You know what they say, right? All good things come to an end. Also, no good deed goes unpunished. Plus, nothing lasts forever. And, the emperor has no clothes. Alright, I’m not sure about that last one, so I’ll make up my own replacement.
Form over function never lasts™.
For altogether too many years, Apple drifted away from the company that made products that just worked to a company petrified by functionality and mesmerized by form.
Design ruled at Apple.
How could that be? Didn’t co-founder Steve Jobs rail on and on that design mattered; that design was not about looks but was all about how a product worked?
I buy into that sentiment. It’s too bad that Apple’s former chief design honcho, Sir Jony Ive, did not.
What happened? Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is design, so is form, so is function. Unfortunately, once a human being is sitting on top of the world, with full authority, logic, reason, and the gifts brought by humility often disappear.
How many wonderful dictators can you name?
Sir Ive brought us the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Mac Pro, and ever thinner Mac notebooks, of course, and heavily, heavily influenced the modern genre of each. Thinner, lighter, faster was the mantra, and we saw it come to light every year.
Battery life be damned. Ports be damned. Everything needed to be thinner and lighter. Functional requirements became a forgotten afterthought. That explains why iPhones, ever thinner and lighter, had abysmal battery life. That explained why the MacBook line never had the ports that customers wanted. That explains why the cylinder can trash can Mac Pro brought derision instead of customers. Mac butterfly design keyboard? Guess who?
Sir Jony Ive has been gone from Apple– in spirit– probably since a few years after Steve Jobs died in 2010, with Apple Watch the last great influence. Ive no longer has a place on the official Apple Leadership page.
Goodbye, Jony. We hardly knew ye.
Instead, in just the past couple of years, we see a more pragmatic Apple, a company that recognizes what it is– a hardware company with a billion customers. Those customers have needs and Apple needs to listen to those needs.
Look at the new iPhone 11 line. Thicker, not thinner. Heavier, not lighter. The end result? Five hours more battery life. Look at the new MacBook Pro. More battery life and a keyboard that customers want to use. The greatest contrast in Jony Ive designs vs. pragmatic designs is in Apple’s new Mac Pro. Gone is the trash can model, replaced by a behemoth of power and practicality.
Pragmatism rules at Apple these days. Long live pragmatism.