How Ripe Is Apple’s Design?
Throughout the evolution of Apple products, particularly within the iPhone and new Airpod products, the company’s design has continued to grow more minimalistic and aesthetically-based. Whilst this can be a great thing for many, as our digital age in general has similarly evolved to surround aesthetics, I feel that this can also be part of the company’s downfall, as the usability of these products seem to shrink with every new model.
When the first model of iPhone was released, it changed the digital game. The phone presented itself as easy-to-use and manage for all users regardless of their technological skills. However, this simple design would grow to not only be the iPhone’s trademark, but its eventual downfall as well.
As the models continued to roll out year after year, the design of the iPhone quickly turned from something meant to be for easy use into something meant to be as aesthetically-pleasing as possible.
Now, according to Brian Merchant, “‘The touchscreen research had gone through several iterations. It was briefly tied to a tablet, put aside, and had just kind of sat in the dark. Then Steve Jobs showed up and said, maybe this is the phone. Out of that mutation was how the iPhone was born inside Apple.’” (https://www.history.com/news/iphone-original-size-invention-steve-jobs)
That said, Jobs’ original design included a phone that was completely a touch-screen, as we see now with the later iPhone models that have removed the physical home button. While this modern design fulfills Jobs’ dream, it also lacks the same amount of ease that the previous models seemed to have.
The newest iPhones lack any kind of direction for its users. The design has become so centered around what seems digitally beautiful that it forgets it still has to run as a functioning phone. It is quite literally just a touch-screen, and unlike with the original iPhone, it provides the user zero idea as to how to actually use the device unless they’re already avid Apple users.
I personally think that unless Apple decides to return to its priority of legitimate usability, the iPhone could potentially run itself into the ground by simply becoming unusable.
This article was written in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Fall 2020 section of DMD 3035 — Interaction Design at the University of Connecticut, Digital Media & Design Department.