For instance :
> "...The iMac banished complicated, hard-to-use PCs from our desks and made computing easy."
> "...the two men set out on their maniacal journey to remake what they saw as the bland, lazy world around them.."
> "...Tomorrow doesn’t wait for the man who designs it."
> "... It looks like all the other dull, un-Apple-like glass and beige — yes, beige — concrete blocks."
This last one isn't so much worshipful as ironic, considering the color chosen by Jobs for the original Macintosh.
If one applies the typical standards of high school English to this article, asking "What is it trying to communicate?" "What is someone trying to tell me?" etc., one will be left very empty. It's a puff piece, inflating a corporate celebrity. All of the text is designed to persuade you that "yes, indeed, this man surely is impressive. Yes, this company is impressive."
With all that gleaming prose, it's easy to forget all the things one might want to know, such as, "How can I do this, too?" or "Are there any pitfalls or problems with this?" "Are these appropriations of resources worth it or is this a Dutch tulip fiasco playing out in slow-motion?" "Why are people so starved for quality in other parts of their lives that they demand quality in their digital appliances?"
But none of that really matters, b/c Time is a dying, over-inflated magazine, so they'll just put "Apple" and "Design" in a headline, mollify people with fascinating details with no hint of self-reflection and call it a day.
In short, this an article for sheep, not people trying to figure out how to make the world good.
Being a fan of the art deco periods and vintage glass its not like Apple invented getting it down to the details, however they may be worth crediting for reminding us of when design, appearance, and quality, could all go together. Got a toaster from the 50s that meets all of those and still works; 1B16
Minimalism gone too far? I suppose so.
> Recessed dials? A photographer wouldn't be caught dead without quick access to ISO, aperture values, shutter speed, and exposure metering/bracketing.
Plenty of cameras that photographers use don’t have direct access to many of those settings.
> Fumbling around with fingernails inside a recessed dial is the last thing you want to do when a child is running between two trees and the sunlight is streaming down on him, mottled from the shadows of the trees, and you've got the perfect shot.
You would miss that shot with any Leica M ever made, unless you were already set at ƒ/8 and hyperfocal, in which case this one would work just as well.
You would probably miss that shot with an H5D too, and I’m pretty sure some photographers find that useful.
Finally, that camera was not made to take pictures. It’s sad, maybe, but that’s just the way it is.
Criticism gone too far, I think.
If you had used a Leica M you wouldn't be spouting such nonsense about f/8 and hyperfocal.
the H5D? that bears not a single resemblance to a Leica M (non digital), it's a digital, autofocus medium format SLR, as opposed to a film, manual focus, 35mm rangefinder.
A competent photographer would get that shot using either an M or H5D, it's the amateurs with no idea that miss shots.
Such anger. Wow.
That's a heck of a claim from what amounts to an anonymous kid on the internet.
> [...]when I ask whether he is flattered or frustrated when he sees his designs so widely referenced, reworked — ok, copied. “It’s theft,” he replies in a heartbeat, his eyes narrowing sharply.
Isn't that the real shame here? I admire Apple for their undisputed ability to strike these marvels of design and the way in which they are immitated does reinforce that they have condensed their solutions into something true, something fundamental. And - fluffiness aside, I do think they serve as demonstrations "against thoughtlessness and carelessness". I admire it in a similar way that I admire how wikipedia has become the encyclopedia. The difference is that in the latter, we have realized that it is a common good that needs to be shared, not an asset that a company posesses.
I understand the enormous amount of work that Ive and his team have put into these devices and they are justified in thinking that they deserve a lot of glory for them. But maybe they are looking for it in the wrong places?
Maybe the identity crisis that Apple has isn't so much their inability to find the next big thing, but their over-attachment to their past hits? Perhaps the key to new glory is letting go of the old glory and sharing it with the world, their ego removed from the equation?
Compare Microsoft's attachment to, and unwillingness to consider letting go of, Windows, with Apple's triaging of the iPod and Mac...
Surely he's not talking about the headphones supplied with iDevices.
To some extent all power bricks will have some problems like this. I just think that the apple power supplies are particularly poorly designed. I've had a Dell and a macbook pro. The bog standard power supply on the Dell lasted 5+ years of daily use. The apple connector -- which I cared for more than the Dell -- lasted just over a year.
Apple's chargers are in fact much, much tougher than the competition's; this is obvious if you just look at the construction for five seconds and even more obvious if you go read a tear-down of them.
BS. When they introduced the current design they had no strain relief, because Steve Jobs thought they were ugly. Guess what? You need a damn strain relief. Year by year their strain reliefs have gotten longer and longer, but they still have a sharp cutoff (that looks pretty, I'll grant them that) that causes the cable to bunch up and break.
