leo in Hacker News a complaint like any otheroriginally from Foone and Twitter, which has garnered almost 700 responses, 400 retweets and 3,000 likes between both platforms. The complaint, or desperate request, goes like this:
Anything with a battery should have an off switch.
And that’s how you start to look back and put the pieces together, remember all the times when the experience of using a device was frustrating because you couldn’t have a switch like that. For example, the first generation Apple Pencil, which could be charged with a tiny adapter but in practice used to use a dantesque image connecting it directly to the Lightning port of the iPad.
Since there was no way to turn it off, its battery was draining and it was usual to find it without any power. the second generation It doesn’t have this switch either, but at least it has magnetic charging and a natural place on the iPad to rest on while it recharges.
not just pencils
A smart scale I bought a few months ago, the Withings Body+, more of the same: it’s always waiting to detect weight and wake up, so its four AAA batteries only last a few months. If there was a way to turn it off completely, it would surely last much longer, but it is what it is.
The AirPods Max, the most expensive headphones that Apple sells, they have wanted to be so simple and clean that they also do not have an off switchonly with its “smart cover” system that puts the headphones into an “ultra low power” mode, according to Apple.
In practice, a few days or weeks at most without using them will cause us to find ourselves with a significant drain on the battery. If we do not want to use the cover, which will not win industrial design awards either, we are directly doomed to 0% remaining autonomy. Low power mode is fine, a 0 power mode would be even better.
The absence of off switches is usually due to aesthetic reasons, especially in not-so-small products, and non-functional
The case of the AirPods Max is paradigmatic of the tendency to over-prioritize form over function. Not including an on/off switch in their design made them even more sober to look at, but with the toll of having to wear that cover (that cover) to extend the life of your battery instead of having them in another case that takes better care of their integrity or sustained by a stand on the desk. It sounds like it would have been even more sober to have them like this instead of, I insist, that cover. And of course, more useful.
Truly wireless headphones also rarely have a kill switch in their case. If we add to this the intelligent functions of some, such as the ability to be searched wirelessly by emitting a signal continuously, we have something similar.
There are other types of devices that do not have an on and off button as such, but they only turn on when we touch any of the buttons they have. For example, him Nintendo Switch Pro controller. A good design of its circuitry allows something like this, although on the other hand, storing it in a place where the buttons can be pressed by mistake (like a drawer full of cables and accessories that we rummage through from time to time) may well end up in the remote lasting much less time than it should with battery. A middle way but better than devices with only mode standby.
A common —and well-reasoned— complaint about journalistic work is the insinuation that journalists often write thinking that they will be read by other journalists, and hence their desire to impress them; when it should prevail to write for the readers, not for professional colleagues. Not even for their bosses. In the case of industrial designers, the same is raised as a reasonable doubt: perhaps there is sometimes more desire to be recognized for a design instead of offering the best experience for the user of that product.
The European Union has taken steps that are both slow (it started in 2009) and conclusive around the single charger for mobile devices, which even Apple will end up assuming. It would not be surprising if at some point he considers getting his hands on devices that end up demanding considerably more energy than necessary due to a design decision that is not exactly in favor of the consumer, and much less of sustainability and energy efficiency. Scales, headphones, small accessories…
Though that’s supposed to be covered with the chargers and headphones, which are no longer included in the box so the design teams can put aesthetics before everything else. Or well, maybe not.