What Apple’s products could look and work like without Jony Ive

Raymond Wong for Mashable:

…In some ways, Ive’s obsession with stripping everything down to its purest form has also been the source of much frustration for users. Instead of products that provide the best form and function, in recent years, Apple products have felt too compromised…

I see his leave as an opportunity for the company to embrace a new chapter of more sensible devices. Devices that are familiar, but better suit the many different kinds of users that have helped grow Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world…

I can’t speak for everyone, but anecdotally, I see more people with iPhone XRs than iPhone XS or XS Max. Not to mention almost everyone puts their iPhones in cases or carries battery packs or cases. This suggests to me people might not mind a thicker phone if the tradeoff’s for, say, a bigger battery or a camera that doesn’t jut out. It would be smart for Apple’s industrial team to take these use cases into consideration for any future iPhones.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping!

As we wrote all the way back in December 2015:

What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly?

Yes, we know Apple thinks thinness sets iPhone apart from all other so-called smartphones (actually, it’s the operating system, the software and the ecosystem), but the iPhone 6/Plus and iPhone 6s/Plus are simply too thin to house their camera assembly.

iPhone 6s is 0.28 inch (7.1 mm) thin. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is 0.27 inch (6.8 mm). The “thicker” iPhone 6s easily outsells the thinner Galaxy S6. Obviously, at this point, the selling point of “thinness” is overrated.

iPhone 6 and 6s has battery life issues for heavy iPhone users (hint: get an Apple Watch. You’ll use your iPhone less and the battery will easily outlast even the longest day).

The law of diminishing returns can also be applied to industrial design. Apple’s eternal quest for thinness eventually runs into issues such as bulging camera assemblies, battery capacity, strength (breakability), etc. – is Apple’s quest for thinness now bordering on the quixotic?

So, is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?”


If Apple made an iPhone model that was the smartphone equivalent of the Panasonic Toughbook — thick, heavy, full of battery, and virtually indestructible — they’d never be able to make enough of them. — MacDailyNews, November 2, 2018

6 Comments

  1. No argument from me. Design is not just form and function. But design also needs to consider compromises for practicality and robustness. Design perfection for one person is imperfect for others.

    As has been stated many times by MDN and others in this forum, a slightly thicker iPhone would eliminate the camera bump, provide increased battery capacity, and aid in increasing the stiffness and strength of the chassis to resist bending.

    Others have posted that it was the combination of Steve and Jony that resulted in Apple’s most iconic products, and I agree. Everyone needs a foil to poke at your blind spots and to keep you from falling too much in love with your own ideas that you fail to see their flaws.

    For instance, there is no reason that Apple cannot maintain a reasonable degree of user access and upgradeability in Mac laptops and desktops.

    With respect to iPhones, price and battery life are the most common complaints that I hear. Next in life would be fragility of the screen. Cases should not be required.

    1. “Design is not just form and function.”

      While I agree with your post, this is the only point I disagree with.

      “not just” is incorrect. The golden rule is form follows function and good design always recognizes user reality…

  2. Allow me to list just a few things that could be improved with a competent hardware designer working at Apple:

    1) robust keyboards that have moderate smooth travel and are immune to common environmental debris
    2) handheld devices that are shaped with a curved back that actually fits more battery volume inside while comfortably resting in the hand and eliminating the need for camera bulges.
    3) handheld devices -with- bezels so they can be free of ugly screen notches and can include TouchID in some models
    4) Desktop computers on which the user can see the connectors
    5) Desktop computers on which the user can replace dead hard drives, GPUs, or memory modules without any special tools.
    6) Laptop computers that have MagSafe power connections and -both- USB-A and USB-C ports; higher end models with SD card slots
    7) A full family of large displays with FaceTime cameras actually built in and stands included in the boxes.
    8) Some kind of consistency in display aspect ratios
    9) A real mid-range desktop tower that offers superior performance to the iMac while offering the user to select his own display.
    10) A fun colorful robust thick plastic entry-level MacBook designed for kids, students, and beginners.
    11) Elimination of unergonomic white plastic dongles. Just buy Anker already.
    12) a waterproof workout-specific iPod nano
    13) either cancel Homepod or add wired inputs
    14) completely redesign AppleTV with a completely new remote
    15) Modern Time Capsules
    16) Modern Airports
    17) An updated Mac Mini with a real GPU that one can upgrade/repair
    18) A Carplay Plus package that allows automakers to simply provide a dock and an iPad Mini. Each automaker could customize the functions of the docked mode to their needs. When undocked, the iPad could function just like any iPad mini.
    19) Either kill the all-in-one iMac or make it user friendly with a height adjustable stand and a class-leading repairability rating
    20) No cheap plastic disposable headphones. Make them robust, make the wireless models so the battery can be replaced & the wired models with a real cable that doesn’t fall apart, or don’t make them at all.

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