Apple Industrial Design Rant

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jmck, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. jmck macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #1
    <rant>

    I am used to thinking of Apple's Industrial Design as being the cream of the crop, however, there are many examples these days of "design-for-design's-sake" that actually hinders usage. The list will be familiar to many:

    --No CD eject button on the computer itself. Why does this need to be removed? The only reason I can see is to make the machine look "sleeker."

    --No restart button on the computer itself. Same as above.

    --White translucent keyboards. There is a reason nobody else ever thought to do this. Users don't want to see trapped nose hair, dust, and sesame seeds on the underside of their keyboards. The original graphite ones were bad enough, but the white ones get nasty looking even faster.

    --Same goes for the whole iMac in general. Grimy.

    --The seamless finish of the iPod defeats easy battery removal.

    --The seamless finish of the iPod also makes it easier for the display to get scratched, as it's level with the rest of the object.

    Those are all the examples of which I have direct experience. Point being, great design is *not* just about how something looks, or how much of a "wow" factor it has in its first impression. Apple knows this, but in their quest to differentiate themselves from everyone else, I think they're making some seriously irksome design decisions.

    </rant>
     
  2. TimDaddy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2002
    Location:
    Versailles, KY (and that's pronounced Vurr-sales)
    #2
    I see your points, and they are correct. That is why I don't eat at my computer and I keep my iPod in a skin whenever I take it out. I would like too see more easily accessable buttons on the iMac, but other than that, I love the looks of Apple's products. Oh, and though I like the look of the keyboard, I do wish it used philps screws or something so it could be easily taken apart and cleaned. I just take the good with the bad, considering there is so much more good than bad.
     
  3. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #3
    Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    i think this is precisely because apple didn't intend the users to remove the battery..?
     
  4. bensisko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    The Village
    #4
    To your point, I think that the drives on the G5s and the iMacs should be slot-loading instead of trays.

    I'm not sure a reset button is really needed (just a power button).

    I think the iPod/battery thing has more to do with distribution/cost/ ect. If you offer a removeable battery, you have to offer a battery. As much of a good idea this would be, I think it would just create more problems for Apple than they want to deal with. I have the same headache with my old iPaq.

    To me, most of these seem minor for otherwise great design. I guess I can't really speak for the desktops, but the laptops, design wise, have been great. One thing I like about Apple laptops is that there are no little "one-touch" buttons that launch applications and such. A single mouse button, a neat and ordered keyboard, and a power button make the laptops look stylish and functional.

    The best thing about Apple design (both hardware and software), is that when you sit down to a Mac, it feels like you are sitting down to a computer from the future.
     
  5. lactocrit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    #5
    See you mention keyboards and I'll have a swipe.
    Keyboards are the most annoying piece of all the computer components to clean. Of course, that's since I can't be bothered with the rest. BUT Keyboard's the one I actually touch and see cockroaches crawl into.

    It's not an apple thing, it's just no one has come up with a good sleek keyboard people can actually clean without bringing out drills.
    <flame me>
     
  6. sonofslim macrumors 6502a

    sonofslim

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    #6
    white keyboards are like white sneakers: so slick when new, but after a few years they're only good enough to cut the grass in. or whatever. you know what i mean.
     
  7. ebow macrumors 6502a

    ebow

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    Apr 30, 2001
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    Trapped in a world before later on
    #7
    Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    Regarding the lack of CD eject button... well, back in the days of floppy disks, those drives also lacked eject buttons. While I first thought that was highly annoying, it's pretty logical. The disk gets mounted, and it takes a software command (dragging it to the trash) to unmount it. Once it's unmounted, the computer then spits it out. With systems that let you just eject the disk manually, you could damage it if you eject it during read/write, and what if you have a document or app from the disk open? If the disk wasn't being used, it gets unmounted the next time the drive looks for it and fails to find it. It could get messy, so Apple decided that you'd have to check with the software to make sure it was okay to eject it. This principle carries over to CDs and DVDs today. (note: I'm not a software or OS developer by any means, but I've peiced this together from documentation and discussions over the years.)

    Regarding the lack of a reset button... Well, there is one, kind of. If you hold down the Power/Sleep button for a few seconds, the machine reboots. Yes, it's "hidden" or "modal" making it hard to discover, but it's also hard to push accidentally. And it reduces the complexity of the hardware a bit, I suppose. This same technique (hold the power button for a few seconds) is used on wintel laptops, and maybe elsewhere.

    I'll have to agree about the keyboards. I have a clearish graphite one, and yuck! I clean under the keys once in a while (they pop off and on fairly easily) but I can't figure out how to get the top layer of plastic off, so I just try to not look at it much. :D
     
  8. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #8
  9. legion macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #9
    Re: Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    You must be pretty young, because floppy disk drives did have eject buttons (and they were useful.) With Apples/Macs that didn't have eject buttons, there was still the force eject hole (which has been used by myself and many I know more than I'd like.) Heck, everyone kept unbent paperclips on them just to fix these stupid issues.

