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The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California
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The Real Meaning and Future of Apple’s Mantra: Designed in California
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Apple is a hardware design company. It owns ideas not factories. And because it runs You, Badrou Zeggar and 458,992 others Like like this. its own operating systems, an intrinsic part of the design of its products is software. But this crucial area is showing signs of weakness as competitors copy its innovations.
1. Design is not hardware.
Announcing the launch of his hardware incubator at London's Royal College of Art, this month, James Dyson (the vacuum cleaner guy) said something which may seem obvious but is nonetheless very controversial: "Apple's success as a technology company is built on hardware. The current fixation with digital is misplaced." There you have it, the Internet bubble is a vacuum, as stated by the man who made billions selling them. Apple is not like Google or Facebook, Y ahoo, Ebay or Oracle or the other Silicon Valley stars because it primarily makes physical things. And things, according to Dyson, employ people and have a proven business model: Y ou sell them. Although, even in its beleaguered state, Facebook is worth significantly more than General Motors, it doesn't have a clearly defined business model and employs 3,000 people vs GM's 200,000. Stand outside an Apple store, on the other hand, and you'll see the equivalent of the price of a Porsche fly out the door every minute in little $500 brick sized packages. This, according to Dyson, is the success of Apple as a hardware company. And it's certainly true that people will pay for hardware. A book is a gift, an ebook not so much. But is Apple really a hardware company in the sense that Dyson is championing, or is it a design company? Its products don't say made in America, they say "Designed in California" and are made in China. Apple employs 47,000 people in the US (mostly in stores) but 250,000 are employed in China assembling its products. On the other hand Apple's success means indirect jobs in the US. Independent estimates put these between 300,000 and 400,000. About 40percent of these are IOS developers, so this doesn't pertain to Dyson's argument that we must focus on physical design. Even the Germans, who do make things, make a substantial portion of their money making machine tools for China to make more things that are then not made in places like Germany. Design consists of the ideas that make things; it's not much different from software in that it isn't tangible. By being a design rather than a manufacturing company, Apple is actually more like a software company than a traditional manufacturing one.
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2. Apple's design history.
people care more about the ergonomics of a laptop than how much RAM it has. System 7 was conceptually more like IOS than OSX in that you couldn't tinker under the hood. and good design is measured qualitatively whereas technology is measured in terms of numbers. Today. qualitative value add becomes more important. but that was not always the case. Before OSX. people would still talk about Steve Wozniak's technical skills being the real genius behind Apple. At its nadir in the mid 90s. the transition to today's design culture at Apple came about through it embracing a more geeky side.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 2/14 . And when Steve Jobs returned to Apple. control panels. In mature markets. and there was a certain elegance to the packaging of software into three monolithic pieces: executables.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [ In the late 90s it was cool to suggest that Wozniak was the real genius behind Apple ] Apple has a history of design. Apple's operating systems did not provide access to the command line. [ technical specs used to matter a lot more than design ] In many ways. gizmodo. and extensions. Apple was relegated to making niche products for graphic design—at a time when design did not have the prestige that it does in today's more mature computer industry. but that is what almost killed it.
a laptop that had both the outer and inner beauty of a sports car. By migrating to the NeXT machine's Unix-based operating system. Apple had a solid and robust engine that would appeal to developers. While the workings of OSX were unselfconsciously techie.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 3/14 . which is associated with monochrome modernism (even the logo ditched its color) rather than bright colors and postmodern whimsy. [ the ‘aqua' user interface style of OSX with its glossy buttons and liquid reflections was hardly minimalist ] At the same time as the operating system overhaul. Reflections and glossy highlights were perhaps seductive. but they weren't restrained or minimalist—terms that are often applied to Apple because of its style elsewhere. Throughout the early 2000's the illuminated Apple logo became more and more ubiquitous at technology conferences as people switched from their company-owned desktops to these highly personal luxury devices. gizmodo.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [IOS shares the organizational simplicity of original Mac OS] What was under the hood mattered. its look and feel was much less sober: the 'aqua' styling with its liquid metaphor. In 2001 Apple launched the Titanium Powerbook. if you spent much of your day in front of a machine. this was the one to own. however. But this wasn't the product that really kickstarted the Apple of today. Steve Job's return to Apple was signified by the playful design of the candy colored iMac. even if it was at the expense of some user experience complexity.
