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Appledesign: The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group Paperback – October 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Graphis Inc; First Edition edition (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888001259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888001259
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.8 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This oversized, coffee-table volume is devoted to the industrial design of every product made at Apple Computer over the course of 20 years. Lavishly illustrated with over 400 large color photographs by photographer Rick English, the book transforms the plastic cases, LCD displays, and disk drives from old Apple IIcs, Lisas, Macs, PowerBooks, and Newtons (and a few technologies that never made it to the street) into objects of fine art. The book's attention to detail, even in the small peripherals, such as the stylus of the Newton--the ubiquitous round stick-on microphone that ships with the Mac--contributes to the technological identity of the Apple brand.

Remember that 20 years ago, when you walked into a campus computing center or office building, you could distinguish an Apple system from an IBM system from across a room. The early IBM PCs were box-shaped--as close to pure squares and rectangles as possible--and buttoned down with garters on the socks like the Big Blue executives who sold them to the world as business machines. In contrast, the physical design of the Apple machines has always represented the company's "alternative" (and borderline arrogant) mindset, appealing to the more artistic user and fueling the left-versus-right-brain debates. In addition to the packaging of the machine, the Mac's graphical user interface and Motorola CPUs provided the artistic cover by which this innovative book could safely be judged.

Today other computer companies casually imitate the technofuturistic curvedness of the once-almost-shocking Apple design. Much like how the set of the movie Blade Runner has influenced many films that followed it, the industrial design of Apple machines continues to shape other companies' computer designs. AppleDesign is interesting both as an historical document and an artistic appreciation of these designs.


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Customer Reviews

Although this sounds very simple, the end result falls short.
Mr. A. Pomeroy
For anyone who has grown up with an Apple ][ or an early Macintosh, this is a fascinating insight into the computers we've grown to love.
John Rotenstein
If you love Sony and other excellent industrial design, then you'll love this book.
David Greelish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book showing the evolution of Apple's industrial design. Apple is the only company whose industrial design is worth such a book. The history is interesting, and it's fascinating to see how designs evolve.
There are two problems with this book which caused me to give it only 3 stars. The first is that it desperately needs a copy editor. The spelling and grammar errors would be unacceptable from a college freshman. Several times, a reference to a picture gives the wrong plate number. I expect much better from a book on excellent design.
A minor gripe is that it's not clear who the intended audience is. Some technical terms are defined (though for the lay audience it would help to have a couple of pictures to illustrate terms), but many are not. As a lay reader, there were ideas I just didn't get, even as I appreciated the beauty of the work they described.
If these two problems were fixed, I would give it 5 stars.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Rotenstein on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
* Have you ever wondered why there's so many horizontal lines on a Macintosh case?
* Would you believe that Apple was the first company to move a laptop keyboard to the top (which other companies now emulate), yet they almost didn't go ahead with it?
* Or did you realise that a LaserWriter II is exactly the same size as a Macintosh IIfx?
Unlike other written histories of Apple Computer which concentrate on Jobs & Sculley, this is a history of the computers themselves.
For anyone who has grown up with an Apple ][ or an early Macintosh, this is a fascinating insight into the computers we've grown to love. You'll learn how design is just as important as the MacOS when it comes to selling a computer.
The book starts with the Apple //c era, and covers all Macs up to the Quadra, plus printers, screens and the Newton. Unfortunately, it was produced prior to the iMac.
Apple enthusiasts should buy or borrow a copy just to re-live the history. Design students should read it cover-to-cover to learn both good design and the politics of design philosophies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By thomasu@dga.com on April 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
The other reviews here already cover the important content issues and the fact that a document such as this is a godsend in so many ways. As a lover of both Apple technology and great ID, I've found it impossible to put this book down. However, I'd just like to put in my .02 that this book is BADLY in need of a copy editor and a second edition. I'd be able to forgive the technical errors (e.g., stating that the Quadra 9X0s share the Quadra 800's form factor) if it weren't for typos and "write-os" ON EVERY SINGLE PAGE! It's as though they ran spell check, pressed Command-P, and never looked at the copy again. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to be able to finish this book, the copy quality being as embarassingly bad as it is. I've finally settled on pretending that I've been sent a galley, and that all the errors will be excised before the "real" version ships. One other gripe, then I'm done: A lot of the photos were scanned at too low a resolution to be used at the sizes in which they appear. There are noticeable "stair-stepping" patterns on many of the pieces, particularly when the "Snow White" striping appears at an angle. I could do a better job on my home Mac (maybe they used a PC, who knows). ;-) Anyway, the book still rocks, you should buy it right now, etc. But if you're one of those annoying people like me who expect Apple-like quality in things like editing, you've been warned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eli Goldberg on January 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Detailed, rich history of Apple's industrial design.
Given the effort that this book signified, I was very surprised at the hundreds of typos, and many other factual/historical errors which reduce Appledesign's credibility as a definitive reference.
This book deserves a second edition, with better editing & fact-checking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Baret on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
While this book doesn't include anything made in the past several years, it does have detailed descriptions of how the older Macs came to be. It's a large book and full of photographs as well as detailed text explanations. I got mine in September 2001 and regularly study it from time to time. Every time I read it I learn something new.

This book isn't for the Apple novice, nor is it for someone who simply uses computers. The ones who appreciate this book are those who have used Macs for years (I've used them since April 1989) and appreciate them not just as machines but as a little more. As a computer technician since 1992, I have come across nearly every model in this book and have liked many of them (in particular the Macintosh 512K and Macintosh Classic) so much that I've acquired some. With this book it shows how each computer came to be. Mac IIsi owners, past and present, may be surprised to know that the name IIsi was on a few other concepts before being applied to the pizza box 20Mhz machine that it grew into when it came out in October 1990. This is just one example of what this book is like.

Supposedly this one's hard to find. True Apple enthusiasts will look for one.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Pomeroy on August 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Appledesign disappointed me. It feels like an in-house corporate history that has been expanded into a coffee table book. The bulk of it consists of photographs of Apple's products, preproduction models, and design ideas, and there is a lengthy and very dry written history of Apple's design work. The book does not deal with the technical makeup of Apple's computers, it is solely about the boxes they came in.

Although this sounds very simple, the end result falls short. The photographs and text concentrate heavily on design concepts from the mid to late 1980s, almost to the exclusion of all else. The Apple 2, Lisa and original Macintosh are barely covered. The Macintosh is almost designed "off-page", and there is one single solitary photograph of an original Apple Mac; a stock photograph that you have seen before. In contrast, concepts for the Apple Newton are spread leisurely over half a dozen pages. The book has a lot of design concepts which simply aren't as good as the finished product, and mid-80s / early-90s Apple computers were visually very dull anyway.

And then there's the text. Lots of it near the start, not so much later on. It's a very dry, corporate history of Apple's design, full of projects and companies with DoubleWords and e. e. cummings-esque lower-case text. The designer of the original Mac, Jerry Manock, is briefly mentioned near the beginning. Steve Wozniak, who designed the Apple 2 hardware and was one of the company's founders, is eliminated by page 14. He does not appear in the cast of characters at the end, although minor design assistants do, and Steve Jobs appears twice (he had just rejoined the company when the book was published). The only designer whose name I remember is Hartmut Esslinger, who comes across badly.
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