Apple Aluminium OnlyIt seems almost everyone has either an Apple Macbook, iPhone, iPod or iPad now. Apple’s marketing has been a huge success. So much so, that even amongst my circle of family and friends it’s hard to find anyone without an Apple or two. Last week we ‘camped’ a bunch of friends for the Paleo Festival and our apartment was awash with iPads, iPhones and Macbooks.

However, I wonder if the shine maybe starting to fade from the polished Apple products. The latest OS release Lion set my mind thinking. My attraction to Apple products has been for two reasons, design and innovation. Lion has neither of these qualities. After installing it on my Macbook I was hugely disappointed. It’s just window dressing. So full screen apps. So what? A new Mail interface. Only about time. The rest is just shuffling what was already there into new places and buttons. Hardly innovative. Oh and then of course, Lion has a bug. It keeps dropping wi-fi access. So verdict for Lion? Easy. It’s a bummer.

Then I thought about my iPhone 4. I have to say I loved my original iPhone because if was beautifully designed and felt wonderful to hold. By comparison I have not fallen in love with my iPhone 4 because it is really an ugly square aluminium box. Yes it can do some neat stuff, but when I hold it, it feels heavy and very square. It just doesn’t look or feel like it is an Apple.

Then the last straw for me was the announcement that Apple have killed off the White Macbook. Sure it needed updating, but it was the last Mac that looked like a Mac. Its demise ends choice. It’s now square aluminium or square aluminium. Hardly inspiring. Yes, I know there is a White iPhone (after many mis-steps) and a White iPad, but somehow I don’t think Apple really have their heart in design anymore. They have become industrialised and are clearly heading towards monopolistic aims. iPhone 5? I really don’t care anymore.

It’s a crying shame in my mind.

Apple Needs Some Polishing
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6 thoughts on “Apple Needs Some Polishing

  • 30/07/2011 at 4:57 pm

    Derek- After going through the Blackberry and, recently, two android phones (aargh-batteries died after 4 hours!), I finally switched to the iPhone. I agree, it’s not very pretty–clunky and uncomfortable to handle, but it’s a lot more intuitive to use.

    I’m new to the apple family but loving it so far! When my DELL dies (which is sure to be soon), I’ll be picking up a macbook– can’t be any uglier than the DELL. But you’re right–Apple has lost touch w/design, and once things don’t look so pretty and get buggy, then they’ve lost their market, too. ;)

    What next, viruses?!

  • 30/07/2011 at 5:56 pm

    In a way I understand, but I guess I just see the changes as necessities. The aluminum is a heavier duty and more modern looking vs. a plastic-type body. My white MacBook has cracks in it from wear, whereas an aluminum case wouldn’t crack. As for Lion, I’m not completely underwhelmed. It’s obvious to me that the new OS is truly going toward a more iOS type interface to, again, embrace the modern feeling. It looks to me like iOS 5 will be a game changer though… coming from a girl with an HTC EVO, it’s about time I add an iPhone to my Apple lineup.

  • 30/07/2011 at 10:23 pm

    Sure, the products are converging with PC’s but you have to admit that they are very creative with their brick and mortar stores. The new iLines are a visionary idea. Not everything you buy at the Apple store is a hot new item, but you can stand in one of their new iLines where employees in street clothes help to re-create the fun and excitement of waiting for hours to get something that you probably didn’t need.

    What PC or Cell-Phone store would do that for you?

  • 31/07/2011 at 12:07 am

    I’ve dipped my toe in the Apple pool and not been impressed so far. I’ve got iPods – lots of them, because they keep breaking. Only one of the seven our family has had has lasted two years, and the helpful helpline person admitted that this was about par for the course.

    As for iTunes, the word “bloatware” suddenly seems a valuable addition to the language.

  • 31/07/2011 at 12:08 am

    You’re correct, of course, but partly beside the point. Lion isn’t supposed to be an amazing new experience; it’s a refinement of an already mature OS. And it costs $30. As for the industrial design, I don’t see the aluminum bodies as somehow uncreative. The company clearly sees them as just the opposite. For Apple, the days of bright, translucent body covers is pretty much over. So are the days of anodized painted metal. Brushed aluminum is the thing, as far as Apple is concerned. Who knows, next year it may be wood. Or stone. Or glass. The iPhone 4 was a terrible industrial design, though. It’s ugly and uncomfortable looking. My only gripe with Apple industrial designers flows from their pathological need to make things thinner and smaller. And so they get pointless pieces of jewelry like the MacBook Air.

  • 31/07/2011 at 2:35 am

    When I think about my first Apple which was a Macintosh Classic the available designs were limited, but then came all the candy colored iMac G3 computers, and a rainbow of computing suddenly appeared after the grey skies had cleared. However, it wasn’t until the white MacBook that Mac for me had referenced 1970’s futurist design. Despite the recent brushed aluminum styled Macs reflecting contemporary kitchen appliance culture and my recent ordering of an 11 inch Mac Air not exactly the design I personally take to from a sensory perspective, I still want the fundamentals of the Mach or Unix OS as the basis of my computer usage.

    I have a Mac Mini which I’m planning to mod into something more blended to my surrounding aesthetics, in the same way steam punk laptops are now being custom built. The design specs and OS of Mac still meets my needs in an operating system, and because Mac has infiltrated the wider market now, more criticism will lean on its processes, but as a long time Apple user I am used to this. Thinking back to the time when having a Mac meant general computer users would scoff at me because nothing was compatible with what software I was using and the native Mac software was seen as curios toyed with by enthusiasts not real programs used by real technologists.

    So Mac OS was once seen as the obscure alternative to Windows, now perhaps Linux has taken that title.

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