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Apple has a problem with ease of use



  Usability Wait. What? It can't be right, right? After all, is macOS and iOS not the most usable and user-friendly of the world's most popular computer interface?

Google secret iPhone settings, and you are treated to a list of pages that tout the same things. Hidden features. Secret settings. Tips and tricks you don't know. If the iPhone, iPad and Mac are so user-friendly then why all the secrets?

No campaign

Color me a Mac user for three decades and an iPhone user since the beginning and yet I run into some tips and tricks and features and settings I didn't know about. Why not? I scour every new iOS and macOS version to find new ways to improve usability.

Here's what I think. iOS is more complex than it must be for the average iPhone and iPad customer. Too many highly visible features, settings and options can make it overwhelming for the customer. It explains why Android's smartphone customer base falls mainly in two groups. The geeky techies who love to capture with all sorts of features and function, and the rest of the non-iPhone humanity who just want the basics; camera, phone, text, photos, Facebook, email and some games.

As a recent example, Jacob Kastrenakes regrets that the 3D Touch on iPhones has been a completely unknown and unnecessary feature.

A friend has recently given me her iPhone to look through some pictures, and I pushed in to pop one open with the 3D Touch. What I had done surprised them ̵

1; not because of image choices, but because they had never seen this feature until they had spent months.

See?

Jeffrey ]: " Jesse, using the 3D Touch? "
Jesse : " What is 3D Touch? "

] I asked around and my unofficial, unscientific investigation of friends, family, neighbors and co-workers gave a similar result. Only two out of 10 knew what 3D Touch is doing, and the other eight were surprised when I showed them how it works.

And even the people who knew it were, had no way of telling which icons supported it without just pressing 3D to see what happened.

Bingo.

It's a usage problem, Apple. Features can be cool to show a story in an initial event that introduces a new product, but not all people on earth look at them or check out details on the Tip app or Apple's website.

Apple does a crumbling job explaining such useful features to their customers.

Apple Pundit John Gruber commented earlier this year that it was "amazing that there is no visual indication of what can be 3D touched," while linking to a simple design proposal that suggested a way for Apple to move forward.

3D Touch made it to the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, but not to the iPhone Xr which receives something similar to the Haptic Touch that clicks when you press and hold a button.

Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller:

Engineering-wise, the hardware to build a screen that does what [3D Touch] does is incredibly difficult … If only a demo feature and a month later, use No one, it's a big waste of enginee ring talent.

It is 3D Touch, a feature that is very cool, very useful, but not at all obvious to anyone or even experienced iPhone customers. It's not the only problem that mentioned secret tips and hidden features Google search results will attest. Apple seems remarkably good at creating good user-friendly features and remarkably unsuitable for showing customers how they work.

Yes, it's a usage problem, but that's something Apple can handle about executives, engineers, designers and executives leaving Cupertino more often.


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