And they've made mistakes with their materials choices as well. My parents had a Magsafe charger by the TV, used when sitting in the sofa. After a couple years, the plastic in the little clip you're supposed to use to wind up the cable reacted with the plastic in the cable, and if you moved it, it just tore the cable sheathing apart.
> more obvious if you go read a tear-down of them
The electronics are solid, I'll grant them that. But in the exterior they made tradeoffs for looks.
It was an acknowledged design flaw, and Apple fixed it with more strain relief on later models, and a changed angle for a real fix.
The durability of the charger has little to do with the presence of a design flaw in the cable.
Then again, I don't carry it that frequently because the battery life is usually enough. Somebody who puts more wear on them would be more likely to have problems, but I'm not convinced they're so much worse than adapters from other companies.
I happen to prefer "the brick" Lenovo bundled with a comparable laptop. It does the job when plugged in (can charge the battery even if the laptop is going full blast) and there are adapters I can buy down to if I want something more portable.
Shame that their margins are public knowledge and we know he's talking utter shit.
Not saying that's the case here, but that a true gradient in offerings is not always existent.
So far, when I see someone trashing Apple headphones, they go on to recommend something which forms a tight-seal in the ear -- without a doubt better sounding, but really a different category of product.
Me, I take one earbud out when I am in an area that requires auditory attention to my surroundings.
It's a pity, I would have enjoyed a real interview with him.
I wish that Google provided the data and Apple the front-end design, just like in the good old days.
The retina display and removal of optical disk drives are pretty major design updates. The screen is arguably the most important part of a laptop and making it retina while still maintaining good battery life is a huge deal.
(not saying I personally feel they are, but they definitely have an unmistakable look over the years, similar to a BMW 3 series)
In comparison to what? You cannot say that without backing it up. If we are going to critique design, let's do it properly.
"We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects. It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care — just like the people who make them."
I am certainly a big believer in "giving a damn" about design and code. I completely believe that people "feel" the care that went into a product. I myself have agonized over a detail without any direct evidence that anyone, anywhere, would ever notice or care.
But I'm not sure this type of dismissive talk is the right way to relay the message. There are objects that are intended to fulfill specific requirements and budgets. Apple has the luxury of selling high-end products to people, like me, who are lucky enough to afford (unsubsidized) $600 phones. We take it for granted, but that's not the norm for a bunch of great people.
There's an office chair at Staples that is uglier than the chair I sit in. The materials simply don't compare. But then neither would the price. There are people who just need a damn chair, and don't have a bunch of money to afford a "non-anonymous" chair designed by somebody who "cared." In fact, to the contrary, I'm certain the designer of the cheap chair appreciates his or her job, is trying to provide for a family, and would care not to lose their job.
Elon Musk made a similar comment. He said the actual cost to the manufacturer of a car in terms of product design is negligible. You could design the most beautiful car in the world without dramatically changing the sticker price for the finished product. So maybe Kia should go for it: spend millions of dollars per year and put together the best design shop the industry has ever known! Design an incredible new studio for them to work in. Give them the best tools. A completely new prototyping facility to print their designs. Hire color consultants to get the paint just right.
And then tell them they can only use the materials and manufacturing process of today's $12,000 car, and somehow ensure the incredible demand for the most beautiful car ever conceived did not impact the price in any way.
Is it any wonder Tesla, despite Musk's claims, is working his way from the top of the market, and not the bottom?
Tim Cook said last year something similar with regard to Android tablets. He said those tablets are collecting dust (my cheap, $199 Nexus 7 is not). If a parent really cared about their children's education, they would opt for a more expensive iPad because it has better children's apps (probably true right now).
This is the same line of communication that Ive demonstrates here. To me, it's dismissive. I actually love my little daughter a whole bunch. I'm crazy about her. I don't measure that love in dollars, and I actually think a cheaper, more durable Nexus 7 is the better option for her to play with right now.
Apple's communications are borderline dismissive to people who are less fortunate and less lucky. I don't think that's intentional, because they are full of wonderful people, but I wish they would be more careful in their communication. Marketing should be optimistic and aspirational, not dismissive and elitist.
I read the whole article, and it's a total fluff piece. It's a hit for Apple's PR machine. Their message is: we are trying to appeal to people who purport to care about quality. We come across as just a little arrogant, but not so arrogant as to be off-putting to the people who want to buy our stuff.
Honestly, if you want to buy a $199 Nexus 7 for your daughter, you should do so and not feel bad about it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with (1) buying a chair from Staples, or (2) being an employee of the company that makes the Staples office chair.
