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Old Jun 19, 2013, 05:49 PM   #1
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Famed Designer Richard Sapper Was Once Recruited by Steve Jobs




In an interview with design magazine Dezeen, German industrial designer Richard Sapper revealed that he was once recruited by Steve Jobs to do design work for Apple. The interview doesn't specify when the recruitment happened, but it could have been in the early 80's when Apple was just starting out, or in the mid-90's after Jobs returned to the company.

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Jobs once wanted to hire me to do the design of Apple [computers] but the circumstances weren't right because I didn't want to move to California and I had very interesting work here that I didn't want to abandon. Also, at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company. They were doing interesting things so I was very interested, of course, but I had an exclusivity contract with IBM.
The 81-year old Sapper has been designing products for nearly 60 years, including lamps, phones, radios, coffee makers and an IBM ThinkPad notebook.

Article Link: Famed Designer Richard Sapper Was Once Recruited by Steve Jobs
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 06:05 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure the ThinkPad's design hasnt changed since the 80's
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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He would have been 65 in 1997 when Jobs came back. Maybe he just wanted to slow things down and retire at that point. Apple was still considered small at that point too.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 06:28 PM   #4
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This guy designed the IBM logo?

Didn't the guy who design that logo also design the NeXT logo?
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 06:40 PM   #5
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If there is one laptop that's more iconic than the MacBook line, it's the Thinkpad. That is quite an accomplishment.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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Paul Rand designed the NeXT logo.

Sapper designed the Tizio lamp that Jobs so admired according to the Isaacson biography.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 07:08 PM   #7
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The ThinkPad has got to be one of the ugliest laptops in the history of computing. Thank God IBM had an exclusivity deal with this guy.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kas23 View Post
The ThinkPad has got to be one of the ugliest laptops in the history of computing. Thank God IBM had an exclusivity deal with this guy.
The ThinkPad looked great for 1992.

It hasn't aged so well, though.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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This sound like one of those "guy who declined to manage the Beatles" stories.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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The ThinkPad looked great for 1992.

It hasn't aged so well, though.
I suppose. But, yeah, it never evolved. It basically stayed the same forever. The Lenovo ones still look like they were made 15 years ago.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 09:39 PM   #11
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This sound like one of those "guy who declined to manage the Beatles" stories.
His story is consistent and seems believable. Why would he make that up?
Here http://www.google.ca/search?q=richar...w=1543&bih=878 are some of Sapper's designs.

On the fifth row, second from right, is a clock face that looks suspiciously like that Swiss Federal Railways clock, that was in the news around November of last year.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 10:05 PM   #12
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He was a fool for not going to Apple. But it's good that he didnt, because now they have Sir Johnny.
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Old Jun 19, 2013, 11:06 PM   #13
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“at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company.”

He wasn't a passionate visionary artist, he was just a worker. You don't join a startup company because is big and powerful, you join a startup company because you love the dream too.

I can imagine (even if he's millionaire today) how bad that sentence sounds today.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 12:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
On the fifth row, second from right, is a clock face that looks suspiciously like that Swiss Federal Railways clock, that was in the news around November of last year.
It is the Swiss Railways clock, in watch form. But this was just a watch he owned, he had nothing to do with the design.

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Originally Posted by I WAS the one View Post
“at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company.”

He wasn't a passionate visionary artist, he was just a worker. You don't join a startup company because is big and powerful, you join a startup company because you love the dream too.

I can imagine (even if he's millionaire today) how bad that sentence sounds today.
That's a bit harsh on him, since there could have been many reasons for him to decline joining Apple. Steve might have failed to convince him that Apple's vision was worth working for. Or his style of design was different to how Apple wanted their design.

Looking at Thinkpads, they are of a different philosophy to Macbooks. One's utilitarian and a workhorse, the other is sleek and modern. Both are some of the best designs in laptops thus far, but for entirely different reasons.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 02:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pruppert View Post
Paul Rand designed the NeXT logo.

Sapper designed the Tizio lamp that Jobs so admired according to the Isaacson biography.


The red dots and black body must be a signature of this guy as it is also like the black Thinkpad with red eraser nub mouse thingy.

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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
His story is consistent and seems believable. Why would he make that up?
Here http://www.google.ca/search?q=richar...w=1543&bih=878 are some of Sapper's designs.

On the fifth row, second from right, is a clock face that looks suspiciously like that Swiss Federal Railways clock, that was in the news around November of last year.
The Swiss railway clock, as we know it now, was designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1953. It more complicated than it seems (all clocks are synchronised because when the CFF tells you the train leaves at 0714 they'll be damned if the doors aren't closing at 0740:01).
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 04:35 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kas23 View Post
The ThinkPad has got to be one of the ugliest laptops in the history of computing. Thank God IBM had an exclusivity deal with this guy.
Heh. I actually love the ThinkPad design. Great, powerful and durable laptops. I can't stop collecting the things. There is something about them I find somewhat infectious and brilliant.

I guess it's just me.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 05:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kas23 View Post
I suppose. But, yeah, it never evolved. It basically stayed the same forever. The Lenovo ones still look like they were made 15 years ago.
Lenovo is not a design company, or even innovative. Lenovo is a cheap box-shifter.
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He was a fool for not going to Apple.
Hindsight is 20:20 vision

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Originally Posted by chocolaterabbit View Post
Looking at Thinkpads, they are of a different philosophy to Macbooks. One's utilitarian and a workhorse, the other is sleek and modern. Both are some of the best designs in laptops thus far, but for entirely different reasons.
Wasn't the ThinkPad originally introduced in 1992 when Apple's PowerBooks looked like this:
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 05:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Truffy View Post
Wasn't the ThinkPad originally introduced in 1992 when Apple's PowerBooks looked like this:
Image
Yes, so contrast it with this:





Again, not amazing for its time, but a nice step up.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 07:19 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by chocolaterabbit View Post
Looking at Thinkpads, they are of a different philosophy to Macbooks. One's utilitarian and a workhorse, the other is sleek and modern. Both are some of the best designs in laptops thus far, but for entirely different reasons.
Agreed. The ThinkPad is an incredibly good design.

I have learnt however that MacRumors is the worst place to discuss design. Just look at the panning the Phillipe Starck yacht or the Ruth Asawa fountain got.

Both beautiful things in their own ways, but not 2mm thick aluminium slabs designed by a certain Brit, so immediately dismissed by those who prefer to be told what they like.

(And before I get destroyed - I think the design of my MacBooks and iPods are beautiful. But the only and best (there's no such thing - design is not a race) style in which something should be designed? Absolutely not.)
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 07:49 AM   #21
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Thinkpad (used to be) the best laptop

Say all you want, but the Thinkpad design is a classic. It also happens to be one of the most comfortable laptops to use, more than any other laptop (and I am including Mac).

Too bad IBM sold it all to Lenovo, it went downhill since...
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 09:01 AM   #22
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The Thinkpad was a thing of beauty when IBM made them, definitely better than those jellybean clamshell iBooks.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 09:04 AM   #23
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Glad we got Ive. This isn't a sad story!!
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 10:44 AM   #24
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The Thinkpad has a good design for a IBM/Lenovo product.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 12:13 AM   #25
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The German aesthetic really seems apparent in the linked images. It's interesting to think about what Apple might have come up with him instead of Ive...



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Again, not amazing for its time, but a nice step up.
Never having owned one, I'd forgotten about all the peripherals!
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