On the Nature of Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field

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Apple did not invent graphical user interface. Nor did it invent the digital music player, smartphone, or tablet computer. Apple did take each of these products, do it better than anyone else, and (for a time at least) own the market.

In each case, a large part of Apple's contribution was not a killer feature or innovation, but taking existing elements and finding a combination of elements uniquely appealing to customers.

In each case, this meant omitting some features which every other product included, and which most observers believed to be must-have.

In each case, competitors and industry pundits mocked Apple's products and predicted failure.

In each case, when customers actually tried the products, the missing features turned out to be less important than the overall experience.

Normally when a company launches a new product into a new market, it makes an effort to include all the key features. Without hitting the "checklist features" it can be difficult to get prospective customers to even try the product, and the product is often doomed before it even gets a chance.

Apple's unique talent, and the true nature of Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field, is in getting prospective customers to give a new product a try, even when it seems to be missing key features.