This happens regardless of 'understanding' of the importance of packaging. The acrylic crazing/cracking problems of the old G4 cube, for example, were not caused by the fact that somebody half-assed the aesthetics of the unit; but by inadequate production techniques.

3.(Related to 2) At $200, Google isn't exactly making gigantic margins here, which curtails their ability to do costly things in order to achieve superior results. Preventing #2 type problems can, to a degree, be achieved by throwing more money, scrutiny, and willingness to send it back and have them do it right this time. If one lacks the luxury of money and time, though, one has to accept more limited control and the necessity of sometimes shipping 'good enough' in order to meet deadline. Since irksome packaging isn't a major issue by the standards of what can go wrong with complex electronics, it isn't an unlikely thing to suffer if corners need cutting...

Boxes can be complicated (3, Insightful)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698325)

Packaging can be weird to understand. Some of the simplest-looking boxes are often hard to manufacture and use to package a product on a assembly line.

Remember that customer experience while unpacking is perhaps the most transient, short-lived event in the life of a product. Other factors such as safety while transport, shelf-appearance and the quality of the product itself is far far more important. And lets not get started about environmental costs of packaging.

It is easy to get all of it if you have a profit margin like Apple does - about 50% [techspot.com] . The Nexus has a profit margin of barely 5-7% [cnet.com] . So yes, they may cut corners on the box.

But something tells me people who want a Nexus get that the packaging is irrelevant enough as to be worthless within 2 minutes of the customer having finished it. Unboxing is where the function of packaging finishes.

Seriously? The packaging? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698329)

Must be a great piece of hardware if the only thing she found to bitch about is the packaging.

Life immitates Dilbert (1)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698795)

Yeah, so what if the box is hard to open? Big deal.

It made me think of the animated Dilbert episode where he accidentally introduces a marketing departmental to a successful company:

Marketing: ...and there's a squeaking sound when you take it out of the box.
Dilbert: You mean the styrofoam?
Marketing: That's a LOSER sound! It field tested very badly!

you put your weed in there (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698335)

Why? What does everyone else use the box for?

Re:you put your weed in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698709)

Cat storage [catinabox.com] .

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698339)

I saw the "Nexus 7 Unboxing Montage" video and was like...oh great. But I just picked mine up from the post office this morning and brought it to work today. Took me all of like 30 seconds to unbox it and turn it on. I actually expected there to be some kind of tape on the outside "sliding cover" but there wasn't (spent more time looking for that than actually opening it). Used my car keys to slice the 2 pieces of tape on the inside and it popped open nicely.

Hell, the included micro USB cable is wrapped up in tons of plastic to keep it nice and shiny and it could all be removed by just pulling the extended bits (it would unroll off the adhesive).

Apple's packaging is very Apple-ish (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698343)

I remember setting up an iPad for my sister, the box wasn't particularly stupid or anything but what I remember is that there was a big void between the packaging where the iPad sits and the back of the box. I had to check to see if anything was back there before throwing it out, but this plastic tray the iPad sits in was glued and snapped into it. I pried it off anyways, took a good bit of force. What was back there? Nothing. It was like a trap for hackers, like leaving a puzzle box with nothing inside to mock our curiosity.

Packaging was fine with me (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698365)

I thought some of the latest devices were packaged just fine. I attended I/O and the packaging for the devices they handed out gave me no troubles. I also thought it was designed fairly well. Maybe that is because I'm not one to watch videos of people opening boxes or to film myself doing the same.

Oh, cheap energy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698413)

In 50 years, if people still care, and are able to, they'll read things like this and wonder what the hell we were doing with all the oil endowment we burnt through. We could have built a better world, instead we built better toys. Shame.

On The Other Hand... (3, Insightful)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698419)

...my Google Android phone gets the importance of standard connectors [ninemsn.com.au] .

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698431)

The fact that the initial product unpacking is such an infinitesimally small and insignificant portion of the ownership experience aside, there is always the fear of the Great Fruit filing yet another frivolous lawsuit based on claims of mimicry. The last thing we want is Apple claiming intellectual domain over cardboard boxes.

Mother of god.... (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698433)

It's the nerd rage apocalypse post!

Are you sure packaging is important? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698439)

>> Apple Gets the Importance of Packaging; Why Doesn't Google?

Probably because Google's figured out a way to surpass Apple in the market without farting around with fancy box designs. Seems like packaging isn't that important to gain market share. (Packaging does help artificially inflate the profit on each individual Apple unit; part of the reason I never buy new.)

