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.

Unique gifts for the Apple fanatic in your life

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A Lego Mac might be the perfect gift for the Apple fan in your life. Photo: Chris McVeigh.
A Lego Mac might be the perfect gift for the Apple fan in your life. Photo: Chris McVeigh

What do you get for the Apple nut in your life? You know the type. They live and breathe Apple — but they already have every Apple product under the sun. Plus all the accessories.

iPod? Got it. iPhone wallet case? Got it. Steve Jobs bobblehead? Got it.

Well, I’ll bet a testicle they don’t have some of this stuff.

Jony Ive Makes WSJ’s ‘Books of The Year’ List

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It’s the time of the year for lists: naughty, nice, best of, trends, Thirteen Surprising Bathroom Habits Of Tech Innovators. Stuff like that.

All those listicles can make your eyes water, even though you can’t stop yourself from clicking through to Ten Loudest Grunters in Women’s Tennis, I know I can’t.

But it was with great pleasure that I spotted Cult of Mac publisher Leander Kahney’s Jony Ive made it into the venerable Wall Street Journal’s Books of the Year section.

Who Wants a Video Tour of Apple’s Secret Design Studio?

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Apple's secretive Industrial Design Studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings of Apple's Cupertino campus.
Apple's secretive Industrial Design studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings at Apple's Cupertino HQ.

Ever wanted to take a tour of Apple’s secret Industrial Design studio in Cupertino? Now you can — a virtual one, anyway — just for writing a review of my new book about Jony Ive. It doesn’t even have to be a good review!

Located on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II behind frosted glass windows, the industrial design studio is where Ive and his team of design elves cook up Apple’s awesome products.

Few have been inside — even some of Apple’s own executives haven’t seen it. Rumor has it that the former head of iOS, Scott Forstall, wasn’t allowed inside, even when he was developing the iPhone’s operating system. Only one published photograph has ever been taken inside the studio. And no, Blue Peter and the Objectified documentary weren’t filmed there, contrary to popular opinion.

Now you can take a tour. I had a 3-D model of the studio created, based on detailed descriptions and diagrams by former designers who worked inside. I used it to create a video tour of the studio, showing the layout and explaining how everything works. I think the video turned out great, and here’s how you get a sneak peek.

Behind The Scenes On How the iPhone Got Made

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An early “Sandwich” prototype which imagined the iPhone in Apple’s iconic white plastic. CREDIT: Apple/Samsung trial.

Leander’s new book “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products” has debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. (Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And huzzah!)

If you want to get a feel for the book, check out this excerpt over at Medium, which is richly illustrated with sketches and photographs of some of the prototypes.

The Medium excerpt is how Leander wanted to originally write the book; illustrated with all the images leaked during the initial Samsung vs. Apple trial. We’ve seen the prototypes all over the web. What is missing, though, is the journalist’s most important tool: context. This treatment pairs the pictures with the details of Apple’s design process.