Consumer Electronics Product Creativity
How Apple and Others Drive Innovative Products
Apple is widely regarded as one of the most effective companies at launching consumer electronics products today. The vision, marketing and creativity of Steve Jobs coupled with the innovation of Apple have demonstrated a new paradigm in consumer electronics products.
I've spent a lot of time analyzing Apple's product introductions and I have seen that while there is no denying that Jobs was a very powerful element in Apple's launches, there are plenty of things that Apple does that can be learned and emulated by other companies - small or large.
It All Starts With the Product
Product launches are not just PR events; they are the last step of a long product development effort. Start with the product itself. No amount of launch promotion can guarantee the success of a flawed product. At the same time, a brilliant product design can disappear into obscurity without a carefully conceived launch strategy.
Apple is able to generate interest and excitement over even minor product launches because of its reputation for creating innovative, elegant and functional hardware and software. Every facet of the device or code, right down to the industrial design, packaging, accessories and even the product's Web site is scrupulously polished to enhance usability, esthetic appeal, and Apple's overall image as a maker of "insanely great" consumer products. "We make products that we want to use ourselves," Steve Jobs said.
The obsession with form, fit and function extends even to the most minor or hidden parts. One of the most time-consuming engineering and design tasks of a recent laptop introduction was to make sure that screws on the bottom of the machine did not disrupt the smooth flow of the computer's aluminum skin even though most users will never even look at the underside. Compare that to, say, the bulky, mismatched power supply of Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console, which lacks the appeal of a 21st century consumer product.
By crafting a uniform design identity not just for the core product, but also for all ancillary materials, Apple builds a tangible expectation of superior performance and value.
Don't Launch the Product Until it's Right
Apple rarely launches a product until every aspect is ready for public use. Jobs was known to kill a product launch at the last minute because something is not exactly perfect. Some companies don't seem to understand the difference between making technology and making a product. Technology doesn't become a successful consumer product until a complete, user-friendly experience is built around it. Launch products, not technologies.
For over a decade, MechoTech has focused on the design, engineering and development of consumer electronic products. In February of this year, I was granted a patent as the inventor of a flexible cradle and housing for portable storage devices. I designed this product while doing engineering and product development work for Western Digital Corporation, a client of MechoTech. I had to address an industry-wide problem of product durability when repeatedly docking and undocking portable storage devices by both consumers and business professionals.
MechoTech spent the needed time to design an innovative, rotating, flexible housing that was not yet seen in the market. This was a key enhancement for any type of consumer electronic device with a cradle and housing, and we accomplished this design in a way that both serves customers and prolongs the usability and life of the product exponentially.
There are four critical elements of every great consumer electronic product and the design and engineering should include the following: 1) Ease of use - the product must be easily understood and used by a large market; 2) Function - usability and functionality is key to a product's success; 3) Esthetics - the look, feel and ergonomics of a consumer electronics product goes beyond a first impression to a design that presents real value, and 4) Low cost - a must in an ever increasing global market.
Contact Moe Sarraf, President of MechoTech, LLC to discuss your product development, design and engineering needs at 949-215-7270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.