, Salem, MA


August 16, 2012

Slate: What the next iPhone is going to look like


And this is as it should be. In a must-read post examining the new iPhone, industrial designer Don Lehman points out that if Apple were to radically change the iPhone's design now, it would only be doing so for aesthetic reasons, "and Apple does not design for aesthetics." This might sound surprising to Apple haters — folks who think that Apple and its acolytes only make decisions on the basis of looks — but Lehman is right: I can't think of a single product line where Apple made a big design change just for the sake of making a change.

Instead, its most notable design leaps — when it launched the iPod Mini and then switched it with the Nano; when it created the MacBook Air; and when it launched the first iPhone and iPod Touch — were the result of Apple's trying to build new technologies into its designs. But after those initial leaps, Apple didn't keep making radical changes in those products, and instead switched to a more evolutionary style of design, what John Gruber calls its "slow and steady process of continuous iterative improvement."

Other than changing the size, what else could Apple have improved about the iPhone's design? Not much. Way back in 2010, I predicted that the iPhone — and smartphones generally — had reached the limits of industrial design. As long as we're going to interact with our phones via touchscreens, the iPhone will continue to look like a slab of glass bordered by some metal.

Apple simply doesn't make big design changes just for the sake of making something look different — it's always looking for something better, and if it has already created something great, changing it for the sake of change won't do anyone any good.


Manjoo is Slate's technology reporter.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones All Aboard! LIRR Strike Averted Microsoft to Cut Up to 18,000 Jobs Time Warner Rejects Murdoch's Takeover Bid Yellen Says Economy Still Needs Fed Support Cleveland Expects Economic Boom From Lebron Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Cupcake Shop Crumbs Shuttering All Its Stores San Francisco Prepares for Soda Battle Dow Breaks Record 17,000 GM Crash Compensation Could Top $1 Billion GM Won't Limit Crash Compensation Funds
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Comments Trcker