Whatever your particular bent on the iPhone it’s hard to argue it’s success in terms of initial customer satisfaction and sales numbers from studies that have been generated and then placed for all to see. And even when you consider the tech media’s typical bent for jumping on the next “shiny” thing and touting it the bringer of world peace, the ender of world hunger, and the final unifying force that brings together IT and users, it has to be noticed that there has been rarely a product launch with so few outwardly negative reviews.
I think a great deal of this positive reaction is from Apple nailing the so called “peak experience” (to borrow a phrase from Danese Cooper) with the iPhone.
Again this isn’t about whether the iPhone supports Exchange, or whether a given developer has access to the underlying API’s, but simply whether or not it hits the peak experience for users and stays there after opening the box.
I’ve been living in the tech space and trying out a ton of new hardware and software daily for the better part of 15 years now and rarely have I seen such a unity of review feedback.
When consumers (not IT, not Graphic Artists, not Developers, but USERS) ask for computing power they are rarely asking for it for it just for the sake of it. Most consumers don’t get their neighbors excited by telling them about the new Dual Core or Mobile Processor they bought but about what they can “do” with it. And more and more they are trying to get to a “peak experience” right out of the box where the product just works and keeps on working at that peak experience level post initial blush with the product.
This is important because I think we are going to hit a watershed sometime very soon where users simply demand a peak computing experience all the time. Not in terms of raw power, not in terms of breadth of capabilities, but simply in that in gets the job done with a high degree of fidelity and speed and does so every time.
The old jokes about if cars were built like computers, etc. will simply fall on ears that cease to hear the humor in the jokes anymore.
I think most technology revolutions get a generation or maybe two to work the kinks out. Trains for the first few generations could run at the pace of horse and people would still ride them. Planes could fly into the clouds and not be seen or heard from again, and Ships could set out to see and never been seen again. But after a while the kinks were worked out so that Ships made it to port, planes made a safe landing, and trains got up to speed (pardon the pun).
The model used for developing software is a fundamental part of the process of getting to the level of peak experiences and hence peak experiences make a good subject for our efforts.
So what do the readers of this blog think? Can either OpenSource products or Microsoft really hit the peak experience bar consistently and over time?
Which software development model eventually gets to the peak experience faster and keeps us there?