Originally Posted by Ireland
That's a non-argument for two reasons. One, if they will eventually offer all the features people want in a simple way they can do it now. The iPhone makes a complex situation and amalgamation of features easy, they could do that with Apple TV too.
No, no, no. You are thinking as yourself. someone who's pretty interested in and comfortable with technology. I bet Apple already has a design manual compiled that says exactly how simple things need to be when you introduce a new product to the consumer. And furthermore, I bet that manual says that when in doubt, go for less complexity.
I mean the iPod, as simple as you think that might be, is still a challenge for most people. I have nieces right down the teenage iPod-user demographic and though they are pretty good with the standard 2 or 3 routine functions --ripping, buying from iTunes, and synching, they still need help when the thing hiccups on them.
And it's not really how complex the thing is, it's the rate at which you introduce the features. If you demand the consumer learn a lot of things in a short time, then forget it, they'll pass on the device. Here's the playbook:
1. You start out by releasing the product [AppleTV, in our case] with a really simple feature set.
2. Then give it a few months for the consumer to master the simple feature set.
3. More importantly, give it enough time for that subset of consumers who always end up helping their friends/family with their tech gadgets to learn the current feature set.
The size of this subset of 'handholders' depends on how complex that feature set is. If you want more handholders (and thus more free tech support), make the feature set simpler.
4. Once the consumers are comfortable with the product you introduced, then you start adding features. Again, a little at a time, with enough time in between for the consumers to learn the new features before they need to deal with the next ones. And the features you introduce must, as much as possible, be natural extensions of the features you already have. (Notice that AppleTV itself is just an extension of the whole iTunes infrastructure feature set.)
That's what Apple has been doing and that's why Steve Jobs has 3.5 billion in his pocket you and I don't.