What mystery is Apple? Answers Kawano
Irrespective of where you stand on the Apple Love – Hate scale, it’s near impossible to dismiss the impact Apple products have had on this world. Since the launch of the first Ipod, Apple has been redefining product categories through the entire decade. May it be the Ipod touch, the Iphone, Ipad or the more recent development, the frighteningly well engineered Mac pro.
The one thing that’s been central to their influence and success has been their design philosophy, or rather how its presumed to be superior to their competitors.
Apple’s secrecy regarding new product launches, acquisitions and general working creates a sort of aura which sets the industry standard for envy.
Their product design philosophy has undeniably been a primary source of “inspiration” behind many popular products. The sort of emotional commitment vested in a Apple purchase is still unparalleled.
So, it’s not farfetched to assume that Apple has the best designers and engineers in the entirety of Silicon Valley. Well, you’d be wrong to assume that. And thats coming from a former Senior Designer at Apple. Mark Kawano has spent 7 years of his life grinding it out at Apple, designing products like Aperture and Iphoto along the way.
In an interview with Fast Company, Kawano rebuffed some myths surrounding Cupertino’s design process.
According to Kawano, there is a widespread misconception that Apple is able to deliver intricately detailed and designed because it has vastly superior designers and a formidable design process.
“It’s actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design,” Kawano said. “Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that’s what makes everything about the product so much better…much more than any individual designer or design team.”
When he was with the company, design teams very pretty compact, consisting of not more than 100 people for core products. Thats quite a small number when compared with other industry stalwarts. Kawano admitted Apple may be expanding these groups in the post Steve Jobs era.
One more point of discussion was Apple’s attention to detail. Kawano cites that innovative details, like a screen shake when an iPhone user enters an incorrect password, are usually created when a designer or engineer is taking some off time. “It’s almost impossible to come up with really innovative things when you have a deadline and schedule,” he said.
Kawano also had some choice words for Steve Jobs, “He had trouble understanding people who didn’t want that same thing and wondered why they’d be working for him if that was the case”.
“I think Steve had a very low tolerance for people who didn’t care about stuff.”
The interview sure does shed some light on the notorious myths surrounding Apple and it’s design Culture. At the end of day, it doesn’t matter how many cores your phone has or how many megapixels have been jammed inside of it, the only thing that does matters is that your product should feel just right. Thats Apple’s primary design philosophy and I would be perfectly fine with Samsung stealing just this.