But if you're buying a Mercedes, you need a little affirmation that you shouldn't feel guilty that some people can only afford Chevy. And now you have an article in Time magazine that gives you that affirmation.
Android has its faults, but it would be absurd to say that Google doesn't care about the platform. The Nexus line itself demonstrates that they want these devices to be delightful and well-designed in the way Apple machines are.
Yes, there are devices out there that are good for no-one. Machines that are unfit for any purpose other than marking bullet-pointed features at a low price. But to tar the entire industry outside of Apple with this label is the height of absurdity.
Of course eventually some issues like this get fixed. The first few products may be duds, but the 3rd or 4th iteration might be quite good, and the fifth might be fantastic. Of course that's where these companies want to get to. But meanwhile how many thousands of customers bought the first few versions? Who's standing up for them?
Sure Apple can bring out duds too, products that fail to take off, or have serious limitations. Some of the early Macbook Airs couldn't play full-screen video properly, but at least they could play video. When was the last time Apple brought out a product that was truly unfit for purpose?
Or we could talk about the random reboots (worse than any of the many Android devices or Windows PCs I've used in the last several years) and other serious bugs that plagued iOS 7 (not all of which have been fixed). For instance, this music syncing bug:
which, if you are unlucky enough to encounter it, can render a previously-working iPod almost completely unfit for purpose. When my wife's iPod got trapped in this issue the only reason we didn't get rid of it is that we also kept our music at Amazon, so she was able to successfully switch to Amazon Cloud Player. Or we could talk about the stubborn persistence of Wi-Fi gremlins with some device/OS combinations or ...
Apple may have a better batting average than most, but they have their share of strikeouts as well.
And sometimes they put out products that many people think are embarrassingly bad that turn out to be wonderful (e.g. Galaxy Note). Apple and the Android ecosystem have radically different development models. Merely looking at the raw output is a poor way to understand what's really going on.
The antenna thing was a non-issue. Steve Jobs arrogant replies on the topic ("you're holding it wrong") certainly helped it blow up in the media.
This was a silly, overblown issue.
How many Google, Samsung, HTC, execs havevlietvyheir jobs over putting out sub par products? Not over losing money or failed business decisions, but purely over the quality of the user experience?
Interesting that you used KIA for this example. Several years ago they hired celebrity designer - Peter Schreyer, responsible for Audi TT and New Beetle - to do just that. And current KIAs are much better designed and still cheapest cars in NA market.
I'd agree if we were in a 3rd world country somewhere, but we (probably both) aren't. People who need to save $200 on a tablet where we live very likely do not need said tablet at all. In the end we just often buy inferior products (in design, functionality and longevity) in order to be able to purchase a larger total number of unnecessary items. We absurdly feel we've put our money to better use if we spent it on more things, most of which we cannot put to good use anyway.
It's why we get to buy so much broken crap these days (I was going to keep Apple vs. Everyone out of this, but I still use my 1st gen iPad while the only Android tablet I ever bought, an Archos HD97 never worked properly - due to flaky WiFi hardware apparently).
> Is it any wonder Tesla, despite Musk's claims, is working his way from the top of the market, and not the bottom?
Musk explained this many years ago. It has nothing to do with the cost of design: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-p...
This statement seems totally divorced from my reality.
I live in the US, albeit one of the poorer states. I do, however, make nearly twice the median household income. My mortgage consumes approximately one-quarter of my after-tax income.
But $200 is definitely a significant amount of money to me. Nearly all my money is spent on necessities - by which I mean food, electricity, medical, propane, gas, household and car repairs, etc. I am left over with a few hundred dollars a month in "spending" money, of which I prefer to save at least half. I am definitely not spending that in an endeavor to comfort myself with a bunch of junk.
But it would take some serious consideration and a really, really good reason for me to spend an extra $200 on a product. There must be some extra use case extremely important to me to justify spending an extra $200 - just better design or some bonus functionality is not sufficient. That said, I do take longevity into account - I am typing this on a nearly 8 year old Dell laptop - because I try to look at the total cost, and buying a replacement factors into that.
In my experience, people either do what I do, or just give up altogether and buy cheap because that's all they can afford and its Good Enough.
It's difficult for me to even fathom having the attitude that "if you can't spend $200 more, you don't need it." I would argue that I do "need" a tablet (as far as anyone does) - I travel frequently and it would be very nice to have, and even when I am at work I walk around a lot. But I'm not looking at an iPad and cost is the main consideration there. For me it's down the a Kindle Fire (cheap, OK for consumption, call this a probably) or Surface Pro (expensive, but would be much more useful for my use cases, but not very likely because of cost.)
