I was just reading the posts on the MacWorld Keynote by Phil Shiller, and saw some interesting themes in comments: empowering users, and learning as a key selling item. These are certainly worth expl0ring.
On the TUAW coverage, they made the comment “Y’know, it seems like iMovie and iPhoto are now designed to repair human failings.” They were referring to how iMovie could remove any handheld jitters in your movies, and how iPhoto could do some autotagging both geographically and based upon face recognition. That really struck me as a fantastic product advantage: it makes you better. It doesn’t improve your skillset, but it allows you to create better outcomes: it’s performance support.
Which is a different solution, but one that is often a more apt one than providing a training course. People sometimes want to learn how to do it themselves, and other times they are just as happy to have a smart system partner with them to reduce their cognitive load and still produce superior results. Hence the ‘performance focus’ stage in my strategic approach. It’s part of an overall approach, and also of a performance ecosystem. I hope it’s in your repertoire.
The other interesting announcement came from their music application: GarageBand. In it, they now have tutorials on guitar and keyboards; introductory videos built in to teach you instrument basics. In addition to being able to edit music tracks to create songs, you can learn how to play two versatile instruments. (For a fee, you can go on and get popular stars to teach you about one of their favorite songs.). As one of the commenters noted on the iPhone Blog livecast: “Garage Band Instructor beats Guitar Hero”. And my lad has become an avid Guitar Hero player since he got it for Christmas, yet this may grab his attention.
The deeper meaning harkens back to something I’ve talked about before, the Transformation Economy. Beyond wanting to have ‘experiences’, we can have experiences that transform us (in ways we value). Now, I can’t say how compelling the experience with these tutorials will be (yet; I am strongly compelled to get the upgrade); despite Apple’s typically superior comprehension of user experience, there’s no reason to believe they get interactive learning experience yet (e.g they didn’t consult me :).
It’s a real opportunity, however, to have the new “intel inside ™” be “learning inside ™“. Wouldn’t that be cool? Too many products in my experience decouple learning, and consequently risk consumer dissatisfaction. But a second step up from learning the product is learning new skills in the environment.
Sure, there were some other thrills for me: an iPhone app that allows you to control your Keynote preso (unfortunately, only by WiFi apparently), and having outlines in Pages (I write in outlines). I reckon I’ll be forking over for upgrades. But the big ones were those performance support features, and the learning built into a consumer app. I think the former is an interesting perspective on consumer value, and the latter could be a major market shift. What do you think?