Apple have nailed the whole experiance. From buying to song management and through to listening. I think that point is widely accepted.
As for the actual product design of the ipod, i think its so successfull because of apple's core structure. Steve jobs is the man that signs products off for release. end of. In sony for example many many levels of manager and board member would have thier say on what the final released product is. This makes a difference.
I think that it is much harder to leave features out of a design than to include all features. To design a minimal product that works you have to have a far greater understanding of the problem. Often it is very hard to defend leaving a feature out of a product in the face of critisism. The benifit of good design is hard to substantiate in estimated profit, so you get these bloated devices that have loads of functions that are integrated poorly.
This is how apple succeds, it leaves the crap out of products.
Why Is The Ipod So Good?
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