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Steve Jobs Hates Buttons

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the also-buffy-hates-vampires dept.

713

ElvaWSJ writes "While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics. The iPhone is Steve Jobs's attempt to crack a juicy new market for Apple Inc. But it's also part of a decades-long campaign by Mr. Jobs against a much broader target: buttons. The new Apple cellphone famously does without the keypads that adorn its rivals. Instead, it offers a touch-sensing screen for making phone calls and tapping out emails. The resulting look is one of the sparest ever for Apple, a company known for minimalist gadgets. "

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Buttons!? (0)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983231)

We don't need no stinkin' buttons!

Re:Buttons!? (3, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983337)

This is kind of stupid considering that the buttons are now just internal to the system. I thought it was going to be some comparison with the click wheel or something. Aaaargh I'm getting dragged into another Apple conversation on Slashdot. Why God, why!?

Re:Buttons!? (2)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983461)

You may want buttons when it makes sense, gestures when it makes sense and motion-detection when it makes sense. The iPhone "soft-buttons" and multi-touch screen and orientation sensing can cover pretty much all three.

Not to say I don't like My Nokia E62 - it's great to be able to ssh myself out of a problem - and I am even considering a E61i when my phone operator is ready to give me one for free.

While very interesting, I will wait for an Apple-supported iPhone development toolchain before seriously considering jumping in.

Re:Buttons!? (3, Insightful)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983433)

Admittedly I haven't tried the iphone yet, I may try one out but i'm not excited about the complete lack of buttons. Currently with my treo i can type out a phone number by feel while driving, or type out a text with the phone in my pocket. Also the buttons give you a confirmation that you gave input, as you can feel the button go down. Without being able to feel a keyboard it seems like typing could be a pain.

Obligatory... (1, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983549)

Mr. Ego said it best: iPhone vs. E70 [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Re:Buttons!? (5, Funny)

briggsb (217215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983563)

That's why the next-generation iPod [bbspot.com] will have no user interface controls.

Obviously... (5, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983243)

They should have had the Thing using one of the prototype iPhones in the first Fantastic Four movie when he was trying to call his girlfriend..."Damn buttons!!!"

How is the buttonless iphone to use (2, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983259)

I've seen the flashy videos, but how easy is it to type on the damn thing without tactile feedback.

I've got a little T-Mobile Dash/ HTC Excalibur and i can actually type really quickly on its tiny keyboard. I find it hard to believe that without feedback it could be better.

Re:How is the buttonless iphone to use (3, Informative)

qualidafial (967876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983427)

The hard part for me was that to type a letter you have to cover the letter with your finger; I'm used to palm pilot so tended to type with the tip of my finger and got the key below and outside the one I was aiming for. It takes a little getting used to but after a few days use you can type nearly as fast.

What would really help is if all of iPhone's apps used the widescreen keyboard when you turn the unit sideways. For now it only does this in Safari (and it has to be in landscape mode before you bring up the keyboard).

Re:How is the buttonless iphone to use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983455)

I only tried an iPhone briefly in the store, but text entry seemed pretty good for me. My hands aren't especially large, though, which may help. Text entry is faster than Graffiti on a Palm (which I've used for many years), and seemed competitive with the tiny slide-out keyboard on the Zaurus I used to own.

The technology behind Apple's implementation is really pretty clever, expanding the effective touch area around keys that are most likely to follow others ("q" is far more likely to be followed by a "u" than a "k", for instance). As I said, I only played with the thing briefly, but it worked far better than I expected.

Re:How is the buttonless iphone to use (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983531)

I thought the same thing, especially with the graphical buttons being so small. But when I tried it at the store I was immediately typing at least as fast as I can on other phone keyboards. Of course the experience will probably differ with many people. Personally I guess I don't need tactile feedback since I stare at the tiny keys anyway.

Re:How is the buttonless iphone to use (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983575)

typing isnt good, but everything else is. the area to select a single letter is too small, and you often hit the wrong one. it takes some getting used to.

