The term “planned obsolescence” has achieved negative connotations, but it originally referred to a long-standing tradition of changing designs to sell more products.
It was coined by the car industry in the 1930s to refer to annual model updates. Over the years, however, the term has taken on a darker meaning. But planned obsolescence is a good thing. It’s the driving force behind much innovation.
This morning, New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell accused Apple of breaking her old iPhone 4 with the iOS7 update, which made it unbearably slow. “It seemed like Apple was sending me a not-so-subtle message to upgrade,” she wrote in a piece entitled, Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone.
According to Rampell, Apple is feeling the heat from Samsung, HTC and others, and is resorting to sabotaging older iPhones with a software update and force users to upgrade their hardware.
Upset that after almost a decade, Apple is finally changing the Dock Connector with the new, smaller Lightning Standard? Redditor Ima13X puts it in perspective.
The image makes a great point: Samsung’s had a million proprietary connectors for its devices over the last decade, while Apple’s only had two. However, it’s worth noting that it’s this very consistency in proprietary connectors that allowed Apple to build up a massive third-party “Made for iPhone”, “Made for iPad” and “Made for iPod” licensing business… a business that Samsung’s never managed at all.
So changing the 30-Pin Dock Connector to Lightning is a big deal. The ramnifications on Apple’s accessory ecosystem are huge. As long as Apple doesn’t get in the habit of changing this connector frivolously, though, and has built Lightning to be as future proof (or more so) than the 30-Pin Dock Connector, this changes means fresh billions earned, not just for Apple, but its accessory partners.
Sir Jony Ive hasn’t agreed to too many interviews during his time as Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design. But the London Evening Standard has managed to tie him down for a rare interview in which he talks about Apple’s design process, and why its competitors have the wrong goals.
In OS X Lion, Apple redesigned Address Book with a new look that resembles a physical hardcover book binding. This type of design choice is called “skeuomorphic,” because it was, “deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar.” Lion’s version of Address Book takes the old look and feel of a physical book and ports that to a virtual application.
While some may like the new look of Address Book in Lion, many have raised complaints. If you’d like to make Address Book look clean and simple again, we’ve got just the trick to unbind Address Book from its brown hardcover.
Apple’s suing Samsung for copying the intellectual property of their iPhone, iPad and iOS designs. In return, Samsung’s suing Apple for patent infringement.
In the Apple vs. Samsung case, though, Apple has just won a weird little concession from the judge: they get to see five of Samsung’s unreleased tablets and smartphones. Can you imagine what would happen if Samsung got the same concession in their suit against Apple?
@Michael Jack. An iPod with the Regency TR-1 in red (1954-55) and TR-4 (black).
Recording engineer and music producer Michael Jack has amassed an amazing collection of 1,100 transistor radios.
@Michael Jack. Look familiar? An iPod with a Zenith RE-10
These models from the 1950s look like predecessors of the iPod, he notes on his flickr stream:
“When I fist saw the Zenith RE-10 I figured I had come upon the most obvious inspiration for the iPod… Although all these radios appear to have similar design elements to the iPod I would ALMOST bet that the RE-10 was studied (or at least observed) by the Mac design team.”
@Michael Black. Note: the size of the iPod's click wheel about the same as radio's tuning dial.
I love the still-modern look of these half-century old radios, whether Jonathan Ive used them for inspiration or not.