SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is blocking the donation of 30-year-old documents to a museum, claiming they contain valuable trade secrets.
“It’s silly,” said Hartmut Esslinger, the design guru recruited to help Apple become a leader in design in the early 1980s.
Speaking at a Jony Ive book launch party on Thursday night, Esslinger explained that Apple has prevented him from donating some historical old documents to a museum.
Esslinger’s design firm, Frog Design, was hired by Steve Jobs to bring world-class design to Apple. Esslinger’s “Snow White” design language, characterized by elegant off-white plastic cases, influenced the entire computer industry for more than a decade.
Hartmut Esslinger, Apple’s first celebrity designer, is coming to the Jony Ive book launch party on Thursday!
This is super exciting. Esslinger is giant of the design industry. He was hired by Steve Jobs in the mid-1980s to bring world-class design to Apple. Jobs wanted to make Apple “the Olivetti of Silicon Valley,” a world leader in design. He succeeded amazingly well. Esslinger was responsible for Snow White, a distinctive design language that dominated the entire computer industry for more than a decade, and other industries too.
Over at DesignBoom, they’ve put up an incredible gallery of early Apple II and Macintosh product designs that never saw the light of day by Hartmut Esslinger, a designer who founded Frog Design, the company that Apple partnered with through the 1980s and 1990s. There are even some products that Apple never made, like a stylus-controlled smartphone from the early 80s called the “MacPhone,” a precursor to the MacMini called the Baby Mac, and what appears to be a Mac with dual flatscreens.
We’ve picked some of our favorite designs and put them after the jump, but by all means, head to Designboom for more.
Apple has been dreaming big since like forever. Even when they knew current technology couldn’t support their crazy dreams, they’d still throw wacky but brilliant ideas around. The iPhone didn’t change the world until it was launched in 2007, but Apple had been dreaming up “iPhone” concepts 24 years earlier.
This particular Apple Phone concept was created back in 1983 by Hartmut Esslinger from Apple’s design firm Frogdesigns. It features a touch-screen, apps, touch-screen keyboard, and even one of those pesky stylus things that Steve Jobs hated so much.
Maybe it couldn’t have mass produced these suckers back in 1983, but take a look at what could have been a phenomenal Apple product: