When Apple released the iPhone 4S last year a lot of people felt let down.They wanted a new physical design from Apple. Instead they got the exact same design.
Because Apple didn’t do anything different with the look of the iPhone 4S, people believed Apple was going to radically overhaul the iPhone 5.
And, arguably, Apple did radically overhaul the iPhone. It has a taller screen as well as a new aluminium backplate.
It feels like an incremental upgrade. As David Pogue put it, it looks “as though someone ran over the old iPhone with a steamroller.”
If you just took a quick glance at the front of the iPhone 5 you might think it was an iPhone 4.
Perhaps anticipating these sorts of critiques, Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive said in the iPhone 5 promotional video:
“When you think about your iPhone, it’s probably the object that you use most in your life. It’s the product that you have with you all the time. With this unique relationship people have with their iPhone, we take changing it really seriously. We don’t to just want to make a new phone. We want to make a much better phone. iPhone 5 is the result of this approach.”
You see what he’s saying there? He’s saying, “We think we’ve nailed the fundamental design of the iPhone. We’re not going to be making big changes for the sake of making big changes.”
In other words, you better get used to the way the iPhone looks. This fundamental design is going to be around for a long time. (And it should be! The phone looks fantastic.)
Look at Apple’s iMacs. Look at its MacBooks. Those designs have been around for four to five years and have only been incrementally changed. Once Apple figures out a design it really loves, it just makes slight changes.
If you’ve felt let down by the iPhone 5 design (which is gorgeous) then you’re going to be let down by iPhones for years to come.
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