Problem is.... (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983263)

Buttons are intuitive.

I design high end interfaces for home theaters (where the remote it's self costs around $2500.00US or more.) and the number one thing my customers like is not the fancy graphics, cool animations or nicely laid out controls on the touchscreen.. but the VOLUME CONTROL HARD BUTTONS built into the side edge. They like being able to without looking press volume up or down or mute instead of having to look at the screen and press a non tactile feedback graphical button.

Buttons have their use, you cant get rid of them.

Re:Problem is.... (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983323)

Digital watches? button mania has infected consumer electronics since the overloaded buttons of digital watches. These are not intuitive.

Re:Problem is.... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983381)

Ever used the Timex Triathlon? Finally a watch with an Up and a Down button so I don't have to push the button 45 times to get from :30 to :15. I swear by that watch- but I know what you mean, I went through elementary, middle, and high with a casio calculator watch :)

2500$ for a remote? (2, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983385)

The best remote is the one my dear friend MKP had. That remote could obey the phone commands, turn on the fan, open the windows and put the tea kettle on the stove. It was a boy from Orissa working for some 500Rs a month. Oh! Those were the days. Mohan! Where are you!!!

Re:Problem is.... (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983401)

You aren't seriously putting remote controls up as an example of why buttons are good are you?

Re:Problem is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983513)

Not a remote with a lot of buttons; a remote with a few buttons for common functions and then an easier to use touchscreen. For example, volume buttons, perhaps a play/pause button, and a power button. Most touchscreen phones have a few that act as soft keys and send/end keys, along with a scroll wheel and/or direction key.

Re:Problem is.... (3, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983449)

Half of the buttons on the iPhone are . . . volume buttons.

-Peter

Re:Problem is.... (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983463)

And we should value the opinions of people who spend $2,500 on a remote?

Re:Problem is.... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983591)

Well, it takes some pretty damned impressive idiot savants to earn that kind of money when they are so clearly too stupid to even know how to reasonably spend it. But then again, George W. Bush got elected President of the United States--and look at HIM.

Re:Problem is.... (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983647)

And we should value the opinions of people who spend $2,500 on a remote?

Sure, if they were my customers spending $2500 on a remote, I would value their opinions most highly.

Would you like an extra button on that button sir?

Re:Problem is.... (0, Troll)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983491)

Buttons are intuitive.

I think you mean, some buttons are intuitive.

I have an apple TV, and various DVD players and amps. The tiny clicker that comes with the Apple TV is a joy to use compared with the horrible big remote controls covered in buttons of the other hardware.

I would hope, as a designer of interfaces, that you would at least be able to appreciate some of the good things of apple design. Otherwise I'm afraid you're probably doing the wrong job!
 

Re:Problem is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983511)

it's self



Your post it's self proves that you're working for electronic company. I've read many manuals written by you.

Re:Problem is.... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983527)

Buttons are intuitive.
No interface control is intuitive by itself.

The problem with buttons is that once you have more than a very low number of them, it becomes more and more difficult to find the right one, and the real estate wasted on the interface gets larger and larger.

I bet you that right now you have at least 10 keys on the keyboard in front of you that you press less than once a day on average. I know I do. Your phone probably has at least one button on it that you've not used at all for the past month, if not the past year.

Having it there anyway is a waste of space, weight, complexity and neural processing power because your brain has to work to ignore it.

Re:Problem is.... (1)

Jamu (852752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983571)

A couple of buttons is certainly a tactile improvement to a touchscreen, but a volume knob would be better where practical. A button for the mute I agree with, especially if it stays depressed for mute, until you press it again. Force feedback is interesting but nothing beats good hardware for the more permanent aspects of a user interface.

Re:Problem is.... (4, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983605)

I agree. There's a saying for it already: 'There's a time and place for everything.' Buttons, like everything else, have proper uses and can be abused. It's up to the designer to design it properly.

I just checked with my friend who has an iPhone, and it -does- have hard buttons for volume on the side. So as much as he hates them, he didn't go crazy.

