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Early Apple Designs Revealed, Courtesy of Hartmut Esslinger

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the sainted-before-ives dept.

Apple 115

SternisheFan writes with an excerpt as carried by CNET of former Apple design chief Hartmut Esslinger's upcoming book, titled Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change. Writing of Steve Job's integration of design as an essential element across the company as a whole, Esslinger says: "The company's [then] CEO, Michael Scott, had created different business divisions for each product line, including accessories such as monitors and memory drives. Each division had its own head of design and developed its products the way it wanted to. As a result, Apple's products shared little in the way of a common design language or overall synthesis In essence, bad design was both the symptom and a contributing cause of Apple's corporate disease. Steve's desire to end the disjoined approach gave birth to a strategic design project that would revolutionize Apple's brand and product lines, change the trajectory of the company's future, and eventually redefine the way the world thinks about and uses consumer electronics and communication technologies." CNET shows off a few of those old designs (many of them appearing unsurprisingly fresh), but for much more of them see these images at designboom.

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Foxconn (-1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | about 2 years ago | (#42426079)

Whatever the design, it's if made in the Foxconn factory, I will never buy such product from slave labors.

Re:Foxconn (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426105)

Whatever the design, it's if made in the Foxconn factory, I will never buy such product from slave labors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/business/signs-of-changes-taking-hold-in-electronics-factories-in-china.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

If you really want to be honest with that attitude take a good long look at the labour practices of every manufacturer you buy products from. I think you'll find your list of acceptable brands will have to be drastically reduced. Every major manufacturer takes advantage of mistreated labor forces somewhere in the world and that includes most of the food stuffs you buy.

Re:Foxconn (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#42426389)

It's still good to keep the bad working conditions in discussion. It doesn't make it any better if we just raise our hands and say that every manufacturer is like that. There's probably things there that actually could be improved and we could still have our precious gadgetz.

Re:Foxconn (5, Insightful)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426529)

Because of their high profile among mainstream consumers, Apple is one of the only companies pushing Foxconn to improve working conditions. I'm sure there are public relations considerations driving Apple's moves, but singling them out as the OP did leaves him open to criticism.

Good intentions (5, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42426465)

I will never buy such product from slave labors.

Before you go all holier-than-thou on us you might want to consider the full implications of what you are saying. First off, "slave labor"? I think you do not know what real slavery is so your hyperbole is really a bit out of line. Foxconn might not treat their employees well but its hardly slavery. They do not own their employees even in a figurative sense. Slavery is something far, far worse. I've actually been in a sweatshop in Chengdu where they were making parts for Dell monitors. I've seen dozens of manufacturing plants in China with my own eyes. I've seen all of this stuff first hand. There is NO electronics manufacturer that is innocent here. You will find that there is no alternative that is any better if you really look into this situation. Anything you can say about Apple/Foxconn you HAVE to say about pretty much any other electronics manufacturer as well as those for countless other products. You are actually saying that you will not buy a wide variety of products.

If you want to not buy products made in substandard working conditions, I respect that stance. But you are going to find it is not as simple as you think. There aren't any innocent parties and in many cases what we consider horrible working conditions are actually a step up from the alternatives. The important thing is that conditions continue to improve. There is considerable evidence that conditions are improving even if progress is sometimes painfully slow. There are more effective ways to improve working conditions than a silent boycott by yourself. Get involved with organizations trying to make a difference. They're out there if you really actually give a damn and want to make a difference.

Re:Foxconn (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42426801)

Every major manufacturer takes advantage of mistreated labor forces somewhere in the world and that includes most of the food stuffs you buy.

Red light in the cockpit, mods. When someone uses the words "everyone, always, never, all," or other universally true (or false) statements, you really need to engage your bullshit detectors. By this poster's logic, anyone who works in manufacturing is being exploited. That is the position of an anti-industrialist, and it's not a tenable one. Yes, labor is exploited, but it's not as pervasive as the poster is claiming. Cars are a major manufacturing industry in this country, and they're union shops with health benefits, retirement plans, etc. They may not be the greatest jobs to work, but they pay a living wage and employees are treated with a measure of respect. So right there, the claim of every manufacturer is busted.

