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Apple University is all about “What Makes Apple, Apple”

Love him or hate him, Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs left a lasting market on the computing world. From the original Macintosh to the iPod to the iPhone, Jobs looked to counter traditional computing devices of the day and blaze a new path.
In order to ensure that the uniqueness of Apple would live on, Jobs conceived “Apple University” in 2008 and tasked Joel Podolny, an Apple VP, to run the program. To put it simply, Apple University offers courses to Apple employees that helps them stay in tune with the company’s business culture and history.
New employees — including those from companies that Apple acquires — are highly encouraged to take classes tailored to their job position, but they are not required. The New York Times, however, reports that new employees “rarely” pass on the opportunity to take the classes.
One of the courses is entitled “The Best Things” and encourages employees to produce the best work by surrounding themselves with talented individuals and “high-quality materials.”
Some of the courses detail important business decisions made by the company over the years, including a case study on the move to offer a Windows version of iTunes for the iPod. Steve Jobs was adamant against allowing the iPod to work with Windows machines, but eventually acquiesced to his leadership team paving the way for not only a Windows version of iTunes, but also explosive growth of the iPod.
The iPod first gained limited Windows compatibly with Musicmatch Jukebox software in 2002, while the fully Windows compatible version of iTunes first bowed in 2003.
Given that design is very much a part of Apple, a course entitled “What Makes Apple, Apple” points out what the company sees as design missteps taken by its competitors. In one example, Sony is called out for one of its Google TV remotes that features 78 buttons. Randy Nelson, who is one of the instructors that teaches the class, then touts the Apple TV remote, which features just three primary buttons in addition to its directional pad as being the proper solution.

Sony's 78-button Google TV remote
The NYT reports:
They started out with an idea [for the Apple TV remote], Mr. Nelson explained, and debated until they had just what was needed — a button to play and pause a video, a button to select something to watch, and another to go to the main menu…
[The Sony remote] had so many buttons, Mr. Nelson said, because the individual engineers and designers who worked on the project all got what they wanted.
It should be noted that even the bathrooms are “magical,” with one employee who spoke with the NYT stating, “Even the toilet paper in the bathrooms is really nice.”

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider

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Sony Remote
By thewrayj on 8/11/2014 12:38:24 PM , Rating: 4
Apple TV is a great little device, but can I use this Sony remote to control it? :)
...the apple remote is the disgusting triumph of form over function, wasting infinite man-hours every day as customers fumble through the on-screen keyboard.
I know you can use the Remote iOS app, but, IMHO, it is not an elegant solution.

RE: Sony Remote
By WhatKaniSay on 8/11/2014 1:12:49 PM , Rating: 1
I know you can use the Remote iOS app, but, InYourHumbleOpenion, it is not an elegant solution.

Google ChromeCast has NO physical remote besides Android Remote App, "IMHO is it an elegant solution?"

RE: Sony Remote
By retrospooty on 8/11/2014 1:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but one is a $30 hdmi dongle. The other is a $100 box. It's just a matter of which non-elegant solution you prefer.

RE: Sony Remote
By Manch on 8/11/2014 4:23:36 PM , Rating: 1
Dude your replying to an Apple fanboi who's vagina is bleeding now that the tv remote has been criticized...

Personally I like the Sony remote. It has a kb which is great. I hate virtual kb though

RE: Sony Remote
By WhatKaniSay on 8/11/2014 1:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
I know you can use the Remote iOS app, but, IMHO it is not an elegant solution.

Google ChromeCast has NO physical remote besides Android Remote App, "InYourHumbleOpenion, is it an elegant solution?"

RE: Sony Remote
By GotThumbs on 8/11/2014 4:37:34 PM , Rating: 2

Way to bypass Steve Jobs product focus and try to distract from how wrong he was.

The comparison was between Sony's keyboard and Jobs critique of it.

Myself, I use full wireless keyboard with my XBMC setup.

RE: Sony Remote
By hughlle on 8/11/2014 1:16:04 PM , Rating: 1
Heck, i've watched my girlfriend trying to navigate around youtube on a playstation 3, and that's a few more than 3 buttons, and it's a nightmare. I'll stick to my dinovo mini thankyou very much :)

But hey, I'm sure apple know exactly what they were doing, who needs more than one mouse button eh? Yet history has rather shown that to be a resounding failure. But 3 buttons, it's all you need to run your television.

RE: Sony Remote
By tng on 8/11/2014 2:35:20 PM , Rating: 1
Almost everything Sony is far from intuitive...

I can use my XB360 game controller to play a DVD and each time it takes me just a few seconds to figure out the proper buttons cause someone thought about it.

Watching a BD on my PS3 and trying to use the game controller is a exercise in frustration. Takes awhile to figure out which random button will play the disc, FF, RW, Pause, etc...

The Apple TV remote is somewhere in between the 360 controller and the Sony controller for me.

RE: Sony Remote
By FaaR on 8/11/2014 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
Sony isn't alone. Pretty much every consumer electronics company is the same, the remote for my Samsung TV is just awful terrible for example. It doesn't have a full alphanumerical keyboard like that Sony remote, but it's designed and laid out far worse than that sony remote, and its underside is rounded so that you can't reliably push buttons on it with the remote sitting on a table for example.

You must pick it up in your hand to operate it, which is a b***, because say, the input button is at the top while the arrow keys which switch between inputs are at the lower end of the remote. Awful ergonomics, TBH.

Then there's nonsense like HDMI inputs are treated as a physical input and a separate "logical" HDMI-CEC input for devices which support that protocol - idiotic! This leads to clutter in the menu due to duplicate inputs appearing twice in the menu, and anger while fiddling with same menu. The TV will happily sit on an inactive HDMI input when turned on rather than automatically switching to an active, or to TV images, forcing you to fiddle with the remote just to get a picture, and so on.

