How Steve Jobs Influenced Modern, High-Tech Design
The new Steve Jobs film from British director Danny Boyle has got me thinking about how Apple Inc. has impacted the design world in ways both subtle and striking.
Though the film doesn’t exactly valorize Jobs, who pop culture lore has painted as notoriously dismissive and reportedly unkind to both his staff and his own daughter, it does show the single-minded effort and dedication required to inspire a technology revolution. Whatever you think of the man — and the film, of which I had mixed feelings — Steve Jobs has had a profound influence on the way we live our lives.
Apple products like the iPhone, Mac, iPad and the Apple Watch have transformed design and influenced countless industries either directly, as they incorporate the technology into their businesses, or aesthetically, as they adopt the clean, minimalist style that Apple has popularized.
Steve Jobs’ brilliance was recognizing the enormous sway design has in endearing a product to consumers. The whole iPhone, iPad suite has made our personal technology into a practically huggable BFF.
Design and experience are interconnected, Apple has taught us, and so Boyle’s film makes a big deal of the importance for Jobs of his Macintosh saying a humanoid “Hello” for its public debut. It was an effort to make technology human and lovable, something Apple did and does so well with its warm-blooded, super-squishy modernism.
Inspired by the opening of Steve Jobs, I took a stroll down design lane to ponder the massive design influence of Apple on everything from the funky minimalism of the Yotel hotel in New York City’s Times Square where I will soon be resting my head...
The spare, futuristic lobby of New York City's Yotel—inspired in part by Japanese capsule hotels—with its self-service Ground Control kiosks and Yobot robot that stores guests' luggage, embraces the future-is-now, clean, streamlined aesthetic that Apple has popularized.
Shoyu restaurant in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport uses an ordering system on iPads anchored to each table, using technology to streamline and add novelty to the dining experience. In addition, guests can check email, surf the web and check their flight status from the dedicated iPads at each table.
...to the super cool Japanese restaurant Shoyu I dined at while passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport recently that transformed the drudgery of airport dining into a high-tech, iPad enabled treat.
Tired of the pesky details of interfacing with real people? Technology like computer-assisted check-ins and iPad menus mean human beings have been streamlined out of the equation. All those sci-fi scare films like 2001: A Space Odyssey about technology replacing human beings may be coming true, only we are too madly in love with our devices to even notice, or care.
Now comes the debut, this September, of a San Francisco restaurant described as the “Uber of restaurants” by “USA Today.” Eatsa is a sleek 21st century automat that allows customers to order up meals on iPads and have them delivered into sleek glass boxes, no human intervention needed. The whole less-is-more Apple design philosophy has now streamlined the act of eating, creating a high-tech experience out of the search for sustenance.
The fully-automated, high-tech San Francisco restaurant Eatsa is a modern spin on the automat. The restaurant features iPads on which customers order meat-free meals which are then delivered to small glass compartments so that customers can order, receive their meal and eat without interfacing with a single human being.
Beyond how the minimalist look of both Apple’s devices and retail stores has influenced the hotel and restaurant sphere, it’s hard not to see Apple’s sway on so many other aspects of design, from the ultimate iPhone accessory for your ears, Beats by Dre, to the cool, high-tech fabrics and look of athletic-wear and sportswear from companies like Nike and Moncler.
Beats By Dre
Even before the $3 billion acquisition of Beats By Dre by Apple Inc. the influence of Apple design on the company's iconic headphones seemed clear. The Solo2 headphones, pictured here, would be the perfect audio accessory to round out your Apple iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch family.
And every time I visit IKEA (weekly), I can’t help but marvel at the design syncronicity between the sleek, covetable glossy white products at this Swedish housewares store and the equally desirable latest Apple technology. Add IKEA’s line of Wireless Charging Collection furniture—lamps, nightstands—to the mix, and it’s clear we have reached a golden age where technology and design are now one and the same.
The Swedish furniture giant IKEA's line of wireless charging furniture including floor lamps and nightstands, acknowledges the influence of technology in everyday life. With its spare, white surfaces, the wireless charging line is also stylistically compatible with Apple style, even if iPhone users have to purchase a Vitahult iPhone case with Qi adaptor to charge their phones.
And there’s more to come. Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer and designer of the iPad, iPhone and MacBook is working on the first ever Apple car.
I personally can’t wait for my first Apple stove, Apple fridge and Apple bedroom set…