That said, the original poster is excercising his freedom of choice in the marketplace -- he is making purchasing decisions based on his personal ethics. This is to be commended. It is also making a difference because not everything in the world is produced in a Foxconn factory, or similar factory. I will stop short of saying this poster's behavior happens often enough in the marketplace to actually drive a noticable change in it, but simply underscore that his purchasing decision and the ethics underpinning it, are not an onerous burden. It's possible to live free of slave-labor products.

It is not easy, however.

Re:Foxconn (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42426945)

We're talking consumer electronics here. Computers and phones primarily.

Nokia used to manufacture in Finland amongst other places, so one may assume the conditions there were reasonable. But I suspect they don't manufacture there any more.

Apple does some of it's manufacturing in the USA, and has announced they are going to be doing more. Again we can assume no sweatshop conditions there.

So who else?

I'd suggest at this stage Apple is probably amongst the best of the consumer electronics brands as regards worker conditions. Because they're pretty much all manufacturing in the far east, and Apple, given all the bad press they got on the issue, is the one who's doing the most to counter bad practices. And they are also not trying to compete in the bottom end - where there is no margin for improving worker conditions.

Re:Foxconn (0)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | about 2 years ago | (#42427303)

I'd suggest at this stage Apple is probably amongst the best of the consumer electronics brands as regards worker conditions. Because they're pretty much all manufacturing in the far east, and Apple, given all the bad press they got on the issue, is the one who's doing the most to counter bad practices. And they are also not trying to compete in the bottom end - where there is no margin for improving worker conditions.

Bad suggestion. Come over in Zhengzhou, Henan, and see the weekly queue of 300 workers in the iPhone factory, that are replacing those who left because 2k RMB isn't enough to accept such working conditions (and we're talking about very poor people here for who 2k RMB is quite decent). It seems Apple is really successful with it's PR about all this, but reality is really different.

Re:Foxconn (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427473)

And you still haven't answered anyone as to where the computing device you're using right now was made. You're a coward and a hypocrite.

Re:Foxconn (3, Insightful)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426107)

I'm glad you have taken a stand, but I'm sorry to hear you have eschewed all consumer electronics. How did you post the above comment?

Re:Foxconn (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#42426163)

Don't you understand? Only Apple has ever used inexpensive overseas labor. Android phones are made by happy elves on Main Street America in shops powered by unicorn breath.

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430123)

powered by unicorn breath

while it may seem to violate conservation of energy, there is no free lunch... permanent storage of magic waste in reinforced casks gets more expensive all the time

Re:Foxconn (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#42426115)

Whatever the design, it's if made in the Foxconn factory, I will never buy such product from slave labors.

So you won't own a smartphone? Or even a "feature phone"? No cell phone at all? No tablet of any kind? No portable music player?

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426125)

The Samsung slaves from the neighbouring production line at Foxconn making your eWaste will be eternally grateful for giving them more work to do.

Re:Foxconn (1)

ReWoP (2499004) | about 2 years ago | (#42426133)

so your going to give up everything and live in a cave are you... good luck with that... dont forget to get rid of the soapbox your standing too ok :)

Re:Foxconn (2)

ischorr (657205) | about 2 years ago | (#42426207)

WTF does this have to do with the article? Or do you just go around randomly posting this on most Tech articles? Or are you just an anti-apple troll?

Re:Foxconn (3, Insightful)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 2 years ago | (#42426249)

"Whatever the design, it's if made in the Foxconn factory, I will never buy such product from slave labors."

So you will never buy any hardware from....

Acer
Amazon
Apple
Cisco
Dell
HP
Microsoft
Motorola
Nintendo
Nokia
Samsung
Sony
Toshiba
Vizio ......

Re:Foxconn (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42427563)

Amazon...

And speaking of Amazon, a recent story in the Seattle Times:

"Amazon's overseas labor policy: Trust us"

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020017651_amazonsuppliers30m.html

And of course just about all of our fashionable apparel are made in Bangladesh...

As long as us "consumers" demand the absolute lowest price-point, this is simply the way it is. Of course this bothers me, but most of the highest pitched whiners are doing so from their "bleeding edge" super thin whatever made by Foxxcon or a Foxxcon clone...