This allows it to integrate the two without requiring inter-operable standards.g. but in terms of raw specification. making both the operating system and the hardware. Maybe Apple will produce a new groundbreaking device. Software is important for Apple. It also implies that where the hardware has to integrate with the software (e. An iPhone is the best designed phone at any price. its difficult to do everything yourself ] The 3 tiers of Apple software design Apple's software design exists on three levels: the OS. This ‘do everything' approach is obviously a difficult and risky thing to pull off. From its beginnings. and the infrastructure that pulls together third party apps and content. what's happened with default maps on a phone). the proprietary apps. And both of these were equally modernist. increasingly much of the value add in Apple hardware design is software. but the potential payoff is great. the product that rooted Apple's modernist design among tech influencers . Apple chose the opposite path to IBM and Microsoft. Apple's hardware is still best-of-breed. but for now it looks like the touch screen phone is a ubiquitous product which has many competitors. two other portable products—the iPod and the iPhone—were the other pillars on which the world's largest company was built.source ] 3.source] If the Titanium Powerbook was the device that signified Apple's rebirth.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 4/14 . [ Dieter Rams' work at Braun is the direct inspiration behind Apple's product design . such as the iPod or iPhone that has no equivalent and gives it a huge lead again. the software is made by Apple and often has to be better than people who specialize in whatever that thing is. [ Apple Maps showed that even if you are the world's biggest company. designed in the style of Dieter Rams' seminal work for Braun in the 60s and 70s. products like the Samsung Galaxy SIII beat it in several respects. Apple design today. At each level it must be worldgizmodo. As the hardware standardizes.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [The Titanium Powerbook.
the both OSX and IOS are more elegant than rival products. The reliability of the Unix engine shows. Y ou have to void the warranty to get access under the hood. The IOS interface is controlled and well designed in a way the Android simply isn't. At the same time. and the model of non-multitasking applications rather than browser based software is in many ways a throwback to pre-web days. has some nice minimalist touches that it innovated before Apple (no separate search and url box) but is architecturally similar. Other apps such as the iPhoto are fundamentally different. for something that on Android involves buying a memory card for less than half that—but this differentiation becomes completely moot when you have access to . streamed and cached locally. iPhoto. The difference between IOS and System 7 however. were designed for cloud computing from the start. it is not best of breed. Apple's product is a qualitatively better. Is Mail better than Gmail. calendar. Google's applications.beating. and utilities are not necessarily best of breed. Safari better than Chrome? Chrome is more fluid. Apple still differentiates iPhone models based on storage capacity. They stem from designs in a previous era where cloud computing did not exist and the belt and braces approach of local syncing rather than caching was the norm. is that it works. A 64 GB iPhone costs $200 more than a 16GB one. however. while IOS went back to one which didn't even multi-task ] Design Tier 2: the apps All of Apple's default applications. and products often show signs they have come from the world before cloud computing. [ Does your granny use vi? OSX brought back the command line access. vs buying and downloading music. Nowhere is this more apparent than Spotify vs iTunes: rent access to all the world's music in the cloud. Safari. Mail. from small details such as keyboard layouts and icon designs. Design Tier 1: the new OS that's more similar to system 7 IOS is a return stylistically to the pre-OSX days of an operating system that was focused on ease of use at the expense of technological tinkering. on the other hand. but increasingly.
It is vintage but modernist nonetheless. compass app ] The compass. since they belong to a completely different aesthetic than the house style. Microsoft has swung violently against skeuomorphism.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California unlimited GB via the cloud. with clear but subtle color coding and well laid-out keys. as is most software interaction (ie. but the difference is that the Braun plastic design has some ergonomic use. however. that show that Apple's design control is not total. Digital brass and polished wood doesn't cost any more than digital plastic. fake brass and lacquered wood. The reason this is not pastiche is that the braun calculator was designed with an easy to read keyboard. one taking plastic and reproducing it digitally and the other polished wood and brass. The effect suffers from the same thing that plagued American industrial design in the 70's. It carries across to other Apple products such as the ebook reader and Gamecenter.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 6/14 . the whole of classical architecture (wood represented in stone) is based on skeuomorphism. is designed to look like a historical nautical one. The calculator shows a direct reference to the designer who most influenced Apple's hardware. Jim Rockford's wood effect answer phone. however. [ Apple takes the Dieter Rams influence into its calculator interface ] Two of the utilities that come standard with the iPhone are the calculator and compass apps. [ Apple's wayward. There are a handful of apps on the periphery of Apple functionality. Note that BOTH of these designs are skeuomorphs. Dieter Rams. the only argument for defending the calculator would be that it is somehow more appropriately modern. If this were merely a direct copy of something physical. This translates into the digital realm to produce something ergonomic. and your phone's memory is merely a cache. so the luxury is false. teak-encased TVs or vinyl wood paneled cars. The bevel is fake brass and the background luxurious polished hardwood that's made up of 1s and 0s. the fake metal of chrome buttons). produced when he was head of design there. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with skeuomorphs. away from the visual clues that fake metal achieves with Windows 8 in a way that is sure just to confuse people who may be unable to differentiate between buttons gizmodo. It has an interface which is an almost exact replica of a vintage Braun calculator.
