Apple designer: Our ‘maniacal’ industrial design team obsesses over details

“Apple Inc’s celebrated industrial design team is a group of around 16 ‘maniacal’ individuals from all over the world who spend a lot of time brainstorming around a kitchen table,” Poornima Gupta and Dan Levine report for Reuters.

“The world’s most valuable technology corporation on Tuesday allowed a rare glimpse into a zealously guarded internal hardware design process that has produced some of the world’s most celebrated consumer electronics,” Gupta and Levine report. “In a high-profile U.S. patent infringement trial against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd that began this week, it called 17-year Apple design veteran Christopher Stringer as its first witness. Stringer looked every inch the designer with his shoulder-length hair, salt-and-pepper beard, wearing an off-white suit with a narrow black tie. ‘Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,’ he told the jury.”

Gupta and Levine report, “Apple’s products — particularly the seminal iPhone — are held in high regard throughout the industry. The gadget that revolutionized the smartphone industry is prominently displayed in the avant-garde San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.”

MacDailyNews Take: Many of Apple’s products, not just the iPhone, are held in high regard throughout the various industries they created/defined.

Gupta and Levine report, “Stringer said Apple’s group of 15 to 16 industrial designers — headed by the British-born and recently knighted Ive — work on all of the company’s products and dedicate time every week to discuss them, mostly at the kitchen table. That’s where the group is ‘most comfortable,’ he said… Most of the team have worked side-by-side for 15 to 20 years, said Stringer, who has “hundreds” of design patents to his name. ‘We have been together for an awfully long time,’ Stringer said. ‘We are a pretty maniacal group of people. We obsess over details.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Inc. R&D for the world for over three decades and counting.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. The rest of the world does not worry about profits and puts design and exciting user products first like Apple does. Profits follow. Shamstung wants to skip the R&D part and go straight, do pass Jail if possible, to profits. Then have the gaul to say they “design” their products too, sure if you want to call direct copying “design.”. That only take one guy.

  2. True industrial design is the search for integrity; the creation of significant form instead of trivial decor. It is the discovery of the essential in a world of the superficial. It is a way of life.

    1. Or maybe they were busy working out the design of the MacBook retina display, or the manufacturing processes that will underpin the next iPad.

      If you want to talk long naps, go talk to the styling design team at Porsche. I swear there are people drawing a salary at Zuffenhausen who haven’t worked a whole day for decades.

        1. Absolutely correct. Decoration is meaningless and the enemy of elegance and function.

          Parallel construction example: Web designers and HTML coders often share the same fate.

  3. Designers may “obsess”, but this does not mean that they have final say in what features are added, which are modified, and which are deleted. What current obsessions are keeping Apple from releasing the next Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini?

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