Is Apple losing their aesthetic sensibility?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Dybbuk, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    I'm really curious about the opinions overall about Apple's new design sense, which is why I'm making this thread. Please respond thoroughly if you could indulge me. :)

    It's obvious to anyone that Apple is trying to phase out the "all white" look, and I am sure the runaway black iPod sales have something to do with it. However, I don't feel the way they are going about it is entirely cohesive.

    Let's start with the new iMacs. They look kind of slapped together, but not as much as they do when you attach the keyboard and Mighty Mouse to it. I am typing this on my new 2.16 MacBook, and I love the keyboard, but it looks really strange as a standalone keyboard, particularly the metal it's attached to. It looks like weird placeholder keyboard in a furniture store. Also, the Mighty Mouse looks nice without the grey squeeze buttons, though I find it strange since they matched the aluminum better. There is no white anywhere on the new iMac, but all the accessories are still white ... what gives?

    There are the new iPods, now. I've heard the fatty nanos look great in person, and I'm going to have to take people's words for it, but the older nanos had a beautiful shape. I won't judge it too much till I can see it in person.

    The iPod classic, however ... the black is okay, but the silver looks really cheap. I'm definitely going to be picking up an old white one, partially because it'll match the rest of my set-up, and because I can never imagine needing 80GB (I'm sure I'll eat those words eventually).

    I am sure that my post is missing substance, and I will be happy if you will be able to amend my thoughts. However, please tell me what you think of Apple's new aesthetic decisions.
  2. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I also agree they seem to be losing their aesthetic quality somewhat. The website could of been done much better, the time machine and space themed imagery seem quite tacky to me.

    The new nanos look a bit boring and not sleek and sexy, they just look almost fisherprice like. The new iMac however I think looks very nice. The iPhone although looks quite good but could of been made to look amazing by making the whole thing seem sleeker with a slightly less bevelled edge (sharper edges). Also the icons for the iPhone and various icons for Leopard are just plain crap. System Preferences (Leopard) and YouTube (iPhone) anyone?

    Just my 2 cents (rare these days) ;)
  3. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    To be honest, I never really cared for's design, but I don't care for the new one especially. It's too minimalist, I think; it's all so very "CLICK HERE". I don't know if that's a very eloquent way to put it, but hopefully you understand what I mean.

    Also, I've been away from the internet for a long time, so I don't know what you mean by these icons and space themed imagery. If you could please show it to me, I would appreciate it a lot.

    There is a store here with the old iMac and new iMac side by side, and I'm drawn to the old one, minus the giant chin. :( However, I hope we can all agree the new keyboard looks rather garbage.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I think they're struggling to define a new look that's evolved away from the cleaner lines in the past. And what makes it difficult is that bringing back a slightly more decorative look with trims and different finishes, is trying to keep on the right side of the line of taste, whatever that means to you.

    Perhaps they're going back to the days of the MDDs but by using different materials, they're casting around for a new look that captures the zeitgeist and keeps them different from the competition.

    Hasn't the iMac traditionally set the style for the other lines? In that case, the new Mac Pro might be black, mirror black, anodized black... whatever.
  5. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    Hi Blue Velvet,

    You're very eloquent in displaying your point. I think I feel your meaning exactly. When an artist has to try too hard to create a piece, the audience can feel that "struggle" and it's usually a pretty uncomfortable feeling. I think that Apple is very obviously struggling to do something new and Apple enthusiasts can feel the discomfort of that.

    I usually like really decorative, trimmed things (I love antique furniture), but I don't think that the way Apple is going about it is the way to go. It all started with the iPhone, and it seems that everything else is following suit.

    My personal opinion is they should have offered the iMac, iPhone, iPod, MacBook, etc. in black and white (with no absurd blacktaxes). Of course, I'm just a fan, and I am sure Apple has already considered these scenarios.
  6. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    The new Nanos in person really are quite nice. The size of the things are one thing but the screens do look great and the colors have a metallic, matte, color to them. They're nice. The same with the Silver iPod classic, which I just bought. Its anything but cheap in person.

    What is this about the new iMacs? Have you seen them in person, again, they look great. Nothing 'slapped together' about them.

