Steve seemed astonished that I spent less time talking about my projects than I spent describing the objectives, goals, and processes of my approach to design, including my experiences navigating power struggles within my client’s companies— most of which resulted in very successful products. He seemed mildly uncomfortable with the idea that a design language isn’t universal or absolute but needs to be right for the spirit of a company, and I saw him frown when I said that aesthetics evoke emotions but are just one of the elements of a great product.
In fact, Steve didn’t really know much about design, but he liked German cars. Leveraging that connection, I explained that design like that has to be a complete package, that it must express the product’s very soul; without the excellent driving experience and the history of stellar performance, a Porsche would be just another nice car—but it wouldn’t be a Porsche. We also discussed American design, and I offended him when I insisted that American computer and consumer electronics companies totally underestimated the taste of American consumers—Sony’s success with clean design being the proof. He was gracious enough to concede that Apple didn’t make the cut, but he also said that he was out to change all that, which was why he was looking for a world-class designer.
One of Esslinger’s central assertions is that Steve Jobs was no design genius when Apple began, and yet design became central to Apple’s subsequent success. Getting the company to the point that it could produce world-class consumer goods required something akin to a corporate civil war, pitting Jobs and small groups of engineers and designers against the rest of the company.
It is interesting to get insight into Jobs before he was ‘famous,’ especially from the perspective of, arguably, one of the most important men in the design business.
While you have to take Esslinger’s opinion with a grain of salt, his core point is important: design is learned.
That said, there still might be basic traits that make some better than others, naturally.
Ben Thompson arguing that we’re getting a lower priced iPhone now because the internals of the iPhone 5 (which the iPhone 5C will reportedly use) are finally “good enough”:
In fact, the primary mistake Apple has made, if they made one, was in determining exactly where the “good enough” line is at. The iPhone 4S is arguably “good enough” and could have been the basis for a mid-range model last year. Apple thought otherwise though; I would imagine a not insignificant factor is that the iPhone 5 is the first iPhone with a fully Apple-designed SoC, the A6.
The big question mark for tomorrow remains what price this iPhone 5C will come in at? Thompson makes the case for $450 (unsubsidized) and $99 (subsidized) — with a $0 subsidized price point being possible as well (matching the current iPhone 4). That doesn’t seem cheap because it’s not. But it is still $200 cheaper than the current (unsubsidized) iPhone 5.
Remember also that the 32GB iPod touch currently costs $299 (unsubsidized, of course). If you think Apple is going to sell the iPhone 5C for a cheaper price than that, you’re crazy. It’s a higher-end machine. $350 may be possible (well, $349 in Apple parlance) if Apple really wanted to be aggressive. But I agree that $450 would be more likely. We’ll see tomorrow.
We are paying for the high-end brand. It is all about the name, the symbol because, let’s be honest, other phones do more and offer more.
Design, like many disciplines, is about a diversity of approaches as soft solutions rather than hard truths. It’s a spectrum, not an either-or decision about whether to skeu or not to skeu.
"How Jony Ive’s Apple iOS 7 Hinders the Future of Design" - John Maeda
An excellent point. Yes there are 2 ends of the spectrum, practically polar opposites, but there are places in between. iOS 7 feels a little bit like an Ives ego trip.
Regardless of the product, Apple’s heart is in the right place.
Some sceptics reckon that Google has a long way to go before it can aspire to Apple-like excellence. “Consistency alone does not make for great design,” sniffs Jason Putorti, a designer who works for Causes, a web business that helps people mount online campaigns. Others point out that products such as Google Glass, prototype web-connected glasses that make wearers look like extras from a Terminator movie, are still badly in need of beautification (see picture).
True. But the fact remains that Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is mastering the kind of web services that have made its rival so successful. And the stock market has noticed.
Definitely an interesting thing to think about how these two are going to switch roles in the tech industry. Especially as the chief of hardware design has now moved to designing software.
Although Google has certainly not mastered the whole design thing, they have made more significant changes to their products as well as introducing new products where design is the priority, than Apple has in the last 2 years.
Google’s changes have been more disruptive and drastic while Apple is making minor and iterative changes, but is this necessarily the best way to go when it comes to meeting the consumer demand that these two companies face?
Oh look, another rumor about a new Apple product.
iPads outsold HP PCs, but does that mean the end of the PC?
The iPad outsold HP’s PCs, but am I living in the past if i am still attached to my MacBook, which I will probably replace with another one?
Apple sold more iPads last quarter than HP sold PCs. Those iPads are used to read books, write books, create and give presentations, get directions, teach med students and lawyers, run companies, drive home theater systems, and, of course, play games.
But if you’re still not thinking about the iPad as a “personal computer” because it doesn’t ship with a hardware keyboard or some type of port, I hope 1995 is treating you well.
Stanford’s archives offer a look at the beginnings of the now mammouth, Apple. Wowza.
Inside Stanford’s Apple archive, which offers a rare look at the company’s history of innovation through archival footage, interviews, and other documents, from a how Apple was named Apple to the company’s first computers to Steve Jobs’s time at NeXT. Apple donated the company archive to Stanford in 1997.