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What Is Your Language?

February 3, 2011 / Comments (0)

Within competitor boardrooms and generally in interest groups, there is a lot of discussion and debate about what is behind the run-away success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad families of product.

I have heard comments like leading edge ergonomic design, iTunes, AppStore (and the hundreds and thousands of applications), the charm and genius of Steve Jobs, etc. And yes, I agree, all these have created a relatively high hurdle-to-entry for would-be competitors, and while we have already seen some competitors come-up with some of these elements, finding one that has the wherewithal to bring all these elements elegantly together and gain the support of various music, video and other content suppliers, as well as the exhaustive number of available applications, is a serious mission.

However, what surprises me is that nobody seems to have identified the language that Apple has created! Yes the language….

We forget that before the iPhone, using a screen on a digital device included the cumbersome process of utilizing a stylus that while, relatively accepted by quasi nerds and gadget freaks like me, mass adoption was always a serious challenge, and do not mention the pesky touchscreen. That was merely a solution looking for a problem, inapplicable for any serious application beyond (possibly) non-professional consumers.

That is, until Apple developed a brilliant gesture language that made the iPhone and it’s touchscreen, an absolute pleasure to use. One could not help themselves really. Once one got their hands on that brilliant screen with the amazingly intuitive gestures, it was game-over; there was no way they were going back to their Blackberry, NOKIA or that dreaded stylus.

I have recently purchased “Numbers” an iPad spreadsheet application for a mere fraction of the price of products like Excel. At first use, it was overwhelming. The difference from traditional spreadsheets is stark and getting used to it appeared to be a significant hurdle. Until within minutes, I was surprised to be using it and in less than half an hour, I felt like a Pro!

The evolution of the Apple Gesture language and how it is evolving in these apps, is amazing and I can see that very soon, keyboards and mouses will start to become an avoidable nuisance. I believe that once this new language becomes more widely adopted; and with the accelerated growth of adoption of these Apple devices, it seems unavoidable, switching away from it will become a serious barrier-to-entry for competition.

So as an Organisational leader or marketing guru, what is your language. What user patterns, devices, routines and campaigns are you developing and rolling-out to gain wide-spread user adoption that creates the new paradigm that your competitors will find difficult to overcome.

With the iPhone and iPad Apple has created many and especially, in my opinion, a unique and brilliant new language. I believe you only need one as long as it is a paradigm shift that adds value to your customers. Investing time in defining this and getting your whole Organisation behind it could be the watershed you are looking for.

Last modified: April 12, 2018

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