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42429907)

Forget about the over seas slavery claims, mega shipping warehouses in the USA are just as bad. If you've ever selected 3 day or better shipping times from a major company, someone worked their ass off for you and you supported that company in treating their workers as dirt.

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430693)

If you want it cheapest, don't by it from Amazon. Buy it directly from the chinese market.
The quality is basically the same, but it's 1/10th of the price easily.

Re:Foxconn (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#42426813)

What computer did you use to write that comment?

Re:Foxconn (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42426881)

Where are your computer and your phone made?

Re:Foxconn (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427549)

Whatever the design, it's if made in the Foxconn factory, I will never buy such product from slave labors.

GPLHost-Thomas is a hypocrite. He's avoiding answering who made the computing device he used to post that message. But looking back through a few of his posts, we see that he bought an ACER laptop for his wife.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3274815&cid=42117409 [slashdot.org]

ACER is a Taiwanese company who outsources it's manufacturing to Foxconn amongst others.

Caught red handed.

Re:Foxconn (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#42427751)

Then how are you posting this?
How do you find any modern electronics that doesn't have any Chinese parts in it?

Re:Foxconn (1)

ernest.cunningham (972490) | about 2 years ago | (#42428629)

Cool, make sure you boycott products from these FOXCONN customers too then:
Acer Inc. (Taiwan)
Amazon.com (United States)
In 2011, Amazon and Foxconn formed a joint-design manufacturing company. The move was meant to produce an Amazon branded smartphone sometime in 2012.
Apple Inc. (United States)
ASRock (Taiwan)
Asus (Taiwan)
Barnes & Noble (United States)
Cisco (United States)
Dell (United States)
EVGA Corporation (United States)
Hewlett-Packard (United States)
Intel (United States)
IBM (United States)
Lenovo (China)
Logitech (Switzerland)
Microsoft (United States)
MSI (Taiwan)
Motorola (United States)
Netgear (United States)
Nintendo (Japan)
Nokia (Finland)
Panasonic (Japan)
Philips (Netherlands)
Samsung (South Korea)
Sharp (Japan)
Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden)
Toshiba (Japan)
Vizio (United States)

Re:Foxconn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430509)

Translation: I am young and white and privileged and have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the term "slave" actually means.

I want to fuck that baby (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426109)

Mac.

Snow White Design Language (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#42426145)

I don't understand this - how are ventilation stripes a design language?

Can someone explain what the hell is snow white design language created by this guy.

Re:Snow White Design Language (2)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426179)

It's all in the implementation. There is function, concept, and execution. How the three combine become part of a design language. Good design is often unnoticed and simply aids in the functionality of a product. That is often the goal. Unfortunately, too many "designers" copy design elements without understanding the language. Good design goes beyond aesthetics, and shapes the user's attitude about the product before they even use it.

Re:Snow White Design Language (-1, Flamebait)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42426181)

This is more of the ongoing Apple advertising, poorly disguised as 'technology news'.

Re:Snow White Design Language (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#42426217)

Advertising decades old design ideas never brought to market? I pity the fool that can't enjoy a bit of tech history.

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426223)

Advertising is paid content. Are you saying Slashdot is running ads without properly labeling them? Perhaps it is propaganda rather than news, but you should be more accurate in your choice of words if you want to be a respected cynic.

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42426353)

You are correct, propaganda is the more accurate word, but I consider propaganda for a commercial entity to be advertising.

Re:Snow White Design Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426199)

I don't understand this - how are ventilation stripes a design language?

Ventilation stripes are basically the same as speed holes [youtube.com] . Their importance speaks for itself.

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#42428439)

I am not saying Ventilation stripes are not important or that they aren't part of design. I am asking how ventilation stripe can be a design 'language'?

Re:Snow White Design Language (3, Interesting)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426279)

From Wikipedia

The distinguishing characteristics originated by the Snow White design language, in contrast to the original Apple industrial design style, include the following:

minimal surface texturing
colored a light off-white (Fog) or light gray (Platinum)
inlaid three-dimensional Apple logo, diamond cut to the exact shape
zero-draft enclosures, with no variances in case thickness and perpendicular walls
recessed international port identification icons
silk-screened product name badging
shallow horizontal and vertical lines, 2 mm wide, 2 mm deep, spaced 10 mm apart on center, which run along any and all of the surfaces of the product, some of which act as vents and setback 30 mm from the front and 4 mm from the back.
Fog products have beige accents and cables, Platinum products have uniform color (no accents) and Smoke gray cables
3mm radius, rear and 2mm radius, front corners
simple unadorned ports and slots

Re:Snow White Design Language (0)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428775)

Bwahahahahahahahahahaha! Sounds more like a spec than a "language." What utter hype and bullshit to call it such.