Buttons You Say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983267)

Please tell me once more how Mr Jobs dislikes buttons. I don't think it's getting through.

Re:Buttons You Say? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983347)

What? I don't understand your accent.. what don't you think is getting through? Did you mean:

I don't think it's getting through. Please tell me once more how Mr Jobs dislikes buttons. I don't think it's getting through.
What? I don't understand your accent..

Re:Buttons You Say? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983615)

While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics.

No, really?

Yes, while many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics.

Oh, okay.

Mrs. Jobs is a lucky woman (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983273)

He'll never push her buttons

Re:Mrs. Jobs is a lucky woman (4, Funny)

saider (177166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983429)

He's still going to insist that the interface responds the way he wants it to when he touches it.

Re:Mrs. Jobs is a lucky woman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983559)

Unfortunately there's one button that she definitely wants pushed.

Re:Mrs. Jobs is a lucky woman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983689)

No, it just simply means that he finds the interface confusing and non-intuitive in comparison to what he's used to. Men everywhere can probably sympathize.

Blemishes (5, Funny)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983279)

Similarly, CmdrTaco considers editors to be blemishes that add complexity and hinder the clean aesthetics of Slashdot. He considers them to be blemishes that add complexity and hinder the clean aesthetics of Slashdot.

Re:Blemishes (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983411)

Is that so? Interesting. Personally, I've always considered them to be blemishes that add complexity and hinder the clean aesthetics of Slashdot.

Re:Blemishes (3, Funny)

berashith (222128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983535)

i would agree that dupes are blemishes that add complexity and hinder the clean aesthetics of Slashdot, and should be consolidated into single articles that dupe themselves inside of themselves to avoid blemishes that add complexity and hinder clean aesthetics.

Re:Blemishes (0, Offtopic)

gregarican (694358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983415)

Reminds me of the old "Saturday Night Live" skit with the gangsters all talking in the bar/restaurant. Wasn't Jon Lovitz some guy named Tommy Two-times? "Gotta pick up the papers. Pick up the papers." Or perhaps it's similar to more profound autism. Rain Man definitely knows it's time for Wapner. Time for Wapner...

Re:Blemishes (0, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983473)

You're thinking of the movie "Goodfellas," or, at least, an SNL parody of it.

Re:Blemishes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983537)

Reminds me of the old "Saturday Night Live" skit with the gangsters all talking in the bar/restaurant. Wasn't Jon Lovitz some guy named Tommy Two-times? "Gotta pick up the papers. Pick up the papers."

That wasn't SNL or Jon Lovitz, that was the movie Goodfellas. I don't know the actor's name, but Tommy Two-times is a character in the movie whose only purpose seems to be the scene you mentioned.

Re:Blemishes (0, Offtopic)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983543)

While I don't doubt SNL did something related to this I beleive the Tommy Two-Times reference is from Good Fellows. When the guys in the local gangsta bar are being introduced they mention Tommy Two-Times and he says something like:

"Hey, how you doin', how you doin'"

Re:Blemishes (0, Offtopic)

malfunct (120790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983417)

Yeah, the dupes around here are getting so bad that we have a dupe inside a single post.

Re:Blemishes (0, Offtopic)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983519)

from the dapartment of redundancy department (tagging beta)

Oh look, it's Apple O'Clock (-1, Troll)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983281)

It's obviously time for another iPhone article... ho-hum.

Re:Oh look, it's Apple O'Clock (2, Funny)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983653)

You fool! There [gizmodo.com] is [nytimes.com] nothing [arstechnica.com] else [tuaw.com] worth [persistent.info] talking [poopforbrains.com] about [piratepalooza.com] in [gizmodo.com] the [thebestpag...iverse.net] entire [phillryu.com] industry [engadget.com] !

You might think people are obsessed. [youtube.com]

department of redundancy department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983293)

Yes, but does Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics?

Editors (1, Redundant)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983295)

I must be new here.. don't the editors read the summaries before posting them?

