In the first day of actual testimony today, US District Court got to hear from the first expert witness, Christopher Stringer, a long-time Apple designer who worked on the original iPhone designs. His testimony described Apple’s design team as a group of 16 “maniacal individuals” who spent a lot of their time around a kitchen table, brainstorming new products.
Stringer wore an off-white suite and narrow black tie to testify, an outfit to complement his long hair and salt-and-pepper beard. He told the jury, “Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life.”
The process they use is unique, and includes a kitchen table.
In his testimony, Stringer said that the main group of 15 or 16 designers, led by Jony Ive, meet weekly around the kitchen table, where they are most comfortable. This crack design team works in a huge open-area studio on the Apple campus in Cupertino, blaring music through a massive sound system. Access to this area is strictly controlled, limited to a very small select group.
Stringer, who himself has hundreds of design patents in his name, pointed out that the team has worked together for close to 20 years. “We have been together for an awfully long time,” he said. “We are a pretty maniacal group of people. We obsess over details.” He reiterated a common theme at Apple, one of developing many prototypes at once, never following a linear development path, always willing to scrap a whole concept for something better.
“We are always doubting,” he said. “We are always questioning.”
Image: Reuters/Vicki Behringer