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Jason Fried on the design of the iPhone and the new iMac

By  Aug 8, 2007

Topics: Apple, iPhone

Jason Fried over at 37 Signals posted some interesting thoughts on the influence of the iPhone on the design of the new iMac.

His basic premise is this:

The iPhone design has influenced the new iMac design just as the widescreen iPod influenced the previous iMac design

Alas, here Jason and I part company.

I seriously doubt that the design of the new iMac is derived from that of the iPhone in any way. I can’t believe that one crew of designers toiled away in splendid isolation to create the iPhone, then a member of the iMac crew wandered by and said, “Hey doodz! That’s so kewl! We gotta use aluminum on the iMac!!!”

I’m certain that both products are conceived as part of an overall design strategy that’s been in the works for many months, and that we probably will see more black-and-aluminum products in the future. In fact, look carefully at the screenshots of Leopard on Apple's Web site. It’s got the same shiny black Apple menu icon that you see on the front of the new iMac.

The fact that the iPhone came out a few weeks before the new iMac is purely an accident, not evidence of influence.

Oh, and for you folks who don’t like the new iMac design—I suggest that you withhold judgment until you’ve actually seen one. There have been other Ive designs that have left me cold until I saw them in person and then—Wow! Apple folks have a real feel for materials, the way they interact with the ambient light in a room, and how the different materials used within a product relate to each other. Theirs is a subtle beauty that can’t completely be captured in photographs.

(Thanks to John Gruber for the original link.)