Inspiration comes from many sources, and Twitter is a great one. Today Michael Gartenberg sent a simple tweet that captured the very essence of gadget design that hardware makers need to learn.
Typo aside, Gartenberg hits the nail on the head, as does Joshua Topolsky in an editorial on Engadget:
It won't be a debate about displays, memory, wireless options -- it will be a debate about the quality of the experience.
Josh's editorial is an excellent examination of the message Apple is sending to debunk the historical belief that super hardware = better gadgetry. Apple has proven time and again that the user experience is the primary thing on any product that will get millions of mainstream consumers to purchase and enjoy using the gadget.
I discussed this in the inaugural episode of the Good to Go show with Noah Kravitz. The geek factor -- faster processors, gobs of RAM, etc., are not what matters in gadgetry any more. The user experience is everything, from the way a device handles users' common tasks to how pleasant that experience is perceived by the device owner.
Throughout my career of covering mobile technology, I have tested almost every smartphone and mobile computer that has hit the market. To get the reaction from "normal" (non-techies) folk, I have always handed the gadget currently under the microscope to each of my family members. Invariably, even though I point out that the device has all of the top features of the day, they play with it for a while and then hand it back to me, along with a comment such as "I don't like the way it does Facebook". Game over for that device with regular people. Apple understands that and competitors better learn it, and fast.