Originally Posted by mrstep
I agree that form is important, but while the 3GS had form and
function, the iPhone 4 managed to expose the antenna and degrade signal quality (unless you think it's just an issue with mine?) and while the idea of putting glass on the back is elegant, the spider-web pattern on mine from dropping it 1
time from about 2 feet doesn't speak highly of the idea from a functional perspective.
The 3GS felt better in the hand and the case didn't crack if you happened to drop it from a couple of feet. (Just basing that on my case and those of other friends - cracked backs & front/back corners.) I'm not asking for a Dell design, I'm just saying the iPhone 4 has some issues. Great screen, better camera, but the usability took a leap backwards. ... .
No offence but this is almost entirely backwards in terms of being an analysis of "form versus function" or "form over function" in design.
In the first place, a good design, and the goal of all industrial designers is to perfectly meld form and function together, not to favour one over the other. Most things function *because* of their form, so it makes sense that the designers goal is to make the form of the object just right so that the function is enhanced.
The 3Gs with the rounded plastic back is a case of form and function *not* being in sync in that it's just a shape full of electronic junk, one of which is the antenna. The shape of the 3Gs could be lots of different ways and still work.
The iPhone 4 on the other hand is a perfect example of form and function going hand in hand. The steel band that is the chassis and the strongest structural element, is also at the same time a fantastic antenna, better than the generic antenna in the 3Gs. The glass back is also a blending of form and function in that it has to be radio transparent, so the only real possibilities here are plastic or glass. The glass is actually stronger than the plastic overall, and less likely to scratch. that alone is a good reason to choose it.
The design of the iPhone 4 begins and ends with the antenna/chassis. Once that decision is made, the glass back is all but inevitable barring some future material that won't break *or* scratch.
You can argue these issues back and forth depending on what aspects of which devices one focusses on, but to argue at the end of the day that Apple *ever* values form over function in the sense that they will reduce the function in order to get a pretty or cool looking form, is just 100% wrong. It's a popular meme, but there just isn't any evidence for it and mostly those that advance it have no idea what they are talking about and no idea about design or design principles. They are just mouthing a phrase they heard from someone else.