Just finished reading a book about Jony Ive, who’s the main industrial designer behind most of Apple’s hardware over the past 20 years. (And since Job’s death; all the software as well.) The book was written by a clearly devout fanboi, but still had a lot of great insight. The book gave me a lot of conflicting feelings. Because I love the fact that a company created a culture in which a singular vision of products could be developed. I love that a design philosophy was given the chance to overrule production, budget, engineering and tradition. Not because I think design is the most important thing in the universe, but because an experiment like that is a great object lesson. The fact that Apple has had such massive success coinciding with this process is fascinating.
My personal problem is that almost all my experience with Apple products have been frustrating, disappointing and baffling. Due to both the industrial design and software design. A prime example of this is the slick, smooth rounded backs that all portable Apple products have. It’s like they were purposefully designed to slip out of your hands. Now… I know that everyone gets a cover for these devises. But that completely negates Ive’s point in making them this way in the first place, which was for aesthetic reasons.
For better or for worse the Apple aesthetic -Jony's aesthetic- has become the de facto future aesthetic as evidenced in countless movies and tv shows. I just wish the fanatical devotion to external minimalism didn't end up pushing the complexity under the rug where users who want to do ANYTHING other than a very narrow, linear prescribed path have to pay the price.
As to the software design… 90% of my experience with Apple software is iTunes. I don’t think I need to say any more on that subject.