rather than gizmodo. There is a lack of honesty and self awareness about this approach and everything ends up looking like a video game. If you try and make things literally look like objects in the real world you end up in the realm of something which is trying to be something else.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 7/14 . like flying a spaceship ] Interaction design is something you should be able to look at and understand. Video game design often imitates something in the real word because it is drawing you into a fantasy world. using it entirely pejoratively. but realism vs abstraction.10/18/12 and content. but there is nothing wrong with skeuomorphism per se. Interaction design is supposed to help your real world experience rather than immersing you in something else. all of western architecture and almost all successful interaction design is based on it . [ game UI . and so abstraction is more ergonomic.source] The problem of fake wood and leather in digital design is not skeuomorphism.design to immerse me in the idea of being in control of something important and complicated. The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [ Technologists have suddenly learned the word skeuomorph.
not what is is associated with. While it's true that Apple design has never been as amateur as. ] Because people hero worshipped Jobs. [ the tacky and non-luxurious design of iCal where the stitching is supposedly based on the interior of Job's private jet. but Apple's oddly incongruous software design aesthetic extends right into some of its core products. [ Nest's excellent interaction design . Microsoft's Windows games —Solitaire and Minesweeper had all the design flair of a slot machine—these were clearly afterthought apps. people now assume that Jobs was the genius behind Apple as a design one. he mustn't have been involved.source ] As a rule.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California something that should conjure up an emotional association which stimulates your imagination. gizmodo. people have often assumed that it was Jobs that was the principal arbiter of Apple taste and that where it was lacking. say.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 8/14 . Just as people would whisper in the 90s that Wozniak was the genius behind Apple as a tech company. interaction design should be something you look at for what it is in its own right.a dial with a number . There should be no Naked Lunch moment where you realize what's there is deceptively off putting.
source] But in a recent article by Austin Carr.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [ Jobs dressed like an architect from the waist up and like someone who couldn't care less about design from the waist down. didn't bring him an alternative. There is a third level of design problem at Apple. is a Jonathan Ive for software. but he said he knew it when he saw it. but more likely because the teams that had brought modernist design to hardware were not the same for software. for the design of the IOS game center. it's one of Apple's worst offerings. several people who worked at Apple claim that Jobs was indeed involved in some of the faux-realist products that don't sit well with the rest of Apple. [ Apple needs one of the above for software ] Design Tier 3: Infrastructure. the game chips—look like they would in real life" The heavily skeuomorphic design of some of Apple's software products may not have been because Jobs wasn't interested in them. Jobs never claimed to be able to design or even articulate what he wanted from design. The product that is the lynchpin of them all— iTunes and the App Store—is a product which is a platform. above all. Perhaps software teams at Apple.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 9/14 . Perhaps what Apple needs. at Co Design. Unfortunately. gizmodo. According to Carr. Like his clothing. It has to do with the platform. his design sensibility was probably divided unequally. . In some ways it's just as important as an operating system because it's the gateway to all of the content and applications that help make Apple's hardware so vibrant. "Steve pushed very hard to have everything—the felt-cloth table.