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#42430879)

All this is fine - but why is it called a design 'language' - rather than design.

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#42431063)

For the same reason as a family of related design patterns in Software Engineering is called a 'pattern language'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_language [wikipedia.org]

Re:Snow White Design Language (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431951)

"For the same reason..."

Yes, true, and that reason is hubris, but why use "pattern language" as an example when the term "pattern" itself was created for that reason?

Groups create their own languages to differentiate themselves and feed their professional egos. Now, time to do some "refactoring"...

Re:Snow White Design Language (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#42426545)

I don't understand this - how are ventilation stripes a design language?

Can someone explain what the hell is snow white design language created by this guy.

Designs by the seven dwarfs?

It's Hartmut Esslinger, not Harmut (1)

Aviation Pete (252403) | about 2 years ago | (#42426151)

if you don't believe me, look it up yourself: Wikipedia Link [wikipedia.org]

My mongrel system... (2)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42426193)

of Mac Mini, NEC monitor, Logitech bluetooth mouse, Kensington USB keyboard, and Tivoli Audio sound system has absolutely no "design language or overall synthesis in essence" and yet works just fine.

Re:My mongrel system... (4, Insightful)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426211)

Good for you, but no one is writing articles about your setup, giving you awards for design innovation, or buying anything you make -- at least I hope not.

Re:My mongrel system... (0)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42426247)

You sound like a fanboi and girlymon who color co-ordinates his socks and sweaters.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427043)

You're hardly unique in having a system made up of parts bought at various times, from various manufacturers. Indeed that's more or less the idea with the Mac Mini.

But if a store set your system up in store and tried to sell it. How many people do you imagine would buy it?

It's pretty obvious that companies do better if they make their products which are intended to work together look harmonious in design. So WTF is your point?

Re:My mongrel system... (0)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42427105)

That form follows function and is not an end in itself. And fuck Apple. Instead of concentrating on cases for their equipment they need to stop the downward slide of OSX whose interface has become increasingly cluttered and whose functioning has been less reliable with each release since Tiger.

Re:My mongrel system... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427207)

That form follows function and is not an end in itself.

You're just repeating the only quotable thing you ever heard about design. Jony Ive actually understands this. He's arguably the world's best current day industrial designer. And you're not.

stop the downward slide of OSX whose interface has become increasingly cluttered and whose functioning has been less reliable with each release since Tiger.

Now there you have a point. Now consider... Jony Ive has recently had his remit expanded to software as well as hardware. So the elimination of clutter in UIs may well happen.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42427259)

That form is not an end in itself is certainly not what the original article supports and WTF do you know about what I do or do not understand about design.?

What we know (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42427523)

Mac Mini, NEC monitor, Logitech bluetooth mouse, Kensington USB keyboard, and Tivoli Audio sound system

How exactly were we supposed to divine you understood anything about design from that mish-mash?

It doesn't even seem like a set of components that are either the best technically (kensington keyboard, tivoli speakers) nor is it coherent in design. Someone who really embraces design would recoil from having discordant components (and note I'm including myself in that assessment as I sit here with a second screen being a cheap LG monitor).

My mongrel system (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428343)

Not only are the Tivoli speakers and sub a great sounding nearfield system but they are cosmetically beat up and hand me downs. Enjoy your "synthesis in essence" whatever the fuck that absurd gibberish is actually supposed to mean.

Re:My mongrel system (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42428693)

they are cosmetically beat up and hand me downs.

And this is supposed to take us closer to know you are an expert on design...

Ok.

No defense of the Kensington I see.

Re:My mongrel system (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428739)

No defense of the Kensington I see.

