Who the hell asked Apple for widgets on their lock screen?

From Shira Ovide's "You Won’t Use That Cool Feature" in Saturday's New York Times:

It happens like clockwork. Companies, including Apple this week, introduce new options to make their gadgets feel new and improved.

Soon you’ll be able to zap that text message you sent but regretted! A Mac computer will be able to use an iPhone camera for video calls! You can change the color tint of Android app icons to match the rest of your screen!

And like clockwork, a vast majority of people won’t use these features...

Cliff Kuang, a designer in the tech industry and an author of a book about the history of product design, singled out three culprits behind ever-growing features. First, companies add options because it helps them market their products as new and exciting. Second, products with many millions of users must appeal to people with widely different needs. And — this one stings — we are infatuated with options that seem great but that we can’t or won’t use...

Kuang said the best technology products change little by little to nudge users toward a future the creators have imagined... To get out of the bloatware trap, Kuang said, “you work backward from the future that you’re trying to create.”

My take: I don't often agree with Ovide, but she's put her finger here on something real. For the first half of Monday's WWDC keynote Apple seemed to be squandering its innovative energies on software gimcracks. The kind of working-backward that Kuang suggests in the last paragraph, on the other hand, is something at which Apple excels. Touch ID, for example, looked cool but useless when it appeared nine years ago on the iPhone 5S. Who knew that someone at Apple was already planning for Apple Pay and the fintech future?

9 Comments

  1. Kirk Burgess said:
    Forgive me if I’m being forgetful, but touchId was extremely useful from day one on the 5S wasn’t it? I remember using it for unlocking the phone dozens of times a day for the entire time I had it. Were you referring to something else perhaps?

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    June 11, 2022
      • George Ewonus said:
        Hi Philip. Could be. I’m older than you and have played guitar most of my life – especially Jazz bass. My fingertips have been through a lot. Touch ID seemed to work well for me?

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        June 11, 2022
  2. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    I guess I the heck asked for it, Shira.
    Blame me for having Apple listen to all I asked for. LOL

    I’m looking forward to trying the new Lock Screen features so I can see large Time & Battery & Temp readings at a glance without having to swipe up. Helps my old eyes which struggle even with my AppleWatch.

    And glad for other advancements like Safety Check and Handwriting Straightening to help folks that need it.

    For me, iterative improvements like Playlist Sorting, format copy&paste in Photos, on the iPhone have long been awaited.

    Looking forward to Apple’s future vision becoming enabled over time.

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    June 11, 2022
  3. Jonny T said:
    Is it just me? But the developer feedback I have been reading seems to have been unanimously positive about that stuff. There are hundreds of features “most” people don’t use, or don’t even know about. I am endlessly showing longtime Apple users features that astound them. So simple to us,, but astonishing to them because they never gave the time to learn about them.

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    June 11, 2022
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Shira needs to listen to Gruber’s interview, rather than ‘copy/paste’ ideas from Cliff Kuang.

    Her views may appeal to ideologues in her fan base. It’s sad really. The digital transformation is the biggest thing of our time. She can’t help her readers understand it if she surrenders her intellect to confirmation bias.

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    June 11, 2022
    • Robert Stack said:
      @Fred: Shira needs to listen to much more than a Gruber interview! IMO, she’s hopeless as a tech writer, so hopeless that despite being a NYT subscriber (proudly, as many of you know!) I don’t even so much as glance at her work.

      @PED: You wrote: “I don’t often agree with Ovide, but she’s put her finger here on something real.” Ummm…not exactly. It was Cliff Kuang who made the comment about “working backwards” from where you’d like to be, not Shira. Maybe she agrees with him, maybe not, but she’s not one to miss an opportunity to criticize Apple whenever she gets a chance.

      @NYT: Can you please hire some tech writers who understand tech? There are many out there that are way more qualified (and far less biased) than your current staffing!

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      June 11, 2022
      • Robert Stack said:
        Re the central premise of Shira’s piece: “a vast majority of people won’t use these features…”

        How does she know this to be true? I’m not saying the vast majority of users will, or I would be guilty of the same kind of baseless claim that she is making. But seriously, has she done any market research on any of these new features? All in all, it reminds me of that infamous video of Steve Ballmer explaining why the vast majority of people won’t be buying an iPhone: youtube (dot) com/watch?v=qycUOENFIBs

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        June 11, 2022
        • David Drinkwater said:
          That was worth the 45 seconds it took to watch, and it really put a smile on my face. And ultimately, many dollars in my personal portfolio.

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          June 11, 2022

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