The job of a designer is to be a psychologist [Podcast interview]

By

Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Photo: Oliver Seil/Belkin

In the last decade or so, lots of companies have gotten design religion. Design has been brought in-house, where it can shape products from the very get-go. There’s an obvious source for this idea — Apple.

This week on the Kahney’s Korner podcast, I talked to Oliver Seil, senior design director of Belkin International’s Innovation Design Group. We discussed Belkin’s products and design process; the surprising complexity of USB cables (and why they cost so much); and why Apple has had such an enormous influence on design and manufacturing.

You can listen to the podcast or read a full transcript of the interview below. (Or dive into the show notes.)

How industrial design is changing the tech industry [Kahney’s Korner Podcast]

By

Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Photo: Oliver Seil/Belkin

For many ugly years, manufacturers considered industrial design an afterthought. They would outsource the task to a contractor or neglect it altogether, in an effort to get products out quickly and cheaply.

The result: hideous-looking products that didn’t work well or proved difficult to use.

Nowadays, companies like Apple are changing the game when it comes to incorporating industrial design and user experience into product engineering.

On this episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk with Oliver Seil, senior design director with Belkin International’s Innovation and Design Group. Seil is Belkin’s Jony Ive, the top designer who overseas the company’s diverse array of products.

Belkin specializes in mobile accessories, from power packs and iPhone cases to WeMo home automation products

Apple may be working on keyboard with e-ink display keys

By

The next Magic Keyboard may look something like this.
The next Magic Keyboard may look something like this.
Photo: Sonder

Apple is reportedly in talks to acquire an Australian startup called Sonder that specializes in making keyboards with individual e-ink displays on each key.

The Sonder acquisition is supposedly part of Apple’s plan to update its Magic Keyboard in 2018 with a smart keyboard module and color e-ink keys that allow programs to quickly swap characters for shortcuts or change to a different language.

Check out the e-ink keyboard in action:

iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case packs more power into its ugly hump

By

There's lots of extra juice in the new iPhone case.
There's lots of extra juice in the new iPhone case.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus aren’t the only new Apple products that are getting a solid battery upgrade.

Apple’s new Smart Battery case for the iPhone 7 has a 26% bigger battery than the iPhone 6 and 6s version, giving users the ability to binge on video for a full 24 hours.