On the contrary, it's held up fine for well over a decade. I just cry myself to sleep every night because it's not color co-ordinated though.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427581)

Because "form follows function" is the one thing everyone who knows nothing about design on Slashdot posts. Because it's the only thing about design they know.

And they, and you, proceed to show that they don't understand the phrase, by implying it means that it doesn't matter what things look like so long as they work.

I know nothing about you. Other than you've demonstrated you know nothing about design.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428377)

It's actually "form ever follows function" you unlettered oaf and BTW it has inspired such much heralded design fripperies as streamlined toasters. I'm glad you brought up the counter factual argument because I can easily accept the argument that design for cosmetic sake certainly doesn't make a difference as long as the machine works. A perfect example is the iPhone whose sleak design includes a fragile screen that easily breaks and requires entirely disassembling the unit what with its myriad of screws, tabs, and adhesives in order to replace it. If Apple considers this a triumph of "design language" (more artsy gibberish again) it should have made it: 1) more robust 2) easier to fix.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42428645)

It's actually "form ever follows function" you unlettered oaf

Taken a trip to Wikipedia I see. Yes, that'll certainly mean you suddenly know what you're talking about.

and BTW it has inspired such much heralded design fripperies as streamlined toasters.

...Or not. Streamlined toasters are certainly not form following function. Quite the opposite.

A perfect example is the iPhone whose sleak design includes a fragile screen that easily breaks and requires entirely disassembling the unit what with its myriad of screws, tabs, and adhesives in order to replace it.

It doesn't "easily break", it's made of Gorilla glass, and reviewers who've done comparative drop tests with other phones find the iPhone is less prone to breaking. That includes reviewers on Android Fan sites.

And your observation on replacing of the glass is not one related to form following function at all.

Re:My mongrel system... (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428715)

Taken a trip to Wikipedia I see. Yes, that'll certainly mean you suddenly know what you're talking about.

Hardly.

A perfect example is the iPhone whose sleak design includes a fragile screen that easily breaks and requires entirely disassembling the unit what with its myriad of screws, tabs, and adhesives in order to replace it.

It doesn't "easily break", it's made of Gorilla glass

Spare me the marketing hype please. And comparing it to even crummier products is faint praise indeed.

your observation on replacing of the glass is not one related to form following function at all.

Riiiiiight... Durability and maintainability have nothing to do with industrial design. It is you who is showing his ignorance, fanboi.

"Design language or overall synthesis in essence" indeed.

Re:My mongrel system... (2)

Kenshin (43036) | about 2 years ago | (#42427287)

Some people appreciate industrial design. Some people don't. It's like how the ugly "beige box" ruled the industry for decades, and some people still have them and say "it works just fine."

This is not a put-down, just a statement of fact.

In any case, it's not putting form over function, it's a matter of form complementing function.

GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426201)

This is not design, it is fashion - fad if you will !! Design has purpose !! Fashion does not !!

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426285)

Good design is functional. It can also be fashion. Whoever told you it couldn't be fashion was wrong.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42426375)

If good design is functional then that eliminates recent Apple products immediately. We still have this cult of personality running amok despite the fact that the relevant tyrant is dead.

I agree with the assesment that this is yet another free advertisement for Apple Corporation masquerading as news.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426477)

Really?? Please site a single example of non-functional Apple design. They make documentaries about Apple design and the focus on simple, functional design.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42428335)

That's easy.

Apple's hockey-puck mouse.

Uncomfortable to hold and orient, had an abysmally short cord and only one button (which even in the Classic Mac OS era was increasingly becoming a limitation).

If you want to be pedantic, yes, technically it "functioned" but it was a terrible mouse because its look was considered more important than how it actually worked.

Some might consider the Apple Cube an example as well; it looked gorgeous, ran well and was extra-ordinarily quiet for its era, but it was also overpriced, the case was easily cracked and (at least the examples I saw) prone to overheating.

I'd throw in iTunes, but mostly because I have to use it on Windows. But IMHO the interface is as horrid as it is slow.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 2 years ago | (#42432113)

The Apple mouse is probably the most classic example. Absolutely horrible and wrong from day one. Pure arrogance there.

The one that always got me is when Apple removed the power button on iPods and produced a product that only pretended to turn off, then shipped it with totally unacceptable battery life that took generations to overcome. Works fine now after years of broken function.

