From Phones To Tablets: 26 Apple Designs That Never Came To Be
In Design Forward, frog design’s founder, Hartmut Esslinger, recounts the inspirations and process behind the computers that revolutionized consumer electronics.
( The following is an excerpt from Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change (Arnoldsche Art Publishers), edited by Hartmut Esslinger.)
In 1982, Apple was in its sixth year of existence, and Steve Jobs, Apple’s cofounder and Chairman, was twenty-eight years old. Steve, intuitive and fanatical about great design, realized that the company was in crisis. With the exception of the aging Apple IIe, the company’s products were failing against IBM’s PCs. And they all were ugly, especially the Apple III and soon-to-be-released Apple Lisa. The company’s previous CEO, Michael Scott, had created different “business divisions” for each product line, including accessories such as monitors and memory drives. Each division had its own head of design and developed its product line any way it wanted to. As a result, Apple’s products shared little in the way of a common design language or overall synthesis. In essence, bad design was both the symptom and a contributing cause of Apple’s corporate disease. Steve’s desire to end this disjointed approach gave birth to a strategic design project that would revolutionize Apple’s brand and product lines, change the trajectory of the company’s future, and eventually redefine the way the world thinks about and uses consumer electronics and communication technologies.