Serious Discussion: A new design direction for Apple with the iPhone 3G

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Before this year's WWDC, Apple's future design direction was clearly set, and expected to continue. Replacing plastic with metal, mostly aluminium, and phasing out their trademark white from their major product lines. In fact the original iPhone seemed to be an embodiment of this new design direction. But the release of the new iPhone 3G, this direction seems to be thrown in doubt, like they've changed their mind, or travelled back in time. We've replaced plastic with metal (though perhaps this is mostly explainable by the fact that plastic is better for the transmisions side of things) and even more curiously, not only brought back white, which it seems like we've only just gotten rid of in most of the products, but had white turn the tables, becoming the new "premium" colour, which costs more despite no difference in the actual production cost.

So, to summarize; After looking at the new iPhone, has Apple's design direction changed?


  • Reply 1 of 9
    tacojohntacojohn Posts: 980member
    Mostly I think it has to do with the phones cellular reception than anything. I'm betting the plastic backs have a HUGE impact on reception than the metal version.

    If the backing has to be plastic, I'd rather have it painted than a faux metal finish that will slowly chip and rub off...
  • Reply 2 of 9
    thttht Posts: 3,323member
    I think Apple is heading towards a new design direction as the aluminum and boxy look is getting quite old; however, I agree with tacojohn that the iPhone 3G doesn't signify it.

    The plastic back in the iPhone is for better radio performance and reduced cost. Nothing more. I does look like future Apple computers will be shaped with more tapered looks as seen with the iMac, the MBA and the iPhone 3G. The MP, MBP and MB will likely follow suit. Don't know about materials. For lower tier lines, I think they'll use plastic, but that's normal.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    ksecksec Posts: 1,567member
    As far as i know plastic black cover makes reception much better and therefore making much better battery life.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    I think we can gather that Apple has *no* coherent design direction at this point.

    Tapered edges seems to be one common design feature, however.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I think Apple does whatever works for them when they need it. Metal was cool feature on the original iPhone. Black, and White always looks good. Go with it. Design direction...? I think you guys read way to far into this stuff.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    kingstonkingston Posts: 24member
    I think you're all mostly right about the plastic being for better reeption. suppose the bigger issue is, as stated above, the colour, which I find seems to be a little odd. First everything from Apple was white, then they introduced black, then they introduced black but only if you paid more for it unnecasariy, then once the brough all the metals in, they got rid of white all together. Now, the tables have turned, and white is being reintroduced as the "premium" colour that you can only get with the more expensive versions of the product.

    So what does this mean for the colour white within Apple?
  • Reply 7 of 9
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    The original iPhone followed the iPod look with a metal back - that's why. The oddball choice was the black face but it'd look pretty weird in white with a screen.

    The iMac being black and aluminium has thrown a spanner in the design works too. I still think it should be white or at worst, aluminium and white like a Mac Mini. The previous generation look a million times better. The new keyboard and mouse don't match. Or the keyboard should be black like the MacBook Air. It's a complete dogs dinner at the moment and shows a complete lack of attention to detail.

    The 2nd Generation iBooks started the white trend and if you recall correctly it was actually clear plastic over a white coat with a silver middle layer and screen surround. The older wireless mice - pre-MightyMouse, were like that too. I've still got both and I think they're easily Apple's design at it's best. Apple only more recently have gone for the cheaper looking solid white plastic.

    They show no signs of getting rid of white either. Time Capsule - white, AirportExpressN - white, Power adaptors - white and finally white on the iPhone 3G (but not it's face), it's headphones and it's power adaptor.

    I still find it odd though that both Sony with it's white PSP and Nintendo with it's DS can pull off the Apple look better than Apple can these days. Maybe it's time Apple had a complete new design direction instead of the piecemeal erosion of it's old design language.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    The problem with design languages is that they are constantly evolving... as a result you end up with a bit of a movable feast.

    I think we'll see more products which feature the tapered edges (like the MBA and the 3G iPhone). aluminium, black plastic and glass are the current materials of choice...
  • Reply 9 of 9
    kingstonkingston Posts: 24member
    That's one of the things I find curious about Apple. Over the past year, maybe 2, they've created 2, semi-strict languages distinct from each other for their products. The main ones, the Macs, the iPods, and the iPhone, have gone with the non white, metallic, non plastic trend, but all their other products, their peripherals, base stations, exc. have remained firmly with the, dare I say, old white plastic look.

    You know, now that I come to think about it, Apple never seems to have had a coherent, widely applicable design language for all their products for what feels a while now. Who know, maybe its the new trend, chic complete randomness individuality all different design llanguage? I hear it's gonna be really hot this year!
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