Thoughtful design has always been at the core of Apple’s product development.
Steve Jobs was especially keen on making products that are clean, friendly, and above all simple to use – a set of principles that has often separated Apple’s products from the rest.
- Apple’s fascination with detail presents itself in subtle ways throughout the company’s product line, from the Mac to the iPhone and Apple Watch.
- Here’s a look at our favorite design elements that highlight the company’s close attention to detail.
“It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions,” Jobs said according to the Smithsonian Magazine.
Apple’s attention to detail is present throughout the company’s product line, from the way the case for your AirPods snaps shut to subtle flourishes in the iPhone’s software. Here are our favorite design elements that highlight the company’s fixation with detail.
The way your AirPods case effortlessly snaps shut:
Ever notice how the case for your AirPods snaps shut with just a subtle flick? Or how the individual buds just seem to slip into place the moment you drop the earbuds’ stem into its corresponding slot?
Those details were very carefully thought-out during the design process, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s famed chief design officer, said in an interview with GQ. Here’s what he said to the outlet in reference to Apple’s approach when developing its AirPods:
” There is color and form and the overall sort of architecture, but then those more difficult-to-define and concept behaviors, like the noise of a click and the force of a magnet that draws something closed. . . I mean, for example, one of the things that we struggled with was the way that the case orients the AirPod as you put them in. I love those details, that you’ve had no idea how fabulously we got that wrong, for so long, as we were designing and developing it.”
A “breathing” sleep light:
Apple has a patent dating back to 2002 for a “Breathing Status LED Indicator.” The patent describes a “blinking effect of the sleep-mode indicator [that] mimics the rhythm of breathing which is psychologically appealing.”
A smart fan that listens:
When engaging Siri on Mac laptops, Apple automatically slows the internal fan speed to better hear your voice.
The flashlight icon that switches on and off:
Next time you use your iPhone’s handy flashlight function, take a closer look that icon after you tap it. The power switch on the tiny flashlight symbol in the Control Center actually toggles on and off depending on whether the feature is in use.
Watch the light’s travel in Maps:
If you select the satellite view in Apple’s Maps app and zoom far enough out, you’ll be able to see the sun’s light as it moves in real-time across the Earth.
The way your digital Apple Card will change color based on your spending habits:
If you sign up for Apple’s soon-to-be-released credit card, you might notice that the digital version of the card changes color every so often. That’s because the colors shown on the card are designed to match up with your spending habits.
Apple color codes the purchases made on your Apple Card and organizes them in a graph. Food and drink purchases, for example, will appear as orange in the graph, while pink represents entertainment.
But those colors appear elsewhere besides the graph, too. The gradient colors on the card shown in the image above will change depending on what you’ve purchased. If you dined out more often than usual this month, for example, the digital card shown in the app might look more orange.
A sharp-eyed Redditor first noticed this detail.
The way the glass canopies at Apple Park are slightly curved to deflect rain:
Apple’s new “spaceship” campus, which opened in 2017, is as big a testament to the company’s design prowess as any of its consumer products.
The company took great care to think through the details of the new campus’ appearance. Foster + Partners, the architecture studio the company hired for the project, as well as Apple’s designers intentionally curved the ring-shaped building’s glass canopies so that rain would roll off the surface, as Wired reported. That design ensures that water doesn’t pool on the glass and cause streaks.
“Imagine if you made that mistake, and so you had this building with miles of glass but it would be water-streaked because you didn’t get the design of the canopy right!” Apple’s Jony Ive said to Wired.
The smart caps on Apple’s laptops:
Try tapping the “Caps Lock” button on your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, and you might notice that nothing happens. That’s because Caps Lock will only turn on if you hold the key for a bit longer – a preventive measure to accommodate accidental keystrokes.
The blooming flowers on your Apple Watch:
The animated wallpapers on the Apple Watch aren’t computer generated – they’re actual photographs. The company spent hundreds of hours filming flowers blooming over time to create its motion watch face for the Apple Watch.
“I think the longest one took us 285 hours, and over 24,000 shots,” Alan Dye, Apple’s chief of human interface design, told Wired.
Apple used to have an Apple-shaped bookmark icon, or “favicon,” for saving your favorite websites. Before Apple removed the icon in later versions of Safari, it used to show only half of the Apple icon on the anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, symbolizing Apple being at half-mast in remembrance.