With the iPhone, Apple is building products at a level of quality that may be unprecedented in the history of mass manufacturing. But the only way to know what that means for you, a user of the phone, is to pick it up and feel it, because objectively it does not sound like a big deal. If I tell you the greatest thing about the iPhone 5 is how it “feels,” you’ll accuse me of being a superficial aesthete who cares more for form than function. You don’t care how a phone was built or how it looks; you just want it to work. But I think that argument misses something important about what it means for a phone to “work well”: When you’re holding a device all the time, how it feels affects its functionality. Or, as Steve Jobs might say, how it feels is how it works.
iPhone 5 review: Marveling at the existence of the greatest phone ever made. – Slate Magazine. This is actually something very much worth thinking about. What if Apple is managing to bring a similar level of tactile pleasure to mass-produced devices that we normally associate only with unique objects, like the netsuke collected by the Ephrussi family and described in The Hare with Amber Eyes? It wouldn’t be the first time: people can feel this way about certain well-made fountain pens and notebooks, for instance. But it’s pretty unusual if not unique with computing devices.