If the design inspiration for Apple products is Dieter Rams. Most of its employees are involved in retail. Apple stores use solid wood tables. rather than creation in one place in the cloud. Apple retail design is about authenticity and customer service. and the company focus is on supply chain.[ Apple's cloud initiatives feel like they are about syncing (beaming information) to different devices. has a background in supply chain management. Apple does the stuff at both ends but not in the middle. shot blasted steel. Tim Cook. Of the 3 components to a manufacturing business: design. Total control of the User Experience. [ Total Control Retail. scenery design as a backdrop for products that try and sell you an idea. Apple is more about design than logistics. Apple has redesigned the retail experience. Stores are not stores in the literal sense of being warehouses of products. by design ] Perhaps the most revolutionary product Apple has ever designed is its retail store environment. which is the model of Google's products] 4. So Apple is a design and retail company that designs and sells hardware. . from design to fulfillment. Apple retail design. But even at the retail end. Norman Foster. the inspiration for these high tech temples is the high priest of High Tech architecture. build and sell. and they devote a large percentage of space to education via the theater and support via the genius bar. Which is why the CEO that Jobs chose to replace him. stone floors and toughened glass. but where it takes most control is in selling. they are modernist gallery spaces for modernist products that are displayed in a way that is more reminiscent of precious items in a museum that the aisles of a supermarket. Most retail design is about artifice.
which were created by a variety of architectural firms a decade later.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 11/14 . Apple has the edge on design excellence. Google's approach is more open. gizmodo. Apple's headquarters takes this design influence full circle: It was designed by Foster himself. Like Microsoft's platform dominance in the late 80s there are far more applications on IOS than on Android. and the App store is far better stocked than Google's equivalent. France. but the biggest current advantage is vulnerable. the keyboard on IOS is just that bit better designed than Android's which overall feels mess. Drive. But you can't help feeling that Apple's centralized control over the apps ecosystem lacks the richness of a community driven effort. The future for Apple is to increase the leverage of software vs hardware design advantage for the devices that become difficult to differentiate from competitors such as Samsung. The App store is Encyclopedia Britannica and it's vulnerable to a Wikipedia.source] Foster designed the form that became the inspiration for the most iconic of Apple's early flagship stores. and Maps. Apple's future design strategy. Apple's uncompromising control is a mixed blessing. Google is the principal challenge to Apple here. from the Android Operating System to a suite of cloud based applications such as Gmail. [ Foster's Carre D'Art in Nimes is the inspiration for the glass stair Apple stores . But a radical option to the best way of doing this may come from what Apple are already indirectly doing and Gillette made famous. This is the architectural precedent which indirectly influenced retail spaces such as NY 's Soho Apple store. people forget that these were built on invites via Gmail. creating a glass stair through a central atrium in a box like building.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California [ If Dieter Rams is the influence behind Apple products.source] 5. 'Play'. for the Carre D'Art in Nimes. Norman Foster is the influence behind Apple retail design . As Twitter. The software industry has operated for many years by balancing open source with proprietary systems. Facebook and LinkedIn exert increasing control over their social graphs.
not just for hardware. cheaply. collecting rent via the Gillette model of subsidized hardware. Also. but the carriers sell Apple phones. 38 discussions in response to David Galbraith Reply You are following optiplex991s comments optiplex991 and 13 more Reply 5 hours ago You are following Cherokee_59s comments Cherokee_59 and 19 more Reply 4 hours ago " you'll see the equivalent of the price of a Porsche fly out the wholeevery minute in little $500 brick sized The door article is just stupid. but specializes in designing the obvious. Perhaps the logical end game for Apple is to become a network or content provider. David Galbraith is a designer and co-founder of several Internet companies including Yelp. Photo by flickr user geekjustin. but I thinkproductswith designed. Y ou sign a two year contract with a cell phone provider and get an iPhone for $200 rather than $700.abstraction. but without the control that they usually exert by doing it themselves. if Apple were a carrier—or even an MVNO—it would have a complete offering that would give it strategic leverage to do a good job where it is weak (cloud) and where others offer a service which is inferior to the usual Apple level of quality." all Apple products with everything else on the market and you will know how good it is. Although this is very unlikely to happen. I think he meant: Skeumorphism has a place in good design. and co-created RSS. as the author calls it. gizmodo. the one-line bios used by Twitter and Facebook. that was one of the first times i held one of these things in my hand. People don't have compared to Friends). He's designed of all sorts of things from skyscrapers to software applications. and it may need the design sensibility of Jonathan Ive in other areas. so I'll take a shot at i start my office PC with W7 i feel like I am going back in time. And whenever clarifying what I agree are him. are iterative and merely evoke real-world objects. Regardless of the outcome. elegant design will become an increasingly important part of Apple. you could keep charging them a premium for refill blades that fit it.