Apparently Steve Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, "spent a lot of time asking ourselves, 'What is the purpose of a sofa?'" It was the choice of a washing machine, however, that proved most vexing, writes Malcom Gladwell in The New Yorker:
European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes. But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle. What should the family do? As Jobs explained, "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?
Perhaps Apple will on day produce an overpriced washing-machine that combines the best from European and American technology, incl. some Asian robot, which folds the laundry away.
Did you know that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution?
Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine in this TED Talk. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, he "shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading."