Log­ging Off

Micro Mart - - Contetnts - Mark Pick­a­vance

There’s a fine line be­tween those com­pa­nies that gen­er­ate overblown mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als and the true ego­tists that ac­tu­ally be­lieve it. The irony is that those who gen­er­ally pro­mote the no­tion that they’re chang­ing the world usu­ally aren’t and those who don’t of­ten are.

Take, for ex­am­ple, the late Matti Makko­nen, who in­vented SMS mes­sag­ing, who didn’t think his in­ven­tion was patentable and so never ap­plied for one. And at the other end of the spec­trum is Ap­ple, which has tried to patent rec­tan­gles with curved cor­ners, and which thinks ev­ery­thing it makes is ‘amaz­ing’. That’s not to say that Ap­ple hasn’t made the odd world-chang­ing de­vice, but the idea that ev­ery­thing it’s made cre­ates an epochal mo­ment just doesn’t stand up to much scru­tiny. I’ve never ac­tu­ally at­tended an Ap­ple event, mostly be­cause it does them in the USA these days, but also be­cause it never ac­tu­ally in­vites me. The ones I’ve watched out­line why I prob­a­bly wouldn’t feel com­fort­able there even if I did at­tend. Tthe re­la­tion­ship be­tween the tech press and Ap­ple in the US isn’t one I recog­nise, with the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of the fawn­ing the BBC lav­ishes on it. Loud whoop­ing and clap­ping ac­com­pany each re­veal and state­ment like at­ten­dees are play­ing some type of buzz­word bingo – one where one more ‘in­cred­i­ble’ com­pletes a line and wins them a prize! I saw some­thing sim­i­lar at the re­cent Mi­crosoft event, where it an­nounced the Sur­face Stu­dio, though I be­lieve it had only in­vited about 100 to 150 jour­nal­ists, and the rest of the whoop­ers were ‘Win­dows fans’ – if that’s a be­liev­able la­bel in this age. These days, I watch these things with more than a hint of in­credulity, mostly as to what Panos Panay, Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive have been drink­ing be­fore they take to the stage to ad­dress their faith­ful. But even by these stan­dards, Ap­ple has ex­ceeded its re­mark­ably high stan­dards for self-con­grat­u­la­tion. Hav­ing fallen so deeply in love with it­self, it re­cently pub­lished a very per­sonal book, a 300-page love let­ter of sorts, de­tail­ing it proud­est de­sign mo­ments. ‘De­signed by Ap­ple in Cal­i­for­nia’ comes in two sizes, a larger 13” x 16.3” tome for $299 and a handy 10.2” x 12.8” edi­tion for $100 less. In­side are 450 gor­geously crafted images of Ap­ple prod­ucts on spe­cially milled Ger­man pa­per, hard­back linen cov­ers with a special

in­tro­duc­tion by the breath­less Jony Ive. “It is both a tes­ta­ment and a trib­ute to the metic­u­lous de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods that are sin­gu­larly Ap­ple.”

Wow. In an in­ter­view with Dazed, Jony Ive states that cre­at­ing this book was a ‘re­spon­si­bil­ity’, Ap­ple had no choice in doc­u­ment­ing its jour­ney and that it had taken eight years to cre­ate it. In mak­ing it avail­able it had, in Ive’s words, created “a re­source for stu­dents of all de­sign dis­ci­plines.”

I should point out that Nar­cis­sus (the Greek mytho­log­i­cal char­ac­ter who name the word ‘nar­cis­sist’ is de­rived from) was too ob­sessed to patent the con­cept, so there won’t be any is­sue with Ap­ple re­brand­ing it as en­tirely as its own idea.

We can only hope the mar­ket for a $300 book declar­ing Ap­ple’s un­lim­ited scope for self im­por­tance is small and the print run long. And that all the un­sold copies are sent to Jony Ive’s home where he can lux­u­ri­ate in his own cre­ative bril­liance. Some­how I’ve re­sisted the urge to order a copy.

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