From Alex Webb’s “Apple’s Product Design Has Improved Since Jony Ive Left” posted Tuesday by Bloomberg:
At one time, even broaching the idea would have been sacrilegious. But here goes: might Apple Inc.’s product design have improved since the departure of Jony Ive?
The Apple of today would not exist without Ive. He was the creative leviathan behind the look of the iMac, iPod, iPad and, most significantly, the iPhone. Apple’s design-led approach to product development was considered pioneering. But there was often a tension between form and function: whether a device’s appearance took precedence over its ease of use.
There was a sense that, without the moderating influence of the late Steve Jobs, perhaps Ive started to prioritize aesthetics a little too much. Since he stepped down as chief designer at the end of 2019, Apple seems to have reemphasized function. From the iPhone to Apple TV to the Macbook, gone are the days of “The user be damned, we think this looks cool.”
Monday’s unveiling of a new Macbook Pro lineup of laptops provides evidence of the shift. Headline features released five years ago under Ive’s aegis have been scrapped. Gone is the so-called “butterfly” keyboard, which rendered the device thinner but whose clunky mechanics made typing more difficult; farewell too to the Touch Bar, a touch sensitive strip display along the top of the keyboard which could show functions for the web browser one moment and mixing tools for music apps the next, but was almost impossible to use without looking; back are HDMI ports, which let you plug the computer into high-definition displays without using an adapter…
Dieter Rams, a significant influence on Ive, compiled 10 principles for “Good Design.” Number three was “good design is aesthetic”. Apple seems to have remembered numbers two and four: “good design makes a product useful” and “good design makes a product understandable”.
My take: Dieter Rams’ 10 principles bear repeating…
- Good design is innovative
- Good design makes a product useful
- Good design is aesthetic
- Good design makes a product understandable
- Good design is unobtrusive
- Good design is honest
- Good design is long-lasting
- Good design is thorough down to the last detail
- Good design is environmentally-friendly
- Good design is as little design as possible
For more on Rams, click here.