Posted on | May 17, 2012 | No Comments
One of the reasons why Apple may be considering buying German TV maker, Loewe, may be due to its transparent television. At first, one may think: what value does the transparency add? And are the pictures transparent too? The answer to the latter is that while the screen is transparent when the TV is off, the pictures look “solid” when the TV is on. The unit essentially looks like a large glass screen supported by a base at the bottom. So, the answer to the former is that the transparency really adds no added features to the functionality of the TV. But what it does is it adds an inescapable coolness to the product that only companies like Apple and a few others have been able to include in their products through the design (or look and feel) of a product.
One could simply dismiss such a design as being frivolous and meaningless, but then one would make the same mistake that Bill Gates (or worse, Steve Ballmer) made of Steve Jobs. The Microsoft boys never really understood the impact of product design and focused more on dominating the computer industry by focusing on selling functionality in their slowly evolving software products. Indeed, an infamous video of Steve Ballmer exists on YouTube where he is seen laughing at the iPhone when it first came out due to its initial high cost and lack of a keyboard. In a business setting, a dull computer with a dell operating system may be OK since the person using it doesn’t really feel it belongs to him/her (i.e., it belongs to the company). However, this is not so with personal, consumer products, and Steve Jobs clearly understood this. The iMac, iPod, and the iPhone may not have been as wildly popular when they were originally introduced if they did not have the cool aesthetic appeal that Jobs demanded in all of Apple’s products. Although not quite the same, think of buying yourself a car. While you would want to make sure the car has features such as automatic transmission, power windows, air conditioning, etc., the deciding factor in choosing a certain car is the overall look and feel. Unless you’re 92 (and perhaps even if you are), a few extra features such as a built in DVD player may not sway you if the outside of the car is ugly.