How Apple’s super-secret Industrial Design team really works

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Apple's Industrial Design team at the Apple Watch unveiling.
Apple's Industrial Design team at the Apple Watch unveiling.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

This feature is adapted from my book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. It offers a rare look inside one of Apple’s most secretive institutions: the Industrial Design studio.

Where do Apple’s great products come from?

For the last 18 years — since Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 — most of them have come out of Apple’s Industrial Design studio, a small and secretive group of creatives headed up by celebrated British designer Sir Jony Ive.

Take a video tour of Apple’s secret design studio

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Take a peek inside Jony Ive's design lab.
Apple's secretive Industrial Design Studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings on the Cupertino campus.

Very few outsiders have been inside Apple’s Industrial Design Studio, the amazingly creative product lab behind the company’s blockbuster hardware.

That may change this weekend, when 60 Minutes broadcasts a tour of the design lab. Apple’s lead designer, Jony Ive, gave journalist Charlie Rose a peek at the facility earlier this year — and his report airs this Sunday.

But you can take a tour of Apple’s secret Industrial Design studio right now. A virtual one, anyway.

Review: Sonos Play:5 speaker is a rumbling, room-shaking rabble-rouser

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The new Play:5 speaker is a great update to Sonos' top-of-the-line box.
The new Play:5 speaker is a great update to Sonos' top-of-the-line box.
Photo: Traci Dauphin/Cult of Mac

The flagship speaker from Sonos has been revamped, redesigned and relaunched. The result is awesome.

The new Play:5 is a big, beefy speaker that sounds absolutely wonderful. It’s available in stores today, and although it’s not cheap, I’d recommend you go out and get one. Or two. Stereo is even better.

iPad Pro Diary: The iOS ecosystem is much deeper than I knew

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If you've got one of these, you'll want to upgrade to the bigger power brick.
If you've got one of these, you'll want to upgrade to the bigger power brick.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

iPad Pro Diary, Day 2: I have a shameful confession to make. Even though I’ve been using an iPad and iPhone for years, I haven’t really been using them.

I do a few things that haven’t changed for donkeys. I read on the iPad all the time and send the odd email. I play songs on Sonos. I played Kingdom Rush a few times. I watched a Netflix video. That’s about it.

My iPhone I use more, but nothing heavy duty. Messaging, email, photos and maps. The odd phone call.

But now that I’m forcing myself to use the iPad Pro for work — to see if it really is a PC replacement — I’m discovering something unesxpected: That the iOS ecosytem is far deeper, more productive, and better integrated than I knew.

Not only is work easier on the iPad these days, it’s a lot more fun.

Review: Logitech’s Create keyboard case turns iPad Pro into a bona fide laptop

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11132015_Logitech_Create_iPad_Case_IMG_0618

The iPad Pro is being hailed as “a new kind of computer,” but as some have noted, it’s really the top half of a new kind of computer. Missing is the bottom half — the keyboard.

Apple has a solution for that — the $169 Smart Keyboard, which turns the iPad Pro into a laptop lookalike. But there’s a fantastic alternative: Logitech’s Create keyboard and case.

Logitech’s Create has several advantages over Apple’s Smart Keyboard. First, it’s a keyboard and a case that turns the Pro into a proper faux laptop (Apple’s keyboard is half a case that covers only the iPad’s screen). Logitech’s keyboard has fantastic chicklet keys, versus Apple’s hated low-travel flat keys; and it’s backlit, an essential requirement for any keyboard.

All in all, Logitech’s $150 backlit keyboard turns the iPad Pro into a MacBook — but a MacBook with cool extra features like Touch ID and a touch-sensitive screen.