We've all heard Steve Jobs pitching from the multitude of "greatest" new devices released by Apple and his acumen for fine design is a given. But here's an insightful interview which reveals exactly what Mr. Jobs looks for when he's upgrading/purchasing his own household hardware, in this case, clothes washing appliances. Can you guess which brand he ended up choosing?
"It turns out that the Americans make washers and dryers all wrong. The Europeans make them much better – but they take twice as long to do clothes! It turns out that they wash them with about a quarter as much water and your clothes end up with a lot less detergent on them. Most important, they don't trash your clothes. They use a lot less soap, a lot less water, but they come out much cleaner, much softer, and they last a lot longer."
"We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table. We'd get around to that old washer-dryer discussion. And the talk was about design."
"We ended up opting for these Miele appliances, made in Germany. They're too expensive, but that's just because nobody buys them in this country. They are really wonderfully made and one of the few products we've bought over the last few years that we're all really happy about. These guys really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years."
That's quite the endorsement for Miele, but we're prone to agree profusely about their quality and features (at least from personal experience with their category leading vacuum line, with aspirations for their washer and dryers). One could also argue his assessment of Miele's price vs. quality could be applied to his very own company's offerings, for better or worse, depending upon your opinion of the Cupertino designed products.
Excerpts from Gary Wolf's Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing for Wired from 1996.
Photo from the highly recommended photography book, The Bigger Picture: Thirty Years of Portraits by Diane Walker.