“We didn’t have a very good one so we spent a little time looking at them,” he told contributing editor Gary Isaac Wolf. “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.”
Two weeks of discussions to choose a washing machine? That’s life in the Jobs household. (He opted for Miele in the end, adding, “I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years.”)
So how does he justify deliberating for so long? Well interestingly he compared it to a phone – an essential item, but something people don’t have time to spend figuring out. “You just don’t have time to learn this stuff, and everything’s getting more complicated.” So he simplified it all with the original iPhone, and the mobile landscape changed forever. If Apple made washing machines, you can bet they’d be the easiest to use in the world.
I didn’t remember seeing that one way back when but it sounds about right.