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Now that’s a smart OS

October 22, 2009

Maybe this has always been in OSX, but I just saw it for the first time… and its one of the many little things that make Mac’s such a pleasure to use.

Last night, I was working late and listening to music through my headphones. This morning, about to start work again, I unplugged the headphones to put them away…. and noticed that the volume icon in the menu bar went from two “sound waves” to mute. Just to be sure I did it a couple of more times and the volume settings in OSX are clearly tied to the output device. (Typically, my speakers are set to mute so I don’t disturb anyone on conference calls. I work for IBM…. we live on conference calls.)

What I love about this is the fact that the Apple engineers didn’t take the easy way out. It would have been simpler to “let the user do it.” After all, that’s why there is that mute button on the keyboard. No extra code. No complicated interfacing with hardware. Fewer test cycles. Developers could focus on higher value items. (Any of this sound familiar?) But adding that extra little intelligence to the system improves the user experience in subtle but profound ways. Apply that kind of thinking to an entire product and it’s why Mac fans are as loyal as they are. It just works… and it works really, really well.

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From → Electronics, Life

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