The Particle Debris article of the week comes from the Smithsonian Magazine.
Sometimes we forget. Every Apple product we use has been through the design process of Chief Design Officer Sir Jonathan Ive. That design process dictates how the our iPhone feels in our hands, how the MacBook Pro looks (and feels), and, for example, how we interact with our devices, even Siri.
We’ve become accustomed to this. It’s easy to take for granted how we use Apple products. That is, until we accidentally use a product from another company. (Oh, that Mr. Ive would mercifully get involved with TVs and audio/video receivers. Alas, Apple doesn’t go there.)
The Smithsonian suggests that great design work is facilitated when the offices themselves sparkle with the same design motifs.
One of the Ive creations that Apple launched this fall is the company’s vast new headquarters in Cupertino, California. The Ring, as Apple employees call the main building on the new campus, is an enormous glass circle that wraps around a landscape of meadows and imported California hardwood trees. Ive spent more than five years working closely with the British architect Norman Foster on virtually every detail, from the 900 curved, 45-foot-long glass panels that serve as walls, to the elevator buttons, which are subtly concave (like the home button on an old iPhone) and made of brushed aluminum (like a MacBook).
Then, of course, there’s the inspirational view. If one has to work in a building, one should, at least, feel connected with the beauty of one’s home planet. In 2017, some companies still fail to recognize that.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the design studio commands the very best views, from the fourth floor of the Ring, near the offices of the top executives. The studio is huge, and Ive is as excited about its possibilities as a kid finally given a chance to tinker in his dad’s workshop.
And that’s one of the lessons here. Great products come from people who have the time to sit back, ponder, engage in creative play and interact with inspiring colleagues.
It’s a truism in tech design that it takes a great deal of work to make something easy to use, and no company has proven the principle more spectacularly than Apple. It came straight from Jobs, who pushed his engineers and designers to remember that it wasn’t the device that customers wanted—it was the experience…
The iPhone X exemplifies that process. Smithsonian author Rick Tetzeli tells a personal story.
Ive places his space-gray iPhone X on the coffee table next to my iPhone 7-plus, whose white bezel frames its rectangle of glass display. Mine is only a year old, but it looks clunky in comparison. Ive picks up my iPhone and gives a pointed appraisal of his own earlier handiwork: ‘It now seems to me a rather disconnected component housed in an enclosure.’
The evolution at work is breathtaking.
As our technology becomes more sophisticated, perhaps more invasive, it’s good to know that Jony Ive is supervising our Apple experiences. It’s something to remember when we run across articles that celebrate the technical brutality of competing products that we might use with mild dismay and, sometimes, outright alarm.
Next Page: The News Debris For The Week of November 27th. Apple’s mistake of the century.