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.

Apple makes a splash with new waterproof iPhone patent

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Water way to test your iPhone!
Water way to improve the iPhone.
Photo: LifeProof

Apple today published an intriguing patent application with a unique method for waterproofing future devices — by covering ports, like those for USB or headphones, with self-healing seals.

Described as an, “electronic device with hidden connector,” the invention describes how self-healing elastomeric material could seal each of the ports, which would then be opened by puncturing them with external connectors, such as power or audio feeds, in the event that they needed to be used.

5 Apple accessories every bit as crappy as the iPhone battery case

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The iPhone Smart Battery Case stunned us with its unsexy curves.
Help! My iPhone 6s has eaten my iPhone 4.
Photo: Apple

The consensus view of Apple’s newly launched hunchback iPhone battery case is that it should ideally be hidden from human view, spending its life in isolation ringing bells in Notre Dame.

Immediately upon release, the Internet filled with loud, angry protesters saying this kind of thing would never have happened in Steve Jobs’ day (and accusing Jony Ive of snoozing on the job). While I’m definitely no fan of Apple’s $99 Smart Battery Case, this isn’t the first time the company has released a less-than-stellar piece of design work amidst its usually gorgeous offerings.

Check out the list below for five of the worst pieces of design to come out of Cupertino since … well, yesterday, actually.

Hate Apple’s new iPhone battery case? Don’t buy it

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Ugh.
Apple's new iPhone case isn't pretty, but no one's forcing you to buy one.
Photo: Apple

Yes, Apple launched a new battery case for iPhone 6s today, and yes, it’s butt-ugly.

All battery cases are, but because this one has an Apple logo on it, the Internet is getting all bent out of shape over just how ugly it is. There’s one thing nobody is mentioning, though: You don’t have to buy one if you don’t like it — and no one really cares what you think.