There's their UI adherence to concepts justified by Fitts' Law long after Fitts' Law tells us differently (due to much larger, higher resolution displays), and that's just one of a laundry list of poor-functioning UI concepts like the constantly resizing modal dialogs, windows that are almost impossible to resize (until recently), and maximize functions that are comically broken. Of course, Apple does things well also, but the challenge was to list non-functional Apple design of which there are many.

There's Apple's historical distain for color displays and the fact that Apple was the last platform to offer color with Steve Jobs insisting it was a useless distraction.

There's Apple's historically worst SCSI implementation ever due to their desire to use the cheapest connector possible (a trend that dates back to the founding of the company). Of course, that ties into and endless trail of tears of proprietary cable and connector technologies that Apple inflicts on its customers.

More recently there was the first first generation Air that had grossly inadequate storage yet only provided one USB port, meaning that the system couldn't be used in applications requiring storage AND a flash card reader without blowing the whole portability advantage. I suppose that's OK, though, since Macs aren't marketed to creative types, right? It was marketed as the perfect "second computer"; in other words, a computer for people who can accept poor function. Yet another example of Apple design that works fine now that technology has caught up but was dysfunctional when introduced.

Speaking of dysfunctional, Apple's mobile web browser for the iPhone is the most glaring example of dysfunctional design that there is. It's not just the omission of Flash, it's the omission of the pointer device (that Flash couldn't tolerate) that broke compatibility with a massive percentage of sites, including ALL business and commerce sites, at the time, yet Apple marketed it as being "all the web" when it was, in fact, the least amount of the web ever delivered. The irony is that it was Apple's failure of function that spawned an an entire industry focus on web design for inferior mobile devices for which Apple now receives credit.

The list is truly endless. Apple is a fashion company, not a function company. Function companies would not standardize on chicklet keyboards, glossy screens, and no-button mice. Where's the pizza-box or small desktop Mac without an integrated display? Too much function, too much differentiation, too much deviation from their minimalist aesthetic.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (3, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42426479)

Yeah. Lot's of money in pushing that new Apple laptop, the "Bashful"! And that corded iMac phone will sell millions of units.

It's an article about an interesting (for some of us) history of the genesis of a pretty damned successful tech company. Now if you would pull your head out of your "I hate anything Apple" ass for just a short time you might learn something about how business works. Or carry on with your ranting. (in 3, 2, 1...)

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (3, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#42426743)

apple design is stylish and easy for the layman to use.

my mother has an ipad and the only "problem" she has with it is frequently forgetting which of about half a dozen very similar passwords she has set for her itunes account.

personally i prefer the freedom of an android tablet and the raw power of my linux laptop.

apple does not put out much that is truely unique and unheard of, but they manage to make state of the art easy to use and have a serious talent for UI. look at the ipod, and compare it to the interface of other devices of the time (and even quite a few now) which would have 5-7 buttons with unintuitive glyphs sloppily imprinted and difficult to see even in favorable conditions.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427053)

If good design is functional then that eliminates recent Apple products immediately.

You're claiming Apple's recent products aren't functional. Without a single word of justification. Do you thing everyone is as stupid as you?

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#42428441)

You're claiming Apple's recent products aren't functional. Without a single word of justification. Do you thing everyone is as stupid as you?

Read my critique of the iPhone in the above thread; not to mention certain iPods whose tracks could only be accessed sequentially.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42428651)

As pointed out there, you don't know what you're talking about.

Re:GUCCI DECRIES FOUL FROM THE GRAVE !! (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431959)

Yes, I don't get how anyone accepts the notion that removing a power button is an example of good functional design on a portable product with inadequate battery life. Apple so full of it with that stuff. Apple is good at fashion, emphasis on function is a myth.

strategic design project = copy Braun (3, Interesting)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 years ago | (#42426243)

Re:strategic design project = copy Braun (1, Informative)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 2 years ago | (#42426291)

Dieter Rams, not Braun. Also, this is about Frog Designs, not Jony Ive. You are a complete moron.

Re:strategic design project = copy Braun (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427081)

If you actually bothered to RTFA, you'd see that the only ones copied, in some of the designs, is Sony.

