Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On the iPhone

Three views of Apple's iPhone from the material at


This is a reworking of a familiar interface into something new and more useable.

How many other unnoticed opportunities are out there?

David Pogue, NYT

"Remember the fairy godmother in “Cinderella”? She’d wave her wand and turn some homely and utilitarian object, like a pumpkin or a mouse, into something glamorous and amazing, like a carriage or fully accessorized coachman."

"Evidently, she lives in some back room at Apple."

"Every time Steve Jobs spies some hopelessly ugly, complex machine that cries out for the Apple touch — computers, say, or music players — he lets her out."

Why can't the world compete in reinventing itself in this way? (instead of e.g., like the Taliban?)

The project to put together the iPhone was launched two and a half years ago, when Apple's stock was between 6 and 20. In most places I know of, such dire straits means a severe cut back on innovation.

Why doesn't Detroit have this sense of style?

Pedestrian industrial components can be put together into gorgeous product.

I'm hanging on to my few Apple shares!

Why isn't visioneering like this encouraged at work?


Anonymous said...

It actually is, and it is called industrial design. Raymond Loewy was one of the more famous practicioners, but he was by no means the first, when you consider that most of the famous Lalique glass containers were created to sell perfume at the turn of the last century. Jobs is very good at getting good design because he cares about it, Gates is awful. Good design may cost a bit more but it adds functionality

Arun said...

Software engineering has to embrace industrial design, then; from where I sit it is mostly absent.

Anonymous said...

True, although you don't so much need the folk who design things. There are people in cognative psychology who could seriously help in designing interfaces.

Arun said...

It goes beyond user interface design, in my opinion. I assume a business funds in-house software development to give itself a competitive edge or to keep up with the competition, and it is not just in the interface but in the guts that the software can perhaps be better designed to improve the business rather than just be the same-old-function in different technology. The problem is that we gather requirements from the very people who are most wed to things the way they are.