    What would you like to see from Apple if they're current scheme isn't doing it for you? New colors? Form factors? Peripherals? Dongles? Perhaps a 5.25" floppy?
    How would antique furniture ever work with a computer?
  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Couldn't agree more and I just don't like the look of the new dock in Leopard either. I hope the Dock setting in System Preferences has a classic setting. :D

    It all seems a bit cheesy, but then again, if what they're doing is trying to out-spack Vista with even more 'Wow!', we'll all have to pay the price of having our finer sensibilities offended. ;)

    Or if we do a flip in our heads and write it off as retro — 1977 Star Wars stylee — then it all comes right again. The new Mac Pro will probably look something like Darth Vader's helmet. :D
  8. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    Excellent – it'll match my speakers. :)

  9. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    As I stated, I saw one in person directly next to an old iMac. I think the old one looks better.

    I don't understand your (rather evident) animosity towards my comments. I know it isn't looked well upon in the Apple community to have bad things to say, but it is a sign of love for someone to be upset about this sort of thing.

    I am not an engineer or a designer, and I'm not pretending to be. I don't have to be a musician to know that I don't like music, and I don't have to be an engineer or designer to know I don't like this new design. iMac G4, G5, first intel, iBook/MacBook, PowerBook/MBP are all really great designs. I would have liked to continue to see things go down this line, with perhaps some more fun color options for the consumer line, such as ColorWare PC provides. Essentially, I would've liked to continue to see the aesthetic continue to become more refined as it had been. Many people thought the iBook was beautiful, but it's sort of ugly after the MacBook. I am sure Apple could've made me think the MacBook was ugly with a new design. :)
  10. MLeepson macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2007
    The thing I've always loved about Apple's industrial design is the white plastic they've used on the Mac Mini and Apple TV. I've thought that it would make a great case for a consumer desktop.
  11. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Ooh... yeh... forget what I said. It's retro cool! :D

    Now I feel better.
  12. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    I agree. Though I'm starting to doubt we'll ever see one. I understand that Apple wants to be more environmentally conscious, and I think that's great ... but I don't like the route that is being taken.

    Honestly, I think people who buy Mac minis are lunatics, though.

    Maybe those of us with white MacBooks will be considered retro cool like the dudes with Pismos someday.

    Also, that's some screenname.
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    When iMovie 08 came out, I read a lot of blogs about it, and some guy posted a nice little snippet which I saved, but later deleted. :mad:

    Basically, he said that he used to contract for apple and he knew people in the design process, and they were instructed to make the apple brand more mainstream and stand out less. That's why iMovie 08 is more like a windows app anyone can use, and less like a true-blue apple app. That's why the icons in 10.5 are more refined but less apple-like and more windows-like.

    Ugh, I wish I still had the snippet!

    This is what I'm trying to say... I'm still looking for the quote
  14. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    This is a very interesting post.

    If that is the truth, it is too bad. I am sure many people have been drawn to Apple because it stands out.
  15. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    No, no no. I actually typed that in there before I saw your post on suggestions. I was approaching a "you're a critic with no suggestions" point. But edited out my other comments already.

    I usually don't reply to these types of threads cause everyone has their opinion on these machines, and ultimately I tend to care more on the speed of the machine as opposed to what it looks like. What made me post is the fact that people have complained about the 'look' of Macs since the B/W G3 and Colored iMac days. But then again you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    But unless they do something drastic like have rhinestones, purples and browns, I will continue to keep out of these threads.
  16. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    Hi GimmeSlack12,

    Of course we all have our own priorities. Part of my interest in Macs is that they are design and fashion conscious. I know that this sort of priority is often received with negativity, but it's just what I'm interested in.

    People are always going to complain about everything. I don't think people should feel bad about that.
  17. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2004
    To be completely matching you'll have to move out of waterlogged old Hull and into your new place :D

    Don't ask why I'm reading Skyscraper News :eek:

    I do sort of agree with the OP.

    The new iMacs? meh

    And the new Dock? bleurgh. What's with the lights?
  18. Tumeg101 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2007
    Orange County, California
    I agree, I think apple should have stayed with the all white look. When people saw a white laptop, they new it was a Mac, but now if apple changes the MacBooks to aluminum they wont look very different. White was the look for apple, now they are drifting away from that and I personally think it is a bad decision.
  19. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    Personally I think the designs of the last few years were elegant and simple. Now the problem for Apple is this -- they have to update the design since their products are see as fashion. Now, when you have a near-perfect design, more often than not you tweak it just to make it different enough to justify the fashion. Change for the sake of change. Maybe in deciding not to radically change the Mac Pro and Macbook Pro, they realized this. Maybe they had some trendy new designs and decided to stay with the better, albeit older, designs.