It's also pretty offensive how you casually decide what people do and do not need.
Sure, I technically don't need a lot of things; I could probably live on a diet mostly consisting of cabbage, egg and rice. Does that mean I should, if I can't afford to eat foie gras?
This is just begging for a scathing reply. Please eat healthy food and if necessary, buy fewer Android tablets to afford it. Foie gras likely isn't good for you, cabbage, egg and rice is probably a much better diet.
>People who need to save $200 on a tablet where we live very likely do not need said tablet at all
You essentially said that if you cant afford the 200 dollars more for an arguably better product, you don't actually need it or its substitutes.
I made an analogy with food. Just because I can't afford to eat something expensive doesn't mean I shouldn't eat anything beyond the cheapest basic staples.
I could have just as easily made the analogy in another way, say with tools: i.e. if I can't afford the extra 200 dollars for a better, more powerful drill, I don't need a drill at all.
A tablet is in essence a tool, just like a drill is.
The reason I found this offensive is because you're talking about need as if you're its great arbiter. You don't know if a guy making 500 dollars a week needs a tablet for some reason, but you at least appear to think he doesn't deserve one if he can't afford the apple model.
But electronic gadgets aren't food. One of my points was that they are (to the extent we spend money on) not necessary. It's indicative of an attempt to derail this that you chose an analogy with, of all things, food (which is kinda necessary, don't you agree?).
> You don't know if a guy making 500 dollars a week needs a tablet for some reason, but you at least appear to think he doesn't deserve one if he can't afford the apple model.
If had meant to imply that, I'd have written it that way. I made a broad, general statement because that's exactly what I was trying to communicate: we (that includes me) spend too much on gadgets, the cheaper, the better, without thinking about actual need and quality first (before price). I'm not going to judge individual decisions without looking into them, so don't insinuate that I would.
>People who need to save $200 on a tablet where we live very likely do not need said tablet at all
You are defending the point
>People where we live very likely do not need said tablet at all
So your tablet argument becomes: "if I can't afford the foie gras, I shouldn't bother with a decent cheese plate either", which is obviously wrong for a variety of reasons (including that some people just don't like foie gras).
I have got some news for you: the quality of parts in your Apple products isn't significantly better than those in its competitors, because they are from the same sources over in east Asia.
My first guess: your disk is nearly full. This will choke any machine.
Disk being nearly full choking any machine? No. Stopping some things from working properly if they want to write new files maybe, but it shouldn't make your operating system unresponsive. If a writable drive was required to run a responsive OS, you wouldn't be able to do neat tricks like read-only mounted linux desktops.
Anyway, I think you and I generally agree. I would just say you don't have to go to a third world country to find someone who wants to save $200 on a tablet. You can find communities right here in America where their children have limited access to quality education, or bad temptations outside of classroom hours, and I would argue a cheap tablet _with the right content and direction_ might have a real impact.
Not that we should be outsourcing parenting to computers............
My point is that as her parent/teacher/friend it's up to me to show her when to use it as a tool for school, learning, manipulating and when to use it to consume. This is a much finer line as she can easily get lost in tangents of rainbow loom videos and forget that she started watching them to learn to weave a new bracelet. But apps like Hopscotch are genius for disguising logic, creative and critical thinking into a fun activity she considers a game.
So I posit that they are good. Like anything else good they should be used in moderation and it's up to the parentals to teach them how to use the tool instead of consuming from the tool. Both actities are using the tablet, but without moderation and guidance it's like giving a child access to unlimited money and expecting them to manage their finances themselves.
With regards to the quick buck apps - I tell here we don't download those b/c they just pop annoying adds and the other games she wants that have in app upgrades she has to save up her allowance ($3/week) if she wants them.
I'm saying that I think one can have both the tablet interaction along with the 'natural' interaction. And I say this as a biology major who grew up on 5 acres with a natural aquifer and a ravine that fed a 50 acre swamp. The onus is on the parents of the touch screen generation to recognize the dual potential for both creation & learning and consumption of the devices. The hard part is showing them how to balance the two or taking it away altogether and catching catapillers with them.
The ballpoint pen, the bottlecap, the Clipper lighter, cinderblocks, the Yale lock and key. We're surrounded by objects of sublime brilliance, most of which are trivially inexpensive, but we just don't notice them because they're part of the fabric of our lives.
Look at the faucet in your bathroom. It's a shitty, ugly piece of design, because all faucets are awful. Go to Home Depot and you'll see a hundred different kinds of faucet, all of them ugly in their own way, all of them annoying to use. Maybe one day, some genius will invent a brilliant new kind of faucet that becomes a fashion item, then a much-imitated fad, then just how faucets look, then just how all faucets have always looked. But before that can happen, some smart people need to care more about faucets than anything else in the world.
