I wasn’t planning to write about this morning’s MacBook Pro refresh. After all, for the most part, these are speed bump machines with some nice processor upgrades for the most part. Nice, but not earth shaking either. Then three features leaped out at me. Better battery life. An automatic way to switch between discrete and integrated graphics and momentum scrolling. Three features. None of them are a reason to buy a new computer. In fact, if Apple had ignored them didn’t include any of them in this release, I suspect they’d have not sold one less MacBook as a result.
Which gets me to my point. They did include them. Why? It’s simple, details matter. A lot. We often hear of the “Apple tax” and have seen vendors copy Apple’s form factor down to the metal case, keyboard layout and other design elements. What many other vendors miss is the attention to the small details that by themselves don’t matter all that much but add value and delight as the user discovers them. Are they small issue? Sure, but they fix real problems. The need to switch graphic modes by logging in and out is not a big deal but it’s inelegant. It costs wasted cycles. It makes things harder for the user. Some engineer was bothered enough by this to fix it. It’s now a feature. It’s now the standard on how this function should work. In short, for those that use this feature, it will bring a smile to their face. To those who never used it, it’s one more way the computing experience became that much more seamless.
When vendors focus on the big picture but also focus on the small details as well, they differentiate themselves from the market. By worrying about things no one else is worried about they find new ways to delight and provide value to their customers. Along the way, they change customers to fans and generate trust and loyalty. And that’s the important takeaway from what appears to be a minor product refresh but actually is something more.