Jony Ive, who DOES credit Dieter Rams, was only a teenager when these designs were made. Before he went to University, let alone joined Apple.

Re:strategic design project = copy Braun (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#42428373)

Jobs is well known to have loved Braun products, it's not a secret.

Macphone pictures upside down (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42426505)

I wonder if they noticed that the pictures of the Macphone [designboom.com] they show were taken with the product upside down.

Re:Macphone pictures upside down (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#42426651)

It's only the one and I imagine the phone wouldn't stand up the proper way round.

Re:Macphone pictures upside down (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427089)

My guess is: Yes they noticed.

"I'm Assistant Product Designer"/"Assistant to..." (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42426663)

> "The company's [then] CEO, Michael Scott"

Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change
That's what she said!

Steve's desire to end the disjoined approach
That's what she said!

bad design was both the symptom and a contributing cause of Apple's corporate disease
That's what she said!

Next project (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42426687)

Hartmut needs to design a line of products for shaving.

Re:Next project (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42427109)

It's Jony Ive that has the Dieter Rams inspiration, not Hartmut Esslinger.

Internet appliance (2)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42426835)

This reminds me how quickly technology changes the mean of communication. For instance, the Pony Express only operated for a year or two, ultimately made irrelevant by the telegraph.

I recall these internet appliances that would allow us to cheaply access email and the WWW. Since so many were still using dial up, a land line phone was a common sense addition. Few imagined that cell phone rates would fall so quickly that phone calls would almost be given away, and what you pay for was data. This lead to the internet appliance that was not imagined, the smart phone, and the larger table on which we use Skype, which with we call anywhere for negligible costs, at least by developed world standards.

This is funny because so many said the internet appliance would never be viable. Maybe that was true in a very restricted sense, but not in a broad sense. In the same sense that there was no market for microcomputers.

Which is why I get so annoyed when people dismiss a concept because they do not like a design. Sure the Tandy 100, 200, PC-6 might not have been many peoples idea of a programmable portable device, but they had many of the ideas that people want today. A keyboard, programing on device, removable storage. It is interesting to note that many successful mobile devices do not include such features. But that is who progress works. We start by mimicking existing technology, then move to novel ideas.

Really shows how far ahead they were (2)

gozar (39392) | about 2 years ago | (#42426871)

No matter how you feel toward Apple, those designs show how forward thinking they were. Keep in mind that most of those designs are from 1982. Two years before the Mac's debut, and at a time when we were all beating on our Atari 8-bits, Apple IIs, and Commodore 64s.

I'm especially intrigued with the split screen monitor designs. Dual monitors in 1982? Dual flat screen monitors? Pretty amazing.

And the baby mac resurfaces 14 years later as the iMac.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | about 2 years ago | (#42427011)

I'd say that flat screens were simply wishful thinking, and some of these designs are from 1985 rather than 82. Also, the plastic is tasteless by modern standards.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42429551)

Flat screens where on the market in 1987 thanks to Compaq... so I'm sure designers were planning on the technology when designing in 1985.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#42427185)

I'm sure lots of companies had interesting designs and prototypes and based on this article, I'd say Atari had more interesting and forward thinking projects at that time. I'm just reading the new book on Atari's early history and there were some amazing things being worked on. Alas, almost none saw the light of day.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427937)

It might be impressive if it were only Apple coming up with such designs.

However, this kind of design conjecture was happening everywhere, at the time. All one has to do to confirm this fact is to go to the library and look at back issues of Design magazine from the period.

Apple wasn't (and isn't) unique in putting resources into design, and Apple's most successful designs are always bland, retro rehash or obvious/derivative from other designs that came immediately prior.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427941)

yea and the main reason those designs don't appear on the market is because you simply can't build them (at the time)
it's easy to come up with a "design" when it doesn't actually have to work

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42428219)

The Mac II which was introduced in 1987 had a multiple monitor setup; 6 was possible and they worked all 6 even before the OS was booted.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42429529)

Dual Monitors are nothing new to people using VT52 and VT100 dummy terminals in the late '70s. I had my first dual monitor PC in the mid-80s... a Hercules Graphic Card that peacefully co-existed with CGA/EGA/VGA cards.

