The Atlantic

The Myth of Apple's Great Design

The company’s new “spaceship” headquarters shows how its beauty has always been skin deep.

Source: Noah Berger / Reuters

Apple has great design is the biggest myth in technology today. The latest victim of this ideology comes in the form a remarkable report on the late Steve Jobs’s final project, still in production: a new, $5 billion Cupertino headquarters for Apple Inc.

Writing for Reuters, Julia Love outlines the campus’s “astonishing attention to detail.” Vents and pipes remain obscured from reflection in the structure’s massive, curved-glass façade. Thick guidebooks regulate the usage of wood. Structural seams are held to a standards measuring a fraction of normal construction tolerances. Individual ceiling panels require multi-step approval. A door handle—the project’s first deliverable—is rejected for sub-nanometer imperfections. Even the empty spaces of thresholds are subjected to meticulous attention:

One of the most vexing features was the doorways, which Apple wanted to be perfectly flat, with no threshold. The construction team pushed back, but Apple held firm.

The rationale? If engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work, according

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.