Apple slipping in design

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by 147798, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I think Apple has hit a funk in design. Yes, they've made some pretty ugly stuff in the past (e.g. clamshell), but they've had some pretty cool stuff over the last 3 years (starting AFTER the iMac lamp).

    But now, everything is starting to look the same. There is a concept in mfg called "platform design." It's the idea that if you can re-use components in other products you sell, then your cost of production drops. And it does. But it also leads to the "General Motors syndrome" where all your products start to look the same.

    So now all Apple products are really starting to look the same. The alum iMac was pretty ground breaking when it came out, but that was some time ago. So, when the new laptops come out, and they look just like the iMac, <yawn>. Don't be surprised if the new iMac refresh (whenever that happens) includes a black keyboard instead of the white ones. Cheaper to only have one set of keys you have to make (can't stand the black keys myself)

    Also, Apple has reduced options. No matte screen on the 15"MBP (cheaper if everything uses the same glossy glass). No FW on the MB (if you want FW, feel free to spend the extra $700 on a MBP). The mini looks EOL. The iMac 20" screen is so nasty and inconsistent in quality, it's almost like it's not even an option. The new LED display only works with the new MB and MBP. So, it's not a beautiful $800 monitor, it's actually at least $2100, because you need at least a new MB. Ugh!

    If they want to become more mass-market, they'll need more quality options, and not fewer. If the 17" refresh is glossy, alum and black, then they will have shut off anyone who doesn't have that singular vision of what the product looks like.

    It seems to me that the finance folks (build on a single design platform to save money) are leading the charge over Apple's usual innovative design team.
  2. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    Apple likes clean lines...
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    you've just lost a friend there. I reckon the G4 iMac was the best designed desktop computer the world has seen. If they were to make an aluminium version with a 20" LED screen, I'd snap one up in a second.

    It seems to work for Porsche. Their cars have looked very similar for the past few decades. The new line of Carreras look exactly the same as the old ones.

    Besides, Apple are just unifying their product line. They did it with the translucent casing (G3 iMacs, clamshell iBooks, Powermacs, Apple Cinema Displays), then snow white (almost everything), and now black and silver. They'll have some new colour scheme in a couple of years.
  4. 147798 thread starter Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I don't disagree and, of course, design is in the eye of the beholder. But if they want broad market share (and maybe they don't...) then they have to have broader appeal.

    Porsche is not exactly a mass-appeal product. But Apple keeps boasting market share numbers and their stock run-up is based on that (i.e. growing market share). Look at their chest-thumping in yesterday's presentation. They'll have to choose one or the other.
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    So you think the new unibody aluminum shells will cost them less on MacBooks that the plastic ones they've been using?
  6. 147798 thread starter Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I'm sure plastic is cheaper in a single unit buy.

    But, if everything you build uses the same glass, the same screens, the same black keyboards, the same milling process, etc. you get great economies of scale. For instance, instead of having to source white keys and black keys, you only buy black. No more matte LCD screens to purchased. Everything is glass and glossy, etc.
  7. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Agree. The laptops look like bland PC notebooks you could buy from any department store. There's nothing wrong with bland, but when you're charging extra for it, there's less incentive to go with it.
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    These sorts of complaints are so regular you could set your watch by them. I can't recall a single product that Apple's released in the last five years at least that hasn't been greeting by a chorus of gripes, opinions about how Apple has lost their edge, and predictions that they're never going to sell for one reason or another. Name the product and this has been the reaction of a vocal minority. And yet, Mac shipments continue to grow at ten times the rate of the rest of the PC industry.

    So obviously the complainers are right. Apple has screwed up big time, again.
  9. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Using sales figures to justify increasingly crappy products. When Microsoft does that with operating systems, they suck. When Apple does that with hardware, they rule! Got it.
  10. slffl macrumors 65816


    Mar 5, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    The new laptops look great and I can't wait to get one.
  11. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2008
    Warsaw, Poland
    I hope it isn't long. Less than 5 years of this ugliness please? Or at least offer black anodized aluminium alongside?

    I wonder when will the guessing game ("what will be the new style like?") start...
  12. Yr Blues macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    The new design is a logical leap. The usability with black keys contrasting with the backlight and the black border on the screen, much like the iPhone…it's just done really well.

    I think it's a perfect marriage of form and function.
  13. illu macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2008
    I love the look of the new MB, so it's all a question of taste. A design can't please everybody so it's invalid to say that Apple is slipping in that regards.
  14. BoingoBongo macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2008
    I'm not instantly loving the new notebooks, but I also didn't like the new iMacs when they came out, and now I think they're gorgeous.

    I agree that the new Apple notebooks look kind of like HPs from a few years ago, but they don't look awful.

    But like always, it's the operating system and quality of the hardware/software integration that sets these computers apart.
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Increasingly crappy according to whom? The point is (to repeat): the complainers have been getting it wrong for years now, to a degree that their credibility is seriously strained. Not only does the buying public at large like these products, as evidenced by the skyrocketing Mac sales, but many of the people who react negatively to them sight unseen end up liking them just fine once they actually see them. This is not a one-time thing, it's a constant, going back years and years now. You'd think that some would learn to be a bit more circumspect, that they'd want to at least see the product in question in real life before slamming it. You'd think...

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