Is Steve Jobs’ Love of Simplicity Gone from Apple Products?


In an article over at The Guardian, creative director Ken Segall, who worked with Steve Jobs for 12 years and also led the team behind Apple’s legendary Think different ad campaign, has said that Apple’s massive growth was due to Jobs’ love of simplicity but now, things have changed as people are seeing complexity in expanding product lines, confusing product names, and the products themselves. “Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t as simple as Steve’s Apple”, says Segall.


He writes that four years ago, Steve’s love of simplicity could be seen in Apple’s hardware, software, packaging, marketing, retail store design, even the company’s internal organization. But now under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple is selling three different iPhones, four different iPads and three different MacBooks. The Apple Watch comes in seemingly infinite combinations of sizes and bands. “The Apple universe is exploding with complexity! Or is it?”.

“So, yes, Apple’s product lines have become more complicated. But really, are they that complicated? The company’s entire selection of products can easily fit on an average-size table. When a company cares about simplicity, it offers the right choices – not endless choices.

I have zero doubt that Apple believes deeply in the power of simplicity. Simplicity is at the heart of the company’s products and the foundation of its vision for the future. But simplicity is a matter of perception, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that Apple is struggling to present a simple image to its customers”.

Segall also notes that the flaws and complexities now seem to be creeping into Apple’s products more frequently. “There is serious work to be done in rebuilding the perception of simplicity that helped Apple become the world’s most valuable company”.

Do you guys agree with Segall?


  • gerry

    They should just give the iphone name just ‘iPhone (the number it is)’ none of that sub model garbage. It confuses a lot of people whom I talked to that doesn’t know which model at times they have.

  • hlna55

    Simplicity by design,not function. For all the evolutions of the iPhone and all the extra swiping, tapping and holding you now have to do, we still don’t have a wireless charging solution whereby you can just put your phone down on a mat instead of screwing around with cables.

    Mobile hardware… Same thing. All the specs in the world but we are still screwing around with the simplest of things rather than just make one thing a LOT simpler for the user! Pick a cable or connection and get rid of it! Look at the simplicity of the surface dock for the latest surface pro tablet. One power connection and it turns into a whole computer. Only apple would tell you that you have to connect to a woefully out of date Thunderbolt Display to have the same effect.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Look at Tim Cook’s back button on the iPhone – what horrendous design! Compared with Android, it’s too small, obscures your signal bars, hard to reach and not always there! Feels like they just threw the feature in without any thought.

  • BigCat

    I think that it is a very difficult balance for Apple. Take the Airport routers, which as far as routers go are very simple in design. Very simple to setup out of the box and always work really well. Lots of people complain that the Airport routers lack features and they would be correct, but there are lot of people who would not use any other router.

    With regards to iPhones: For years the market has nagged Apple to produce a low cost option. Now, people complain there are too many models.

  • ShaBi

    You know swiping from the left serves as back too right?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I do. But as I type this reply on my veranda, I have to stare at “Back to Outlook” in my status bar and don’t know if I’m on 3G or wifi because it is being blocked. Not an elegant solution.

  • Talon Mann

    I agree. This drives me nuts