Re:Are you sure packaging is important? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698595)

First impressions matter. My fiancee and I just got MacBook Air's a little while ago. The packaging was amazing. You literally just slip it out of the box. I'm not the type to care all that much but she was wowed and that set the tone for the use of the device afterwards.

It's just like dressing for an interview. Make a first good impression and tiny flaws after the fact become less of a problem.

Important things, eh? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698449)

So in this "video unwrappings" what we see are people who can't open a box that has a bit of tape on it, presumably because they've set themselves up for the video with themselves, and the box, and nothing else (well, a shirt collar plastic tag in one case).

In the real world, we've just opened the big cardboard box that the smaller box arrived in, and we have a pair of scissors or a knife in hand to cut through that bit of tape.

The videos are really "how I can't open a box" videos. Pitiful.

Admittedly, Apple's packaging is great, but in the end it's packaging, it's opened once and the box ends up in a drawer, on a shelf, in the loft or in the bin. Not a big deal, totally forgotten about once you've got the device in your hands, powered on, browsing your favourite porn^Hweb site.

Excessive packaging (1)

TomC2 (755722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698455)

A couple of weeks ago I bought an OSX Lion USB stick from Apple online. I was staggered when I received a large-ish (A4-sized) jiffy bag, which when I opened it, contained another jiffy bag, about half the size. Then I opened this up and found my USB stick, attached to a piece of pretty white cardboard with a plastic blister. Yet the USB stick itself is one of the smallest I have ever seen. I wondered if they cut down on this a bit, they could perhaps bring the GBP£55 price down a bit...

HP Touchpad: THE best packaging (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698459)

I've opened many a tech device from various manufacturers, including Apple, and the best quality packaging I have seen has been for the HP Touchpad and accessories. The materials were good quality heavy-weight and well designed. The Touchpad was definitely designed to be a premium product. It's too bad that it was never really given a chance.

The easiest packaging that I have dealt with is the Amazon frustration free packaging. You just open a box, and there it is...

Apple packaging is what I would call average. Most manufacturers have below average packaging to save costs. This is what makes Apple packaging look better. If you compared the Apple packaging to the Touchpad packaging you would be amazed at how flimsy the Apple packaging really is, in comparison.

First World Problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698467)

Seriously? Wrap-rage? Only in America can people buy some of the most sophisticated machines in the world and then complain about having to open their packaging with scissors.

If you think it's hard to open the packaging, imagine how hard it was for the the kids who made it to put it in the packaging in the first place.

#spoiledbrats

Maybe Apple has a patent on cool boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698485)

Nuff said.

Heat Sealed Packaging and Big Box Store Returns (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698489)

While I do not enjoy trying to get into the hardened, heat sealed packages that a lot of things come in these days, I do like them. The reason I like them is that they require physical destruction of the package to open. This makes it much harder for certain big box electronics stores to resell used/returned items as new.

Boxes (1)

FadedTimes (581715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698491)

I do like the Apple boxes more than many other products, but they sit in a dark closet with my comic book boxes. So the effect is really nice at first, but it is forgettable.

Error in summary, carefully fixed (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698541)

'Instead of forgotten in a dump or recycling facility, the boxes sit on shelves serving as a constant reminder that there are hoards of people on eBay willing to pay top dollar for your gently used iDevice when you're done with it, and having that all-important box increases the value of the resale"

There were two reasons I got an iPhone instead of an Android device when I abandoned WinMo - better apps for musicians (now that is no longer the case) and high resale value. That latter was an important point - if I didn't like my iPhone, I knew I could resell it for at or above(!) what I paid for it. In fact, I bought a 3GS used to try out the device, then two months later sold it for ~$10 less than I paid - net - when the 4 came out. Same thing happened with an iPad - when v2 came out I picked up a used v1, Apple refurb'd wi-fi model. Within two weeks I found that I go a lot of places that don't have wifi, so I boxed it back up and re-sold it for $25 MORE than I paid for it.

With most iDevices, there is little chance you'll end up with a dud that gets relegated to the bargain bin a month after you bought it. Being able to advertise a lightly used device in the box with all the accessories makes it very, very attractive to buyers.

Smarter Than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698563)

Umm, should one really be using a technical product if they are not smart enough to open the box? Stupid is as stupid does. I suppose that the theft prevention of a couple strips of tape is working.

