Have you ever heard of the Rule of Threes? It’s a guideline used widely in writing and communicating that dictates your message is clearer and more effective when you can convey it in three parts.
For example, in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that every American had an inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Drop any one of those, and the sentence is somehow less effective.
You know who else was a big fan of the Rule of Threes? Steve Jobs.
Over at Forbes, Carmine Gallo writes:
Steve Jobs applied the Rule of 3 in nearly every presentation and product launch. In 2007 Jobs introduced the first iPhone as the “third” of Apple’s revolutionary product categories (the first two were the Macintosh and the iPod). He even said that Apple would be introducing “three” revolutionary products—a new iPod, a phone, and an Internet communications device. Jobs repeated the three products slowly until the audience finally figured out he was talking about one device capable of handling all three tasks.
In 2010 Jobs introduced the first iPad with a slide showing the new tablet as a “third device” between a smartphone and a laptop. The iPad, he told the audience, would also come in “three models”: 16, 32, and 64 GB of flash storage.
In 2011, Jobs introduced the iPad 2 as “thinner, lighter, and faster” than the original. The three adjectives so accurately described the new device, thousands of blog and newspaper headlines included those three words.
Steve Jobs was a big fan of distilling messages to their essence, and Gallo’s right: once you know what you’re looking for, Apple’s adherence to the rule of threes is everywhere, from how many models of iPhone and iPad they sell to the number of apps in the iWork suite.