"While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics. The iPhone is Steve Jobs's attempt to crack a juicy new market for Apple Inc. But it's also part of a decades-long campaign by Mr. Jobs against a much broader target: buttons. The new Apple cellphone famously does without the keypads that adorn its rivals. Instead, it offers a touch-sensing screen for making phone calls and tapping out emails. The resulting look is one of the sparest ever for Apple, a company known for minimalist gadgets. While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics."

Re:Editors (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983375)

Indeed, you MUST be new here.

Re:Editors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983407)

Not only that, but I understand that Mr. Jobs treats buttons as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics.

A dupe in TFS! (0, Offtopic)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983465)

In keeping with the policy of duping articles as much as possible, the editors have elected to start duping stories within the summary itself.

I, for one, welcome out new summary duping overlords.

This is the kind of real innovation that Microsoft can only dream of!

I, for one, welcome out new summary duping overlords.

Re:Editors (0, Offtopic)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983523)

Maybe instead of the also-buffy-hates-vampires dept. it should be from the dept.-of-Redundancy dept.

Re:Editors (0, Offtopic)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983545)

Redundantly expressing that buttons are redundant blemishes ... a blemished way of saying that the blemish of buttons is redundant.

/PSA from the department of redundancy department.

Re:Editors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983623)

On interesting thing about Steve Jobs that wasn't really mentioned in the article: he doesn't like buttons. While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics.

Obligatory Re: Editors (0, Offtopic)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983633)

I think this is a clear indication that we're in trouble!

Neo: Whoa. Déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing. Just had a little déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure.
Morpheus: Switch! Apoc!
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

Cant find MB2 and MB3 #$^%&* (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983301)

AT kleast in old Macs.

what all he hates? (0, Troll)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983303)

Jobs probably hates user replaceable batteries even more. According to one article he "hated" the NeXT assembly line moving from right to left, when looked out of his office, and got it reversed. Is he Dumbledore or Voldemart GOK.

/. readers hate ... (1, Redundant)

starving4clarity (862401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983307)

...when summaries dupe themselves "While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics... While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics."

Re:/. readers hate ... (0, Redundant)

tmjr3353 (925558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983667)

Are you kidding? Making dupes by this method is way more efficient.

Alternate Keypad (5, Funny)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983309)

Funny Jobs hates buttons. Because you know what I hate? Alternate Keypads [thebestpag...iverse.net] .

From the Best Site in the Universe: [thebestpag...iverse.net]
On an iPhone, you have to press an additional button that opens up an alternate keypad that will allow you to type numbers and punctuation. So typing something as simple as elipses (...) requires you to tap your finger 9 times. Enjoy your phone, losers! People like me who have shit to do will stick to a keyboard that doesn't have its lips wrapped firmly to the user-interface equivalent of a throbbing dong

Maddox's Take on the iPhone and... BUTTONS (4, Funny)

madsheep (984404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983313)

Note: This is *NOT* child or work-safe material, but is funny as hell whether you like the iPhone or not. If you haven't seen it and have a sense of humor..read on:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=ip hone [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Clarity (-1, Redundant)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983315)

"While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics. The iPhone is Steve Jobs's attempt to crack a juicy new market for Apple Inc. But it's also part of a decades-long campaign by Mr. Jobs against a much broader target: buttons. The new Apple cellphone famously does without the keypads that adorn its rivals. Instead, it offers a touch-sensing screen for making phone calls and tapping out emails. The resulting look is one of the sparest ever for Apple, a company known for minimalist gadgets. While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics."
Thanks for clearing that up, just in case I didn't hear it the first time...

Fastest dupe ever (5, Funny)

jsse (254124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983317)

"While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics.....While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics. "

CmdrTaco managed to break the record of fastest dupe by duping first sentence in the same headline.

Re:Fastest dupe ever (0, Redundant)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983425)

GOTO 10

But Maddoz says... (1, Redundant)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983319)

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=ip hone [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Read the part about buttons...actually just read the whole thing.

Re:But Maddoz says... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983583)

This is lame. Having to run perl just to restart Apache and to print a message?! Come on...

A shell script could have done that.

And, BTW, real people use Emacs.

Buck Murdock (2, Funny)

memeplex (910698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983321)

Oh, cut the bleeding heart crap will ya? We've got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking, beeping and flashing - they're flashing and they're beeping. I can't stand it anymore! They're blinking and beeping and flashing! Why doesn't somebody pull the plug!

Re:Buck Murdock (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983345)

Surely Steve's attitude leaves no room for the No sh*t Sherlock button that articles like this require?

Re:Buck Murdock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983547)

No, it doesn't - and don't call me Shirley.

fat fingers work with buttons (1, Redundant)

gatzke (2977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983335)

I personally like tactile feedback. Maybe I have fat fingers, but the iPhone just did not work for me.

Right click can be useful too. Maybe even center and scroll. Call me nutty, but form follows function.

Maddox agrees:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=ip hone [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Re:fat fingers work with buttons (1)

mosch (204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983557)

Maybe I could learn to use the iPhone in time, but out of the box, I couldn't type on it at all. I assume my fingers were too large.

That said, I loved the way everything except typing works on the iPhone. Everything is faster and easier than it is on my BlackBerry. Right up until the point where I want to use the keyboard.

I wish I had a button... (1, Troll)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983341)

.. for a hardware reset on my iPod so every time the fucking thing crashed I wouldn't have to wait for the battery to die to be able to listen to music.

Re:I wish I had a button... (1)

mrbanzai (799285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983431)

I believe it's (Menu + Center button) for 5 secs ... don't have it on me right now, so I can't validate, though. 'Tis annoying that it's so obtuse, though.

Re:I wish I had a button... (1)

JoaoPinheiro (749991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983485)

But you do. Keep the Menu and the Centre buttons pressed simultaneously for a couple of seconds; that'll make the iPod reboot itself.

Re:I wish I had a button... (2, Informative)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983497)

Like it says on the Apple support page for the iPod and in the manual: hold menu + select for five seconds and the device will reboot.

Re:I wish I had a button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983507)

There is...
      1. Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Slide it to Hold, then turn it off again.)
      2. Press and hold the Menu and Center (Select) buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears, about 6 to 10 seconds. You may need to repeat this step.

I've done this a few times with mine.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=617 05 [apple.com]

Bookends (1, Funny)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983343)

It is interesting to note that we must now bookend our paragraphs with the same sentences at the beginning and end. I, for one, don't care much for this new trend...and lets be honest, can we even call it a trend? More of a fad, really, I should think. Either way, it just seems patently redundant, even repetitive. But who am I to question authority? I pretty much just tag along, blindly unaware of my absolute devotion to society's will. It is interesting to note that we must now bookend our paragraphs with the same sentences at the beginning and end.

Re:Bookends (0, Redundant)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983389)

Maybe he's stuck in a loop...

"While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics. The iPhone is Steve Jobs's attempt to crack a juicy new market for Apple Inc. But it's also part of a decades-long campaign by Mr. Jobs against a much broader target: buttons. The new Apple cellphone famously does without the keypads that adorn its rivals. Instead, it offers a touch-sensing screen for making phone calls and tapping out emails. The resulting look is one of the sparest ever for Apple, a company known for minimalist gadgets. While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics. The iPhone is Ste..."

Buttons as Features (4, Informative)

martyb (196687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983353)

FTFS:

While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Steve Jobs treats them as blemishes [CC] that add complexity and hinder their clean aesthetics.

I see his point, but OTOH, there are times when buttons ARE preferable. I can text a message on my cellphone without looking at the phone because there is a tactile reference to where each key is located. This is quite handy (pun intended!) Try texting a message inconspicuously at your next boring meeting.

Of Course He Does (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983367)

Freak button accident when he was seven.