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California Gillette realized that if you give people a really nice razor. Three hours ago I $500 Porsches anyone? Anyone? met a guy who asked me if I could show him where the SETTINGS for the camera of his Samsang You are following KinglyCitruss comments Galaxy xy are . [ Giant backdrops of coffee capsule refills at the Nespresso store in Barcelona with it's Apple like control over retail experience and Gillette-like business model of subsidized hardware and refills . and they certainly don't have leather maps (Find MyOSX on my several Macbooks. After dealing with it KinglyCitrus and 1 more Reply 3 hours ago for three minutes i knew (again) how well Apple This guy has a lot of trouble making his points. He used to be an architect. Nespresso does it too. Bad skeumorphism doesn't. Simply COMPARE packages.are generally better than trying to copy the form of a real-world object to the letter..source] Apple doesn't quite do this with iTunes—the software is still there to sell hardware. working for Norman Foster.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 12/14 . He created the visual bookmark concept behind Pinterest. skeumorphs that leather calendars. This the Gillette model. used under Creative Commons license.. This is the way that the inkjet printer business works —cheap hardware and expensive refills.
noise textures to create the feeling of brushed aluminum.. However. Show all The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California Giv ing the Elephant a Pink Manicure: A Night Out With Mindy Mey er. I can't explain it.apple Jesus H.. at 99c store and I don't want For instance. But.. More » He leaves you at too many places saying "wait a second. The Quiet Sinkhole Of Despair gizmodo. If you take a Picasso and dump elephant shit all over it. it helps you comments distinguish what it is you are using in an almost physical. they just know that "it's the best ever because Apple uses it and it's not Windows so it must be great. a few cross-hatched surfaces. open it I feel like I'm using a cheap plastic-faux-leather piece of bargain store junk. You are following slaws comments and even their beautiful thick book icon combine to create an emotional connection that makes you feel like you're writing in a journal. for some reason the use of "apps" to refer to desktop software bothers me. I his points other than presenting themevery time I be true. there are aspects of the skeumorphic designs themselves that I really dislike (not the skeumorphism itself. I'd call it a success. Typical Apple fanboy who probably doesn't even know what Unix actually is. alas. and with that being the goal. This guy is an idiot.. Apple's just simply better"..a ribbon. Also. More Reply 5 hours ago slaw and 6 more » Having grown up with "programs" and "applications". Fuck. made me lol. Matthew VanAndel and 1 more Reply 4 hours ago You are following leimeisei10s On the subject of skeumorphism. You are following Matthew VanAndels comments but publishing something that perpetuates the bullshit is as good as doing so.10/18/12 The Real Meaning and Future of Apple's Mantra: Designed in California Day One is an example of an app with a design I absolutely love. you did it anyway. I know that Gizmodo didn't originally write this. not just putting text into a word processor. On one hand. the Reminders app looks like a piece of trash someone bought Headoesn't make any arguments for intentionally avoid that app because as "they must that crap on my phone or anywhere else in my possession. but the execution of leimeisei10 and 1 more Reply 2 hours ago it).. You are following vygr-1s comments vygr-1 and 1 more Reply 3 hours ago I'll tell you like my high school English teacher told me: What is your thesis? You are following LordFarquads comments LordFarquad and 3 more Reply 5 hours ago You are following sunhawks comments sunhawk and 4 more Reply 4 hours ago "built by child slave labor in china" . by and large I'm indifferent about Apple's use." It doesn't matter what you start with. you came so close to not pulling the skeuomorphism card that nobody gives a shit about. It has flashes of the real world strewn throughout. congitive-associative way. is it still worthy of a spot in an art museum? You are following ActionBlacksons comments ActionBlackson and 4 more Reply 5 hours ago How much are they paying you guys? This is embarrassing nuthuggery. says who?" but he never answers the "says who" part.com/5952131/the-real-meaning-and-future-of-apples-mantra-designed-in-california 13/14 . "UNIX Engine". Yes. the Internet's Candidate for Senate Learn the Intimate Details of Any one's Life Through the Magical World of Their Trash Deadspin NBA Shit List: Anthony Carter.
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