iPhone cartoon

Not all that Jobs touched was magic. As any highly sophisticated and complex piece of technology, Apple devices too were stalked by the horrors of complexity. While a central part of Apple’s appeal and success of late is selling ‘simplicity’, it was not immune to complexity’s grasp. It strove for simplicity of user interface., simplicity of architecture (no ‘DLL Hell’, no registry fiddling), simplicity of experience (buying music), simplicity of design, simplicity of form factor (cracking the decade old tablet market), simplicity of offerings (only one product and it comes in a few colours). But even Apple succumbs to this conundrum of complexity as Scott Adams comments in his piece on Complexity

“Complexity made the simple nearly impossible…I don’t even know where to start. The complexity has overwhelmed me… The one thing I know for sure is that I’m not going to plug an iPod into the computer and happily download music with a few keystrokes. It would be more complicated than the Normandy Invasion. Instead, I just live without music. And exercise. So I suppose complexity is actually killing me now. It was never a fair fight.”

I can now empathize with the Adams’ frustration having upgrade my iPhone to IOS5 last night. What is normally such a sweet and simple experience turned into a real complex drag. Nothing major was lost except some time and piece of mind. Mostly all sorted now after a few hours work instead of the usual few minutes work for an Apple upgrade. Judging from noise on the Twitterverse, IOS5 is turning out to be a major FAIL for Apple. How they respond will determine whether the failure is ‘epic’ or not, and will test Apple’s failure embracing resilience to its core.