Perfect, Maybe

Apple is the biggest company in the world with net worth of $750 billion. When you buy a MacBook, you will experience a new OS upgrade every few months. Here is the list of upgrades for "OS X El Capitan" with their release dates:

  • Version 10.11 was released on September 30, 2015
  • Version 10.11.1 was released on October 21, 2015
  • Version 10.11.2 was released on December 8, 2015
  • Version 10.11.3 was released on January 19, 2016
  • Version 10.11.4 was released on March 21, 2016
  • Version 10.11.5 was released on May 16, 2016
  • Version 10.11.6 was released on July 18, 2016

Almost every 2 months, a new version of their Operating System is released. It’s free, they are not charging for it. No financial gains from it to company.

Then what is the reason behind it? Can’t they make a perfect product in one go? Why an upgrade is needed every few months?

All these versions are running on same Laptop, that people have bought. One can infer that Apple can make good hardware but they are not as good with software and that's why it needs constant updates.

But is that hypothesis correct? Let's examine

Companies make many products. Users of those products and services expect the product to be perfect. It has always been and will always be the same way.

With time, companies have realized, it’s not possible to create a perfect product. Every user has unique needs. Understanding and encapsulating the needs of everyone in one go and coming up with a perfect solution is just not possible.

But what’s the use of an imperfect product. Why will somebody buy something, which is not perfect?

Perfect product cannot be made and no one will buy and imperfect product, because of this a new paradigm has emerged and growing rapidly. It’s called "work in progress". You buy a product and give feedback to the company. Based on the feedback received from all users, they will make a better product and give it back to customers. The process repeats every few weeks or months and it's gaining good adaptation.

Most products these days are getting divided in 2 parts, hardware and software. Hardware cannot be changed without capital investment from consumers, but they can have the software for free, every few weeks from the manufecturer. Consumers buy products, with good configuration. Be it TV, Mobile Phone, Laptop, car and many other things. Every few days they get new features in the form software update without any capital investment. It gave the freedom to manufacturers to sell products that are work in progress, and can be upgraded every few weeks from another work in progress software.

What is the method to decide the readyness of a product for customers?

It’s time.

Companies create a stretegy about how oftern they will release a new version of software. It can be 2 weeks or 2 months or any other timeline. A subset of features is finalized from a big list of requirements. The features that are urgent, important and can be accomplished in stipulated time makes it to the list. At the end of designated time, they are pushed to the customers.

Today, the world is moving from psudo perfectionism to work in progress. Be it electronics, software, mobile apps or any other things. People are adapting the products that are good enough for now, and will be upgraded with a better work in progress every few weeks.