Colum McAndrew recently wrote an article in his RoboColumn that noted a lack of manuals for Apple products. I’d like to note that Apple does offer a full set of very well-done manuals that is available online. The manuals don’t come printed in the box with the device – but very few products do that today.
The iPhone 4s did come with a printed booklet called Finger Tips. It fit right in the tiny box. For those who choose to read it, you get the key steps to the latest features. Fitting ten topic pages/panels into an 2″x3″ booklet while still making it useful is a great example of less is more technical communication.
Apple is a great example of a company that provides a wide variety of support information, recognizing different needs and learning styles. This includes providing traditional manuals and quickstarts. If only 1 or 2 percent of Apple customers are interested in this, that still amount to millions of users. Apple’s PDF manuals feature hotlinks from the TOC, color, and descriptive graphics. Assuming they don’t just waste money on needless projects, Apple obviously sees a value in providing this type of content to their customers.