Apple's secretive industrial design lab shown off in redesigned jobs site

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2015
Jony Ive's design team has begun to emerge from the shadows, with some of Apple's elite cadre of designers featured on the company's revamped jobs microsite -- in a photo apparently taken within its top-secret industrial design lab.




The shot depicts four workers gathered around the edge of a large, Apple-store like wooden table discussing the clasp for an Apple Watch sport band. On the table are two long, thin boxes that appear to be prototypes of packaging for an Apple Watch or its replacement bands.

Behind the group stands a glass wall, which divides the workspace from a set of computerized milling machines.

This setup matches precisely with previous reports that describe the layout of Apple's industrial design lab, a space normally off-limits to all but those who work directly with Ive. At least two of the people in the photo also appear in a group picture taken of the industrial design team last September, following the unveiling of the Apple Watch.

The snapshot provides a rare glimpse inside Apple's holy of holies, a place that is rarely photographed or even visited. It last appeared on film in 2009, when Ive agreed to participate in industrial design documentary Objectified, but that scene took place entirely within a prototyping workshop.

Apple updated its jobs site earlier this week, bringing it in line with the new style of Apple.com.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,040member

    Nice/interesting to see pen and paper still in heavy use.  And the paper is not attached to a legal pad.

    Or was this deliberately staged, to appeal to Potentials?

  • Reply 2 of 49
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Not much to see there. Is that just a bunch of CNC milling machines in the background?
  • Reply 3 of 49
    buckalecbuckalec Posts: 198member
    serious amount of pencils!
  • Reply 4 of 49
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Not much to see there. Is that just a bunch of CNC milling machines in the background?

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Behind the group stands a glass wall, which divides the workspace from a set of computerized milling machines.

  • Reply 5 of 49
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,486member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by buckalec View Post



    serious amount of pencils!



    Pencils are still the easiest design implement to design and edit with. It's a lot easier to draw something, especially ideas, by hand with a pencil than to "program" it on a computer. 

  • Reply 6 of 49
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    buckalec wrote: »
    serious amount of pencils!

    Yeah. We need to see a photo of the ceiling.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    19831983 Posts: 1,224member
    Models?
  • Reply 8 of 49
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member

    Most likely.

     

    And shot in front of some green screen in a photo studio in L.A. or New York, although the article does say that two of the pictured "models" were included in a earlier group shot of the Watch team.

     

    No glare of photo lights reflecting off the glass walls to the "design center." The lighting is too perfect for the real world. Easiest way to generate this image would be to edit the people in.

  • Reply 9 of 49
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    "At least two of the people in the photo also appear in a group picture taken..."

    Let me guess: the two WHITE MEN. Surely, the women must be models/aspiring actresses.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

    "At least two of the people in the photo also appear in a group picture taken..."



    Let me guess: the two WHITE MEN. Surely, the women must be models/aspiring actresses.

     

    I’m trying to tell if you’re being racist, sexist, ableist, mentally defective, or just telling a joke.

  • Reply 11 of 49
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    mpantone wrote: »
    And shot in front of some green screen in a photo studio in L.A. or New York, although the article does say that two of the pictured "models" were included in a earlier group shot of the Watch team.

    No glare of photo lights reflecting off the glass walls to the "design center." The lighting is too perfect for the real world. <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Easiest way to generate this image would be to edit the people in.</span>

    Absolutely. You could almost see that the people are "pasted" into the background. They would never be foolish enough to shoot this on the real location (Jony's lab). Not because that it is secretive, but shooting in studio is much easier. Just have a table, some pencils and papers and BAM!
  • Reply 12 of 49
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    matrix07 wrote: »
    Absolutely. You could almost see that the people are "pasted" into the background. They would never be foolish enough to shoot this on the real location (Jony's lab). Not because that it is secretive, but shooting in studio is much easier. Just have a table, some pencils and papers and BAM!
    Disagree. If you look at the jobs site you'll see a much larger version. It is very well lit and probably heavily post produced. The background in particular looks touched up, perhaps to remove reflections, and to soften things nicely. It is totally posed but it looks shot on location to me.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Most likely.

     

    And shot in front of some green screen in a photo studio in L.A. or New York, although the article does say that two of the pictured "models" were included in a earlier group shot of the Watch team.

     

    No glare of photo lights reflecting off the glass walls to the "design center." The lighting is too perfect for the real world. Easiest way to generate this image would be to edit the people in.




    Wrong. The easiest way is to hire a professional photographer. Have you ever worked with a green screen? Masking out all the hair and smoothing the path can take hours and it will still look fake under close scrutiny.

  • Reply 14 of 49



    I'm voting for cynicism.

  • Reply 15 of 49
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,798member
    This is obviously staged. The boxes are just props.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    So would the pencils be colored, versus normal? Because even though there are a bunch, they guy is using a pen, as well as another pen in the other book and the girl in black is holding a pen.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    mstone wrote: »

    Wrong. The easiest way is to hire a professional photographer. Have you ever worked with a green screen? Masking out all the hair and smoothing the path can take hours and it will still look fake under close scrutiny.
    And if you look at the larger photo on the jobs site you'll see fine flyaway hair all over the place around the woman on the left.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Wrong. The easiest way is to hire a professional photographer. Have you ever worked with a green screen? Masking out all the hair and smoothing the path can take hours and it will still look fake under close scrutiny.


     

    Hollywood seems to use green screens on a regular basis and they shoot 60 frames a second (or more) for 120 minute films.

     

    And wouldn't a professional photographer know how to use a green screen? I'm pretty confident that there are talented photographers in the greater SF Bay Area that can handle the task; Adobe Photoshop has been around for 25 years.

     

    After all, it's not me that needs to take the picture, and Apple isn't going to ask some random schlub in marketing to grab his/her $200 digital camera and shoot this.

  • Reply 19 of 49
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     
    And if you look at the larger photo on the jobs site you'll see fine flyaway hair all over the place around the woman on the left.


    Yep. You'll never get a single strand of hair with a green screen.

     

     

  • Reply 20 of 49
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    And shot in front of some green screen in a photo studio in L.A. or New York, although the article does say that two of the pictured "models" were included in a earlier group shot of the Watch team.

     

    No glare of photo lights reflecting off the glass walls to the "design center." The lighting is too perfect for the real world. Easiest way to generate this image would be to edit the people in.


    The lighting's not very different from a well-designed product design lab space; even, without contrasty lighting and shadows.

     

    "Editing the people in" would leave some telltale green or blue contamination around the edges of the people, and that doesn't appear in the picture (although compression artifacts are evident around high-contrast boundaries).

     

    Another clue that it might be the real things is the mix of lighting evident; the background looks like it's lit by open sky, quite a bit more blue than the room lighting itself. Mixed lighting sources are generally a BadThing(tm) in studio shooting, you want to avoid it if at all possible because it can look very bad. At least they're not working under fluorescent tube lighting.

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