'Swallowing the Spider'

Jon Bell, on adding complexity through feature additions:

But while you can debate the worth of the feature, or whether Apple will implement it, some things are beyond debate. It’s an immovable law of design physics — adding functionality adds complexity. You can’t get around it. All you can do is try to add functionality that people really want, and do it carefully enough that the increased complexity is worth it. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets. (Announcing you’ve discovered a way to make a product with “no compromises” is just a boastful way of demonstrating you don’t understand design.) The context for Bell's piece is framed around the rumor that Apple is adding a split-screen mode to the iPad in iOS 8. It'll be interesting to see how Apple implements this feature, but it seems to sort of belie the simplicity of iOS's one-app-at-a-time approach, which I find particularly refreshing in terms of focus and productivity. So much the better if split-screen is done well; frankly, though, if I wanted multiple "windows" on my mobile computer, I'd go buy myself another MacBook Air and use it instead. As it is today, I love working from my iPad Air because of its inherent simplicity relative to a full-fledged Mac. (via Daring Fireball)