The Devil is in the Details

I finally figured out how to solve the most frustrating misfeature on my MacBook Pro. I have one of last fall’s MacBook Pros, a fifteen inch model with the Touch Bar. I have loved it since it arrived early last December. All except for one thing. The default position of the Siri icon is right above the delete key. I am a touch typist and do not look at the keys while I type. When I am writing, I accidentally hit the Siri key two or three times during a typical half hour session.

When I do, my first inclination is to reach up and touch the x on the Siri window that would make it go away if this machine had a touch screen like the iPad. Instead, I then have to use the touch pad to move the cursor to the x and dismiss the Siri window. This disrupts my train of thought and slows my writing down. It frustrates me greatly.

I knew that the Touch Bar was configurable but I hadn’t bothered to figure out how. Tonight, I decided to ask my close personal friend Google about it. Within minutes I was on the Touch Bar configuration screen. I got there by pressing the Custom Control Strip button on the Keyboard Panel in Settings. It was actually quite easy to substitute the Notification icon for the Siri icon. The Notification icon is a toggle. Touch it once, it pops up the Notification panel. Touch it again and it dismisses it. Unlike the Siri icon that pops up Siri and then toggles between two modes within the Siri window on alternate touches. Problem solved.

This is the kind of detail that seldom slipped past Steve Jobs. He was the ultimate user advocate. He wanted the software to be as frustration free as possible so that he could sell the hardware for a healthy markup. The purpose of the software was to enchant the user so that they loved using the machine. It was a tactic that worked well.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple still makes the best computers around. They have the most innovative operating environments on the market. I love my MacBook Pro. They are just getting a little sloppy on a few small details here and there. They need someone with vision to relentlessly insist on the best experience for the users.

They also need to rehearse their keynotes and other special events until they are flawless. These public events are where the reality distortion field kicks in, if you’ve done your homework and rehearsed your presentation adequately. I think they need to pay more attention to writing the script. I got the impression there wasn’t a script at Monday’s WWDC keynote. Just an outline on the back of an envelope. If there was a script, it needed more work.

Apple is about design and appearances. They need to remember their strengths and play to them. And continue making excellent hardware and the best software on the market.

Disclaimer: I own Apple stock.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.