What is not to like about Apple’s long history of products which defined industry segments. The Mac? What do all PC notebooks look like these days? iPhone? What do all smartphones look like today?
Apple’s approach to design remains somewhat unique even in a field where all products have more similarities than differences. The company’s iconic design honcho has begun to fade away. Jony Ive is leaving Apple.
Is that better or worse for Apple? Allow me to indulge a little best and worst of Jony Ive.
Everyone has a list of what went wrong with Apple designs over the past 20 to 30 years, but the most glaring examples should be obvious to Mac users. The hockey puck round mouse on the original iMac, and the most recent Magic Mouse 2 with a built-in lithium battery.
The mouse must be charged from the bottom. Yes, the charging connector is on the bottom and the mouse cannot be used while charging.
iPhone’s iconic design of flat slab with big screen and rounded corners is exactly what all smartphones look like a dozen years after the original shipped.
That is a classic design, and it was amplified by the original iPad a few years later, also iconic and perhaps timeless.
One can argue that Mac notebooks are just as iconic, but iPhone had a much larger impact. Besides, the clamshell MacBook design predates Jony Ive’s arrival at Apple.
Obviously, Ive was in charge of many other product designs at Apple; some memorable, some not so much. Remember the Cube? How about iBook Barbie? The original iPod was special, but short-lived.
The differences between the goose-neck iMac with the round base, launched at the turn of the century, stands in stark contrast to the timeless design of today’s aluminum iMac. The aluminum cheese grater Mac Pro was much beloved and the 2019 Mac Pro pays homage, though it was designed for Mac customers who are members of the 1-percent club.
Ive’s departure does not mean the death knell for Apple products as time will determine how well the current design team’s leaders perform. Ive has some good products to his credit but some were absolutely awful, too.