Technology accessible to ordinary people

Tim Lee has an interesting post at TLF in which he makes the following point:

If you think about it, Apple’s strength really doesn’t come from inventing things. I’ve been a Mac guy for pretty much my whole life, and so during college I was one of those people who’d watch the Steve Jobs keynote every year. Almost every time, my techie officemates would see a new Apple product and say “hey, there’s nothing new there. Linux has been able to do that for 6 months.”

Of course, to do it on Linux, you typically had to purchase some special hardware, download a tarball, compile it from source, tweak a config file, and then hope that the software supported your particular hardware combination. Apple doesn’t invent much, but they do take technologies that are currently only available to people who are intimately familiar with gcc and vi, and makes them accessible to ordinary people.

Most of the technology that the average person uses was already yesterday's news in some crowd five years ago.

Lee's post quotes another one about the iPhone, almost none of whose parts are original. What's amazing about the product is that it's a brilliant combination of useful machines already around, and I expect it to be executed brilliantly as well.

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