    I don't think Apple has gone off the rails, however. I thought the candy colored iMacs and iBooks were fashion statements that wouldn't age well and I'm right. They're just varying the theme right now. I ordered a 160 gig silver iPod classic, and I'm not crazy of the color, but I already have a white 80 gig 5.5 and a black 60 gig 5 gen so the silver will distinguish it.
  20. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Negativity isn't what I'm conveying. And I wish more people on these boards would avoid that vibe, but it happens.

    Its rather an indifference to something that I feel is out of our control for the most part. Sure Apple pays attention to our comments, but ultimately we have little influence on the matter. My love really stems from Mac OS X.
  21. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    I am glad to see that there is resonance in these feelings about Apple's new designs. However, if Apple is really trying to not stand out, this is the way to do it.

    Agh, agh, I hate the new keyboard. It wouldn't look so bad if it was all white. That silver looks so CHEAP.

    It is good that people acknowledge that Apple is -- to a pretty extreme degree -- about fashion. More important, it is about a convergence of extremely well designed software and extremely beautiful pieces to use the software on.

    As I stated before, we all thought the iBook was a near-perfect design ... until we saw the MacBook. I am sure that the current designs could be improved without changing the entire aesthetic.

    All right. It is good to know you aren't conveying negativity. :)

    I do think you are correct in stating that it is out of our control, but many things are. That does not mean we shouldn't discuss them.

    My love stems from fashion and OS X. :)
  22. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    If they can get the fans to sound like Vader's respirator there might be a market!:p

    personally, I think design in general is reaching a stagnation point. All Apple ever did was find good designers that were on the cutting edge. There isn't a cutting edge right now but Apple is trying to differentiate their products from the ones companies are putting out now that are approaching the design sense of Apple. So Apple is thrashing about a bit, feeling around for slight evolutions in the aesthetic it has now. When a new exciting design aesthetic comes around you can be sure Apple will be all over it.
  23. GavinTing macrumors 6502


    Sep 4, 2007
    I really really hope that the new macbooks don't have the (ipod's) silver colors.. If it does, I'm totally going to burn down the apple shop :(
  24. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Can't keep the same thing for too long..

    Apple did that with Mac OS(not X)...and it hurt them badly, now Apple is trying to stay fresh!
  25. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I just had a question about this: what? Is there metal on the exterior of the macbook? I thought it was plastic. Please elaborate on which part of the notebook you were talking about for me. Thanks:)

    As for your thread's intent, I have a few points of agreement and a few points of disagreement.

    Firstly, I have to say that design is something that's always changing. We can't have the same design around forever. I suppose from Apple's point of view, white was growing a bit long in the tooth. Now, it has been the color of Apple for several years now, but that doesn't mean that it has to stay that way. Remember when the iMacs had colored backs? I'm sure people thought those were the best looking iMacs ever. And then the G4 and G5 iMacs came out. My point is that design must always change, that's the only way to get people in the door. If the design remains constant, people will get bored and will lose interest. Like you posted yourself, Apple relies a great deal on fashion. It is one of the reasons you buy a Mac. Personally, I haven't seen a new iMac yet, so I have no idea about how it looks. Judging from the pictures though, it looks pretty nice to me. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "slapped together." They look like fairly well thought-out machines to me.

    Secondly, the look doesn't seem cohesive right now because we're in the middle of a transition. Give it a little time, and I'm sure Apple will have a common theme for its products once again.

    Finally, I have to emphasize the point about "commonality." thejadedmonkey provided that info about Apple trying to make some of its applications more Windows-like. This might have show us why Apple is moving away from white. The general population likes black and silver when it comes to electronics. Most laptops, desktops, DVD players, phones, cameras, and non-iPod mp3 players incorporate these two colors extensively. It only makes sense for Apple to bring those two colors in and do a better job with them (yes, even black and silver can be butchered, just look at Dell or HP laptops:rolleyes:). I also don't like the loss of white in one area: the iPod. I am a fan of the white iPod. For some reason, I find it better looking than the black one. I know I'm in an extreme minority here, but I would have loved a white Nano. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to wait until they make one again in...oh about seven years:p

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