#50) Has Apple lost the “Simplicity” mantra of Steve Jobs?

It’s nearly two weeks since I bought a new iPhone 6S, but they still can’t activate it because of the tangle of Apple ID’s and passwords they had me create.  I think they’ve lost track of what Steve Jobs preached.  Complex is the default nature of most systems.  As Jobs always said, simplicity is hard work — which is especially true in communication.




I really can’t believe how stupid my experience has been over the past two weeks with the iPhone 6S. I bought a new one.  They tried to set it up at the Apple Store, but after spending 1.5 hours trying to upload the contents of my iPhone 5 to the iCloud to back it up, the upload failed because of their poor wireless service (wouldn’t you think the store would have good wireless service?).

I succeeded from home, but then began encountering a tangle of several Apple IDs they let me put into the system (or actually I think created for me — I’ve never created a me.com or iCloud.com email address) somewhere over the past few years.

At one point the guy on the phone started asking me a series of those annoying privacy questions.  They were questions I have NEVER, EVER answered in my life — including “Where did your parents meet?” They met on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The guy wouldn’t tell me the answer but said the answer he had was a one-word city. How could that be?

He asked several other questions I have never, ever heard, yet said they had answers for them.

What a mess. They ended up having to file some paperwork that will take another 3 to 5 days to clear.  All just to activate the phone, which the guy couldn’t do for me because … “It’s just not that simple,” he said, verbatim.

The whole process left me feeling like their security backup systems have gotten so complicated their employees can’t really completely understand them. Which felt like it’s been a long time since Steve Jobs and his obsession with simplicity has left the building.



I guess I’m thinking a lot about simplicity these days because it’s at the core of our Story Circles Narrative Training. The entire program is built around the one simple narrative template of the ABT. It’s working great, and is a thing of beauty to watch how powerful it all is because of one main attribute — simplicity.

But it hasn’t come easy. The ABT is the result of a 25 year journey. Simplicity takes time. We all know this, though I think some of this thinking has been lost at Apple.