How an Industrial Designer Became Apple’s Greatest Product →

FEBRUARY 24, 2015

Ian Parker for The New Yorker:

Ive had been in charge for two and a half years when the iMac appeared, in the summer of 1998. Jobs later took much of the credit for its conception, although most other accounts, including Ive’s, suggest that the studio had come up with something quite like the iMac before his return. According to Ive, Jobs said, “Make it lickable.” (Craig Federighi, the senior vice-president of software engineering, attended a meeting where executives were shown a late iMac prototype. “Jony was showing off the case,” he recalled. “Steve was poking at the seams, and turning to Jony: ‘Maybe we could do something with the edge.’ ”) The computer’s design had the giddiness of a pardoned prisoner. At Braun, Dieter Rams had relieved consumer electronics of the need to pose as furniture. A radio could be a box. Apple’s instinct, at this moment, was to do the reverse: to domesticate a machine still largely associated with technical tasks and the workplace. (A few years earlier, in a concept design for an all-in-one computer, Ive had hidden its screen behind credenza doors, which is about as close as hardware comes to a quacking ringtone.) The computer, first sold in food-dye blue, had a handle, and curves that cheerfully acknowledged its unwieldy main component, a cathode-ray tube.