The hardware engineering and software coordination behind 3D Touch in the iPhone 6S is impressive. It’s such an Apple feature. Executed with exquisite diligence because they control the whole stack. Marvelous.
But you know what, it’s not my favorite feature of the 6S. That honor belongs to the low-tech, behind-the-curve addition of an extra gigabyte of RAM. Something that probably cost Apple just a few extra dollars per phone and almost no engineering prowess. (Compare that to the probably hundreds of millions in revised tooling, advanced development, and more needed for 3D Touch.)
Doubling the RAM means apps aren’t constantly being swapped in and out. Which means switching between them is super fast more of the time. Which in turn makes the whole phone feel much better over the course of a day.
It’s been repeated ad nauseam, but it’s still so hard to internalize for most product people: Speed is a feature.
Usually, it’s one of the most important features. Yet it’s also one of the hardest to get right. Chiefly because every other feature is generally at war with speed. Any excess CPU cycles are quickly captured by new, advanced, and ultimately slowing features. Extra cycles are like a surplus government budget: The constituency is going to have a thousand ideas for how to spend it.
It’s not easy to get this balance just so. You have to be fast at what people want and expect. Being the fastest phone running iOS5 or Window OS isn’t going to get you any business.
Comparing this RAM apple and that 3D Touch orange, though, is also a worthwhile reminder that good product design doesn’t deal in distinct categories. It’s all a fruit salad! Customers just want it to be delicious and nutritious.
Lucas Arrudaon 28 Sep 15
Even with all Apple optimizations – which means that 2GB of RAM is like 3 or 4 in Android – it’s still something important.
Since Google, users won’t afford slow anymore.
Christophe Limpalairon 28 Sep 15
Yep, most of that stuff gets used once and never again (although this may be different). Speed always matters.
Scott K.on 02 Oct 15
Basecamp’s excellent execution of basic features was what brought me back to it after trying a competing product with more features. They had some features that seemingly addressed the shortcomings I could address only by some workarounds in Basecamp. They also offered all kinds of other fancy features. I thought my clients would be happier if I switched.
I was absolutely, utterly wrong. The competing product, while offered more features and boasted how they were better than Basecamp because of it, had more quirks and annoyances than my clients could bear. They immediately begun complaining to me and begged me to go back to Basecamp. They kept telling me none of those fancy additional features mattered to them and they didn’t care to use them at all. They kept telling me how Basecamp worked and flowed much better at the fundamental level. They missed Basecamp’s pared-down yet slick interface. They missed its speed. They missed its simplicity. And they absolutely hated all the extra AJAX buttons and popup menus thrown in their face.
Lesson learned: It’s the basic stuff that truly matters.
This discussion is closed.