And worst of all, at any time you're watching something, playing a game, whatever, the TV might decide to throw up a pop-up telling you the motherfathering "smart hub" was updated. Oh yeah? Do I give a shit while I'm watching this movie?! No. And even terribler - the "run smart hub" button is the active button, not the dismiss button.

Really, you can hardly design a worse user interface than Samsung has.

RE: Sony Remote
By tonyswash on 8/11/2014 8:14:43 PM , Rating: 1
The thing about the Apple remote is that it does everything you want with just three buttons. Why have more? I had a DVD remote which not only had at least 30 or more buttons (99% of which I never used) but the important 'Menu' button was minute, obscurely placed amongst buttons with unrelated functions and labelled with tiny lettering.

I guess the design team just made a list of all the cool 'functions' the remote could have and then laid them out in neat rows and columns. Madness.

RE: Sony Remote
By web2dot0 on 8/12/2014 8:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you say that Apple's mouse was a failure? It has been used by millions of people to great success. Hell, I've been using the apple mouse. It works.

It can do what 3 button mouse can do. So you can say that they know what they are doing.

RE: Sony Remote
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2014 1:41:48 PM , Rating: 5
lol I love how they are counting every button on the entire thing, including the KEYBOARD!

Hey my Windows PC has like 100+ buttons! Make way for something more "elegant" like this....

RE: Sony Remote
By jdre on 8/11/2014 2:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
That. Is still brilliant. Love it.

RE: Sony Remote
By Manch on 8/11/2014 5:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
Dont forget the myriad of combinations from using the shift, Alt, ctrl, etc, lol. I'm surprised they didn't count those.

Awesome video lololol

RE: Sony Remote
By The Von Matrices on 8/12/2014 2:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
I think we need Sony's side of the story as well:

The screenshot at 1:20 especially reminds me of that remote.

“What Makes Apple, Apple”
By retrospooty on 8/11/2014 1:38:20 PM , Rating: 4
I found it right here.


RE: “What Makes Apple, Apple”
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/11/2014 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
RE: “What Makes Apple, Apple”
By retrospooty on 8/11/2014 1:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
I know right? It says nothing, yet when you think about it, it says so much.

RE: “What Makes Apple, Apple”
By Cheesew1z69 on 8/11/2014 7:00:39 PM , Rating: 2

RE: “What Makes Apple, Apple”
By retrospooty on 8/11/2014 7:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Except he says so much, yet when you think about it, it means nothing.

By Cheesew1z69 on 8/11/2014 8:48:37 PM , Rating: 3

I assume they offer degrees in marketing?
By jdre on 8/11/2014 2:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
Apple gets heralded for their emphasis on human factors and usability in user-centered design. But I, and most critics, can find basic usability flaws/poor design choices in their product range.

Jobs was very good at selling these choices as the "right way to do it." But there has been a slowly increasing trend of critical articles, and people scratching their heads saying "why do I have to do it that way?"

RE: I assume they offer degrees in marketing?
By tonyswash on 8/11/2014 2:56:54 PM , Rating: 1
Jobs was very good at selling these choices as the "right way to do it." But there has been a slowly increasing trend of critical articles, and people scratching their heads saying "why do I have to do it that way?"

Desperate wishful thinking based on zero evidence. The only increasing trend is in the number of devices Apple are selling and the size of their installed base (and that's based on evidence).

I notice how narrow the comment stream on this article is, it's a bit like the tech equivalent of listening to Beavis and Butt-head talking about music. I guess some people just prefer to live in a cartoon universe with no nuisance or complexity.

Corporate culture is an interesting thing, it's real and powerful and drives large corporations to do all sorts of things, some brilliant and some barmy (and yes I am thinking of Windows 8 in the barmy category).

Apple's culture and internal organisation is interesting, it was deliberately remade and as a result it generated initiatives that caused a truly staggering transformation in it's corporate fortunes and which impacted all across the tech world and that in itself makes it interesting.

It's also interesting in that one result of that remade corporate culture is Apple's internal organisation and product portfolio is structured so differently to the other large tech companies.

Then of course there is the issue of the long term impact of the death of Steve Jobs and whether Apple could weather the loss. So far they seem to be doing pretty well in the post Jobs era and obviously the University project is all about cementing the Apple 2 culture.

It will interesting to see what finally emerges (if anything does) in new product categories as result of the massive sensor, data, and fashion related hiring spree Apple have been on. My presumption is that they are planning for a world where the technology disappears into what people are wearing and the possessions that litter their homes as that seems to be what is coming as the next big thing after mobile devices.

RE: I assume they offer degrees in marketing?
By Manch on 8/11/2014 4:35:57 PM , Rating: 5
Do you teach the class at Apple University on how to cradle Steve's balls while taking his load?

RE: I assume they offer degrees in marketing?
By tonyswash on 8/11/14, Rating: 0
By Manch on 8/12/2014 2:29:15 AM , Rating: 2
Dont talk with your mouth full, you cum guzzling Apple slut.

Apple University
By GotThumbs on 8/11/2014 4:41:04 PM , Rating: 4

We'll teach you how to think and show you how to hold your phone.

Cool-aid and cookies will be served between classes.

This was a good laugh.

Thanks and best wishes,

RE: Apple University
By marvdmartian on 8/12/2014 7:47:48 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, I figured it was teaching Apple employees how to be elitist their deceased leader, their current leader, and at least half of their users!

By BZDTemp on 8/12/2014 3:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
Which means ensure they should be filled with greed, be egotistical, good at stealing and consider anything is justified to achieve their goals. Wonderful it is just what the world needs.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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