It's no coincidence that he always wears a mock turtleneck sweater with no buttons to kill him on the front and a pair of zippered jeans.

You think Ballmer's a nut, you should see Jobs talk to his employees: "For every button I find on this interface, I shall kill you ..."

hmm (1)

isntwargreat (836273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983373)

Uh, it still has virtual buttons...
I see where he's coming from in terms of aesthetics, but i think it often makes the interfaces worse. For example, I am constantly annoyed by my inability to change the volume of a song while I'm in the menu of my ipod. We still want the extra features, even minus the buttons, so the items tend to get incorporated into the GUI. Not sure that's so great, but I suppose it takes the pressure off the industrial designers.

Re:hmm (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983629)

Exactly. He criticizes buttons -- and releases a device that creates buttons on demand! Buttons are not the problem; the problem is failing to adhere to "right tool for the job". Instead we have "newest tool for the job" or "flashiest tool for the job".

That's not the only thing... (0, Flamebait)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983377)

I think Steve Jobs actually hates users as well.

chicken or egg? (5, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983387)

*looks into the future*

How do you turn off the monitor?

It's easy, you just use the touch screen button there.

Oh, then how do you turn it back on? ...

Nice dig at Apple users, there, Roger (0)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983421)

FTA:

Roger Kay, a technology consultant who does work for Microsoft, says there's legitimacy to both the Microsoft and Apple camps' differing approaches to buttons. "If you're a wonk and you want lots of controls and features, Microsoft is right for you," Mr. Kay says. "If you want a simple experience and you're not tech-savvy, then you'll probably do better with Apple."
Hah. Nice dig at Apple users.

Seriously, though, wouldn't the truly tech-savvy not need a million buttons, one for each feature/control? Wouldn't the truly "wonky" be able to do more with less?

I'd say if you're not tech-savvy, you're probably better off with the option where every command gets its own button so you don't get confused by things like so-called "menus" and "touch screens".

buttons arent bad. (1, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983451)

I dont mind buttons at all. In fact I think the biggest mistake with the ipod is the lack of buttons. A quick and easy way to switch tracks AND volume should be required on all mp3 devices. Having to go through a menu system to change volume is silly. (not to mention the lack of FM)

Granted, i dislike the typical A-B button and other shortcuts electronics manufacturers go through, but buttons can be done right. Its a shame no one is really trying. Softkeys can be a lot worse than buttons. Buttons should be there for basic functionality and be spaced out enough so users can click on them without looking at them.

Aesthetics arent everything. For instance, i much prefer a thumb keyboard than a virtual one.

Re:buttons arent bad. (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983627)

I dont mind buttons at all. In fact I think the biggest mistake with the ipod is the lack of buttons. A quick and easy way to switch tracks AND volume should be required on all mp3 devices. Having to go through a menu system to change volume is silly.

Dude, what are you on, and can I have some?

Tactile Feedback (5, Interesting)

iBod (534920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983453)

How can sight-impaired users make use of a buttonless phone?

In the EU there is already legislation to make software, websites and devices accessible. The buttonless iPhone must score pretty low on the accessibility scale.

Re:Tactile Feedback (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983675)

How can sight-impaired users make use of a buttonless phone?
They can't.

Why should the other 99% of the population abstain from it?

I'm all for developing devices that make life easier for disabled people.
I'm very strongly against making life more difficult or limited for the rest of us in order to cater to them.

Pushing conventions has its rewards (3, Insightful)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983469)

This is well in keeping with Apple's philosophy of often breaking convention for "minimalism," which has simply been met with mixed success.

iMac -- made the "minimalist" move of omitting the floppy. I remember thinking at the time back in the late 90's this would create a data island, and being quite uncomfortable with the decision -- today, most would feel this was a smart move, and the ubiquitous USB drive has replaced the clunky floppy. Overall, a success.

