Dirk Knemeyer

Future Leadership in the Design of Personal Computing Devices

Future Leadership in the Design of Personal Computing Devices, November 19, 2015

Mobile is a whole different beast, we have less than a decade now of mobile. We’re still, we collectively meaning the whole, everybody is still figuring it out. Mobile doesn’t lend itself to the point-and-click paradigm that desktop personal computing lent itself to. I’m not going to make the case that the things Apple is doing or any of the manufacturers are doing are correct, but I think it’s just a new animal.< They’re saying “Here’s all these best practices, why aren’t they there?” Those are old practices and we need to really reinvent what mobile computing looks like, taking lessons where they’re appropriate but... I don’t know man, the point and click, that whole frame isn’t relevant and you have a tiny bit of pixels when you’re dealing in direct manipulation. Even on the hardware side, the whole Apple Watch thing now, to me that is just one of the many gyrations of what does mobile computing truly look like? Because I don’t think the form factor is correct of a mobile phone. I also don’t think the watch form factor is correct. We’re trying to figure all of this out on the hardware and the software side. In terms of Google, yeah, if there’s a mainstream consumer tech company that I’m going to buy the stock of it’s going to be Google. I’m very bullish on Google for a lot of different reasons but on the design side I don’t know. They’ve never been great at design, they’re really engineering-driven. Their newest Nexus phone just came out and it was produced by a different hardware manufacturer. Whereas Apple controls their hardware, controls their software, the design that emanates for that Apple takes credit for. Google can’t take credit for those. The phone is really beautiful but it’s not Google, it’s this other hardware manufacturer. The degree to which Google’s going to be a design leader and/or practice exceptional design, I’m not sure. It’s never been a staple or a hallmark. A big picture of what’s happened is that the decay of Apple over the last 5 years has just brought them back to the pack. Now, who’s the design leader? I don’t know. I don’t know that there is a leader, they’re all kind of similar-ish. Nobody is this perfect … Apple used to be this clear cut above. There ain’t the clear cut above anymore.