If a car manufacturer could, it would be disruptive - but it's the exception, not the rule. That said, I think Tesla's the most likely candidate to do this! But it's worth noting they did it from the top moving downstream. It's more difficult to do this when you're starting at the position of a Kia or even a Toyota. It's not just about throwing money at the problem, and that, I believe, is contrary to Musk's argument.
I had a 2009 Hyudai Sonata 4-dr with the v6 before my current car, and liked it a lot. It was about 1/2 the price of the car I have now. To be honest, I can't even really get the most out of my V8 for day to day driving, and mostly got the new car for coolness factor (2012 Challenger R/T). There's times I also miss my pickup truck.
I also accept that for the most part, I'm not most people. Just the same, I have no doubt that Hyundai or Kia could match Mercedes, BMW, Catillac and the like for a significantly lower price. The rules of economics still apply though. The image of a "lesser" brand would not be offset by higher quality to increase demand/price. Why do you think Toyota sells their high end under the Lexus brand?
Beyond all this, there's nothing wrong with selling a product for as much as you can get.
That design choice directly impacts who Tesla targets with their products.
The original Macintosh was a pretty small team, and there were other tech companies with more resources than Apple at the time, but they still managed to produce some outstanding products at affordable prices.
I didn't feel the sentiment Ive was making in the piece was dismissive, but rather he was quietly proud that the company's vision has always been to create well thought-out and well-designed products that people can appreciate the effort behind.
I couldn't disagree more. I think it's condescending to treat less fortunate people differently this way. Almost everyone aspires to someday have all the nice fancy things they want. The worst thing a maker of premium products can do is apologize for making premium products. People want to believe someday they will be able to have all the nice fancy things. They don't want to be told essentially 'sorry you are too poor to buy my product. you'll probably never be able to afford them"
The goal is sometimes to make a product no one hates rather than a product half the market adores and the other half hate.
A £16,000 car is (usually) a primarily utilitarian purchase so a strong polarising design ethic is somewhat risky, We are not talking about Bugatti Veyrons or even BMW M5's.
I do automotive product development and I've always felt that materials really do make a difference. I also feel that time can sometimes play a bigger difference to perfect design than cost.
I even built software for design and simulation of electronic equipment do you can test usability before you commit to building.
In other words, criticizing a design is fair. The puck mouse sucked. Criticizing a person because they created a poor design is not and shows a lack of awareness of what design work involves.
Mighty mouse (I owned one): ball that stopped working instantly when you used it and the only way to get it clean involved destroying the mouse.
Pro mouse (I owned one): cable frayed after no less than two weeks.
Apple USB puck mouse: just totally unusable pile of crap unfit for human use.
I decided to go for the innovative option in the end: the Microsoft £10 optical mouse. Works much better than anything Apple have ever thrown out.
However, for regular office use Magic Mouse probably is the most pleasant mouse I've used (and I've used a lot of different models). Never been pinched. And it's in one piece still (bought it just after it was released).
For gaming it's more or less unusable though… I need my scroll to be tactile, and I also need to be able to use both mouse buttons at the same time. Long live Logitech MX 500/510/518 for fragging!
Too bad that you've had bad experiences with Magic Mouse.
I'm not sure whether it's bad design that you 'should' hold it differently, but at least for me this is why I quite like the mouse.
(the bottom has started coming off though. that does bother me)
I was born and have lived in Hull all my life and that sounds about right, in fairness the boss wearing a red nose for a charity day isn't that big a deal.
> boss lampooned his work as too modern and too expensive to build — while wearing a giant plastic red nose.
I suspect it contained a few more epithets than that.
really? Ive regularly appears in public and gives interviews. there's a reason he's famous and well-known. sheesh.
Sources? I've only ever seen a few interviews with Ive, nothing in depth and usually related to design with very little emphasis on Apple.
I remember watching Ive in a conversation with Steven Fry on Fry's tour of the US. He was even on Charlie Rose.
"Ive helped transform computing" vs "Jobs transformed computing"
Aside from that, nice to read some of Ives thoughts on design.
(This space intentionally left blank.)
Also goes for software.
This is, to me, a way to convey to the public that Apple's core is not dead with Jobs, after years of attributing him all the miracles.
Apple's brand is made of heroes and epics. Ive could well be the next one. The picture they used for the article tells a lot.
Good luck Apple ! You deserve it as a team
Jobs was the center of it all
Do you think it would be better to have a more decentralized political structure?
pretty low level,
Stick to the pretty box Ives, know your limits.
Give us the damn interview!