    Maybe I'm just showing my age.;)
     
  10. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    mi
    #10
    Re: Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    holy moly, that brings back memories of win 3.1 and 95 - anytime you took a floppy and *any* app was running, you'd get BSOD'd faster than you could say floppy. ticked me off... i was using 7.1p2 at the time, and couldn't for the life of me understand 1)why anyone would want to manualy eject a floppy drive (and use a floppy that was 4x slower) and 2) use an OS that BSOD'd cause it was too stupid to know when you took out the floppy. oh, and instead of telling you the label of the disk that had been removed, it would tell you the serial number. what good is that? how many people actually labeled disks by their serial number???

    <end rant>

    as for slot loading drives, they're cool and all, but i try to stay away from them, cause you can't use any non-standard sized disc...

    matt
     
  11. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #11
    Re: Re: Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    I certainly don't remember any Macintosh which had (accessible) eject buttons on 3.5 inch diskette drives, although some of the clones may have. PowerComputing clones didn't. Since they used GCR for 400KB and 800KB diskettes, they never needed to conform to other ways of doing things.

    Other platforms used them though, from the HP 9000 UNIX workstations to MSX-DOS machines and finally the IBM PS/2.

    Operating system-wise, it was much smarter for the system to control ejecting the diskette, so it knew the contents at any moment. CP/M and MS-DOS had the check for media change functionality which was rarely used and rarely worked, as mkaake has mentioned. ;)
     
  12. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    Aug 20, 2003
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    #12
    Re: Apple Industrial Design Rant

    Just look around on the dang computer. The iMac has it around the back by the ports, the eMac has it in the side panel. Laptops have a key combo, as does anything using an ADB keyboard. The G5 has it right on the front.

    So which one is missing a restart button? :confused:
     
  13. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #13
    Since the eject button on the keyboard of my PowerBook is on the computer itself, I will take the cheap way out and say I have a Mac with an eject button. :D

    I haven't used an iPod so I cannot speak for its design, but I agree with others that if you want to protect it, there are skins available to aid in that effort.

    Also, I personally like the fact that there aren't a lot of extra buttons that aren't needed. My old Gateway had a power button, a reset button, and a sleep button. The only thing was, the power button would actually sleep the computer if pressed once and would reset it if held down for a few seconds. Not only that, but it would turn it off if you were to hold it down for even longer. So what then, is the point in having three separate buttons when the power button was used for all three tasks?

    As far as the keyboard is concerned, all keyboards get nasty and you can either choose to spend some time trying to clean it, try not to eat around the computer and keep a clean environment, or just replace it every so often when needed or wanted. I have also seen some that are those rubbery kind that would be impossible to worry about since they are all of one piece with touch sensors under each key instead of movable parts with gaps between them.

    Either way, there are issues with any design, no matter how good it is. The Superdrive is awesome, but lacks ability to play other disc sizes, clear plastics can be cool but they show imperfections and dirt easily, and lack of buttons can look clean, but lead to confusion. It's just one of those "lesser of two evils" philosophies at work, I suppose.

    And as one last note, I remember my old PowerBook had the paperclip eject button and also had a physical reset button on the back next to the ports.
     
  14. pinto32 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #14
    IMO, it doesnt make a whole lotta difference what color the keys are....its gonna show dust and otehr dirt in a short amount of time anyway.....the beige keyboard on my PC is disgusting!
     
  15. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #15
    Exactly, because dirt comes in all colors (insert cheesy PSA here). On a white keyboard/car, you'll see the dark dirt, while on a black keyboard/car, you'll see the lighter colored dirt (and road salt).
     
  16. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    Jun 23, 2003
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    St Augustine, FL
    #16
    Do you remember how nasty the old mice would get before optical mice came out? Ugh, I remember having to scrape all that gunk and hair off the rollers every so often.
     
  17. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #17
    Yeah, I still have to clean our iMac's puck every so often.
     
  18. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    fennario
    #18
    Regarding the "grubby iMac" comment,

    Read my thread titled: G4 iMac + bleach= love. If I wasn't as lazy as I am, I would give you a link.

    Also about the white keyboard, just put it in the dishwasher without any soap. Then let it air dry for a week and it will be right as rain. A friend of mine also says that after the dish washer, if you wrap in a jacket or comforter, you can just toss it in the dryer. But I am too skittish to attempt that one.:p
     
  19. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #19
    Somehow I can't see myself putting any kind of computer equipment in the dishwasher and dryer like that. I doubt it'd be covered by Applecare, either.

    "Yeah, for some reason, when I took it out of the dryer, the keyboard stopped working."
     

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