Re:Really shows how far ahead they were (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 2 years ago | (#42432205)

The original IBM PC was designed to support multiple monitors and did so from day one. Dual head was a great way to develop software in the early days and CodeView supported it (that's the debugger in Visual Studio for those experts who weren't born yet). Apple was the slowest company to embrace color and multiple displays. Apple was technologically retarded, not forward thinking. They were concerned with fashion and marketing, not superior function. Wozniak was the master of inferior function on the cheap. Jobs didn't put a fan in the Mac because he didn't want to pay for it. Some forward thinkers these guys are...

It's another interest example of how history gets written by the victors. Apple was a company that was ridden into bankruptcy and irrelevance while producing products reflecting the design aesthetic on display here, only to be resurrected with products like the iMac and iPod that deviated significantly from it. Apple has always been strong in industrial design but that's not the core reason for their recent success nor does it suggest they are innovators.

fhagorz (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42426901)

Re:fhagorz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427175)

Heh. :)

Holy New Age Buzzwords, Batman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427093)

When I read, "Design forward, creative strategies for sustainable change", am I the only one who interprets this as, "I'm a douche, new age style"?

And WTF is sustainable change? Change is change. Sustainable is continuous. If things are changing, they're not sustainable. A constant state of change is the very definition of a bunch of unsustainable things. So what the really means is, "we're going to keep pulling the rug out from under people" which brings me back to my first point: It's all about being a New Age douche, which fits Apple perfectly I guess.

What works and what doesn't (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#42427323)

Much early personal computer design was dominated by the "where do we put the back part of the CRT" problem. You see that in the article's pictures. Once screens became flat, and electronics became small, there was more design flexibility. Not much is done with it, though.

Organic designs have been tried over the years. Olivetti did some beautiful designs in the 1960s and 1970s, and most good museums of modern art will have a few Olivetti objects [moma.org] on display. Bang and Olufsen designs [bang-olufsen.com] are much admired by designers, but the reaction of most people is "what's that?" There are limits to what consumers will accept.

Phones seem to have ended up as bricks, for now. For a while, flip phones were mainstream, but we now seem to be back to bricks, just thinner ones. Slightly larger devices are either flat bricks or big flip phones. There's little curvature in mobile devices. What matters is what's on the screen. (And the ability to fit the thing in a pocket or bag.)

The same thing happened to movie theaters decades ago. Movie theater auditoriums were once built in fanciful styles ranging from Moorish palaces to "atmospheric" theaters with the illusion of an open sky. Theaters had elaborate curtain systems, with both horizontal and vertical curtains. All of that is gone. Today the auditorium is a lightly decorated box with a bare screen. But the seats are better, the aisle lighting is better, and the projection and audio are much better. Function has triumphed because what matters is on the screen.

The next thing is supposed to be headwear, in the form of glasses with displays. It's not clear if that will catch on. Bluetooth headsets as jewelry [hybratech.com] never did.

The 'Myth of Steven P. Jobs Genus' is reducing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427349)

Looks like the 'cat is out of the bag' big time.

All those years of commercials about 'Think Different', 'Innovate', 'Create' were just a smoke screen. All the designs, even the Apple I, had nothing to do with Jobs' 'Genus'. Jobs was just a carpet bagger with an anger management problem, other than the drugs.

Copypasta (1)

madsh (266758) | about 2 years ago | (#42427645)

What a brunch of old news... I might as well paste my post from seven days ago... Looks to me like all the designs are also shown in the book AppleDesign, The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group. 1997 Using the word 'reweal' seems like a journalistic twist....

How sad that slashdot is now the place for old news about old news that used to matter for geeks....

Cool designs bro. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42427747)

Cool designs bro. Call me when you want to pay some taxes. You know, those taxes that fund the patent office that allows your flawed \ fraud business model to exists in the first place.

Antique memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42429407)

I probably put the floppy Drive in that tiger 2C. My first "tech" job way back in the early 80's. Damn I am getting old.

So Steve Jobs Is A Chimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430053)

What you say ?

The Apple Computer designs were not by Steven P. Jobs ?

They were ... BOUGHT ... with ... MONEY ... from a ... a ... German !

And ... so ... what does this say about the current ... G ... Geniuses since there is no German who will make the designs ?

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