Monday, November 27, 2006

Apple's quest to put us at ease with technology

How Apple keeps on top of fresh design concepts ...

"Ask designers which companies excel at design, and they'll probably say Apple. But if you ask Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, how Apple does it, he seems almost apologetic. "It sounds unremarkable and even naïve, but it's our obsession with making really great products," he said. "It's at the heart of everything we do. I don't understand how you can exist as a company and not have it."

Sadly for the rest of us, most companies don't. Maybe they're desperate to placate investors by maximizing profitability at the expense of quality. Perhaps they're so insecure that they shun risks and make decisions by committee. Whatever the reason, most new products are badly designed, whether it's in terms of the way they work, how they look, or their impact on the environment.

Yet Apple has scored a succession of design coups: from introducing color to computers with the first iMac in 1998, to launching the iPod as an icon of the early 2000s. It has also proved repeatedly, as Olivetti did with office equipment and Braun with electrical appliances during the 1960s, that people are willing to pay more for an object, if it is so well designed that they really, really want it.

That said, no company rests on its design laurels for long. Who would cite Olivetti or Braun as role models of design today? And Apple is entering a challenging time. If the blogs are right, it is finalizing plans to go into the cellphone market early next year with the iPhone. And having striven to establish its design supremacy in aesthetics and usability, Apple now needs to do so in sustainability to ward off attacks from environmental groups."    (Continued via International Herald Tribune)    [Usability Resources]

Apple Display Design - Usability, User Interface Design

Apple Display Design

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