As soon as I clicked ‘publish’ with my last blog post the cogs started turning in my mind. I have an iPhone (sorry @duttyo, it’s relevant to what I’m saying). One of the first things my wife said about the whole Apple experience is “where are the instructions”? There are two postage stamp pieces of paper that come with an iPhone telling you to “put the sim card in” and “plug it in to iTunes”. That’s your lot.
There is nothing to tell you how to make a call. There are no little booklets explaining how to setup the device. I was amazed when I discovered caps lock by ‘accident’ one day. I was mystified the day I mistakenly took a screen grab by pressing two buttons simultaneously. There are little huddles of iPhone users gathered throughout the land passing on the secrets of eternal app usage:
“Have you seen the pulse reader? It’s awesome”.
“No but I’ve got RedLaser!”
The religious fervor that Apple commands is bolstered by an almost Gnostic sense of hidden secrets. “Perhaps if I continue to worship at the Apple temple for a little longer I will gain access to the next level of geekery”.
Compare this if you will to the church. In some churches there is no explanation whatsoever of what is going on. Entering through the door for the uninitiated can be as baffling as an alien life form encountering humanity for the first time through Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Banana. In other churches there is a level of explanation that describes the minutia of each and every impending act.
“We’re now going to pray a prayer that will offer up to God the things that we have done wrong in our lives. The weeks…. years…. eons…. passage of time…. deep sorrow…. so that….. if we…. can you….. not because…. but if we…. zzzzzzzz…. so let’s bow our heads….. or not…. comfortable…. prayer is…. so now we say together…. ‘God we’re sorry, Amen‘”.
So what can we learn from Apple? Apple have managed to create a mystique and yet maintain their accessibility. They have hit upon a formula where there is just the right level of instruction to make things work but not so much that the sense of mystery is lost. I wonder if we can appoint Steve Jobs as the next Archbishop.
[Cue an Apple hater in the comments]