Mouse -- keeps on pushing the minimalist single button. I detest this, and know many people (linux, mac, and pc users) that feel the same. Another button simply adds to the functionality -- I right click several hundred times per day, and don't want combo presses or holding down to approximate this. Overall, I view this as a bad move.

iPhone -- we'll see the verdict regarding this. I, for one, would appreciate a "hang up" button as I tend to push this a million times when I want to hang up... it is nice to have a solid feeling as you wait for the UI to respond. With a softkey, did you really hit it? Did the UI register it? You don't know without watching the screen. I view this as a bit extreme, but we will see if people complain. Buttons have their place when well-implemented.

Can you imagine getting on a "soft-key" elevator? I think it would be cool at first, then really annoying.

I'm happy that Apple pushes technology like this, but only in ways that force adoption of a better technology.

Ah well, we can all "vote with our wallet..."

No iBox (1)

Tabernaque86 (1046808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983479)

So this is why Apple isn't bothering to challenge M$ at video game consoles.

Jobs is an Switchofascist (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19983487)

Always wearing those black, buttonless turtlenecks. All his jeans have zippers only. And button flies are completely banned on any Apple campus.

His unbridled hatred of buttons goes back to his childhood experience with a vending machine which consistently failed to deliver Andy Capp's Hot Fries, instead dropping the unwanted carrot sticks.

That's right! (1)

iBod (534920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983501)

It's all balck, zippered Spandex for Steve!

Steve Jobs goes too far (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983515)

The one big advantage with buttons is that they work the same for everyone. Touchscreens and touchpads on the other hand give different output depending on the physical characteristics (namely finger size) of the user.

I used to share Mr. Jobs' disdain for buttons. Then I went out and bought an iPod Nano. I found that the touch-wheel on the Nano was unbearably sensitive, given my somewhat larger than average thumbs. There's no real way to tune the sensitivity of the touch-wheel, either, like you can with laptop touchpads.

Does he hate blind people too? (2, Interesting)

smurphmeister (1132881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983525)

It seems like the iPhone (which I'm still drooling over!) seem pretty hard to use for the blind. Some sort of non-visual feedback is pretty much required for them!

Great idea for products that already exist (2, Interesting)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983555)

While this is a great idea for entering markets when you are no longer on the bleeding edge how easy is it to have no buttons when you are right on that edge. The two devices that he's done the most design work to remove buttons are the ipod, and the iphone. Neither of these were cutting edge when they came out.If anything this aversion to buttons has proven that you can develop market space in an already saturated marked by working to simplify the interface.

Cell phones have been around a long time. People should be working to simplify them now. However I still like my cell phone with buttons from last year because I could call people before the iPhone released.

Behind you! (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983621)

In other news, Buttons hates Steve Jobs. Cinderella and Puss-in-boots aren't keen on him either.

Obviously. (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983637)

Steve doesn't need buttons, he uses his mind.

Handycapped discrimination... (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983679)

I love being able to pick up my phone while half asleep and use it without opening my eyes... the handycapped / disabled is one market apple will never do well in so long as they are anti-button.

Doesn't hate buttons. Hates Genericy (5, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19983683)

Steve Jobs doesn't hate buttons at all. The iPhone comes with more buttons than any other smart phone on the planet. What Jobs (and people at Apple in general) hate is "Genericy" (if that is even a word), as in buttons that aren't really tailored for any one use but serve multiple masters.

The iPhone does in fact have five physical buttons - a sleep/wake button, a home button, a volume up/down button, and a silencer (OK, technically that's a switch).

But then you are discounting the noise less real, even if lacking physical feedback, buttons that appear on the screen in each application, tailored to each task. If these are not real buttons, than neither are membrane style buttons as on the Timex-Sinclair ZX-81 of old.

That tailoring is what Apple really likes, being able to arrange input aspects just so for each task. Perhaps the best example of this is the keyboard for the web browser on the iPhone; why have a space bar when entering URL's? This is replaced by "/" and ".com" keys which makes a tremendous amount of sense.

Apple loves task focused UI, and a mostly virtual button approach allows them to get closer to that than would be otherwise possible on a smaller consumer device built to perform a number of very different tasks.
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