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Why doesn’t GMail automatically copy the name of the person to the top of an email when I reply to someone? Shouldn’t an iOS app automatically update itself when it needs to? Why does virus scanner ask you whether it should remove the discovered viruses from your computer?

The best software is like great customer service. Great software anticipates your next move and does it for you without asking. It makes life easier.

Over sushi, a close friend and I were chatting about Apple’s design aesthetic. Unlike most product companies, Apple has an opinion on how a user should accomplish a task. Jobs spoke about this brand tenet: “We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and ask: ‘What do we want?'”

Building this foresight into products requires listening to power users, finding the points of friction and then greasing the workflows.

Apple was the first to eliminate the CD drive, drop the ethernet port and adopt the Thunderbolt connector. They were the first with over-the-air OS updates. And in retrospect, users say that’s the way it always should have been. That’s great software.

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