Dont get it (1)

tom229 (1640685) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698601)

People are strange... packaging is irrelevant.

Not my biggest worry. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698627)

You know, while it's quite nice to have a good box, since I'm going to use it once, I can live with this being mildly inconvenient.

If the recharge socket was in an inconvenient place, or it was easy to accidentally press the power button, I'd see the issue. This will be a problem again and again.

I'm sure they're great, but I've never head an Apple user wax lyrical about the packaging, and these people not exactly shy about extolling the virtues of their gadgets. they have other things to get excited about.

The only people who need to unwrap a device of a specific type more than once a year or so are incurable gadget addicts, and reviewers. I'm not one of them.

Stupid video (1)

blogan (84463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698643)

The one guy uses his collar thing to try and open it? That's the wrong tool, of course it's going to be hard. I think some Apple people like to focus on something they're better at and give it more weight than it demands. I opened my Nexus 7 and had no issue with it. I'll never open it again.

On the other hand, if you thought about being able to load apps that aren't approved by the manufacturer, that's a feature you'll want since it's ongoing.

Apple fanboi trolling (1)

spivster (1136769) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698657)

You have got to be kidding me. I've never bought an Apple product, so I can't comment on the packaging, but my Nexus 7 arrived a couple of days ago, and I thought it was quite nicely packaged. A couple of scissor snips and the dreaded taped sides were open. This post is Apple fanboi trolling at its finest.

The Rise and Fall of Humankind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698659)

In the beginning, Humankind had to fight predators, disease, hunger... often meaning certain death. Every day was a hard-fought battle for survival of the tribe.

In the end, Humankind has to fight a box. It has two plastic stickers. "oh no, we're doomed!"

Frustration-Free Packaging (1)

AlKaMo (106874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698665)

Personally, I prefer Amazon's take on packaging [amazon.com] to Apple's. It may not be as pretty, but it's designed to be easy to ship, open, unpack and recycle. Coincidentally (or not), that happens to be the sequence of events where I will actually interact with the packaging.

Only iDiots iCare (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698675)

The only people who care about packaging are already apple fan-dweeb.

IMHO the best packaging is the cheapest package that gets the product to the user safely. period. Anything above that is just art students masturbating on each other.

Invasion (5, Insightful)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698713)

Did Slashdot get invaded by Engadget? Are we already living in the era of idiocracy?

I find it hard to understand how a difficult to open packaging could lead to comparisons between two major technology companies. Oh, by the way, Motorola sold their phones in smoothly sliding boxes way before the iPhone was launched, so it is not like it is yet another of Apple's 'innovations'.

To tell you the truth, I find these huge number of insipid 'unboxing videos' and 'reviews' to be an insult to the intelligence of discerning viewers and readers who might be actually looking for useful information about a product.

If I'm a fan of anyone's packaging (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698737)

It's Nintendo's. Simple, minimalistic, 100% recycled, and humble. No fancy plastic trays, metallic emblems or anything. Just a simple, small, eco-friendly box. Mind you I haven't bought anything from them since the original DS.

Use the Right Tool, if you can get to it (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698741)

Remember those special scissors sold on TV that were designed specifically to open those hard plastic packages. Yes, they were sold in a hard plastic package.

Packaging complaints - one more thing. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698747)

The only person who has anything worth saying regarding packaging and how difficult it is to open is Jerome K Jerome. [fmmcpherson.com]

I would much rather... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698755)

put the $300-some dollars that I saved by going Nexus and put that up on the shelf. I think that would make me happier than any cardboard box. Of course, then I'll eventually spend it... hmmmm...

Ars Tech talked about this ages ago (5, Insightful)

caveat (26803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698793)

John Siracusa wrote a full page [arstechnica.com] on the literal "out of box" experience with the G4 Cube, it seems it's still relevant today:

Who cares what the packing materials are like? What does this have to do with the quality of the product? Is nice styrofoam supposed to make up for the huge price tag? But step back a minute and consider Apple's motivation here. Like other "boutique" brands (e.g. Bose or Bang & Olufsen), it's important for Apple to provide a uniformly high quality experience with its products. And yes, that certainly includes packaging. In fact, psychologically, packaging may be one of the most important first impressions. The customer needs to be reassured from the very start that their money was well spent. It's not so much that they'll be impressed by the packaging, it's just important to prevent the feeling of "cheapness" that might result if "standard" packaging materials and techniques are used. Welcome to the wonderful world of marketing.

Love or hate Apple, but they think everything through.

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