“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.
“And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”
How about you started focusing as much on improving labor practices that you do on bringing great design to people?
That war chest Apple is sitting on would do well by being spent on building their own factories that adhere to the high standards they demand from their workers in Cupertino.
I know the world is complex, but I don’t see how Apple couldn’t tackle the problems that are outlined in this article by thinking different about the way products are built.
That could be Tim Cook’s most significant contribution as the new CEO to the way Apple works.
(On a side note, it’s articles like these that make New York Times the only newspaper I have ever paid real, hard money for subscribing to.)
(Sometimes I feel arguing on Twitter is like doing surgery while wearing boxing gloves. It has to be swift and precise, but ends up being generalizing and messy.)
There was also a fantastic piece of reporting from New York Times on why Apple gets their products manufactored in China:
“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”
The speed and agility of mass-scale production is unprecendented, and can’t be done anywhere else. And yes, it hurts the American middle class who used to have jobs at plants like these. “Apple, America and a squeezed middle class” is this week’s by far best long-form article.
In geo-political news, “The Israeli-based company G-Max Security makes a “buried cable intrusion detection sensor” that is “totally concealed and operates effectively under any type of surface,” from open fields and highways to mountains, snow, and ice.”Security geotextile is the word we’re looking for.
If you’re working with internet-stuff and like to draw something up quickly in HTML and CSS, Twitter’s Bootstrap is pretty fucking cool. It helps me turn Fireworks comps into a clickable prototype in literally a day. Mark Otto from Twitter wrote a bit about how it came to be, and what to expect from the next edition.
“You, guy,” he said to my boyfriend across the table. “It’s not fair. You bring this girl here. It’s not fair.” We asked why not. “Because all women who come to conferences should be available,” he replied.
Because US politics isn’t nearly fucked up enough, Stephen Colbert is dragging its lifeless corpse through the streets for everyone to mock.
The most interesting thing I learned from my impromptou experience was the power of nonsense spoken with conviction. I found that with just 5-10 unique stories or data points on a category (e.g. “transportation”), I could string together a compelling argument for almost any question. It wasn’t important that I believed what I was saying, or even that my arguments were consistent across questions. In fact, I would frequently use a single anecdote or data point multiple times in a single day to argue completely opposite things–and as the judges were different for each question, my shifting opinions were no problem.
That’s why, in a sense, some of the iPad comparisons and cavils you may read today in the hands-on reviews of Fire are somewhat irrelevant in light of this larger issue. Yes, the Fire lacks the industrial-design pyrotechnics that make fanboys foam at the mouth like the iPad does. But who cares? Like a lizard shedding its skin, next year there will be another Fire and in three years the original will look as antiquated as the bizarre-looking Kindle 1 appears today. When you pay $199 for Fire, you’re not buying a gadget—you’re filing citizen papers for the digital duchy of Amazonia.
I’m sure Amazon will sell a nice amount of Kindle Fires, but I really don’t buy the argument that no one cares about wonky navigation and stuttering playback, if they are just given a golden ticket to lots of movies and books by The DoucheDuke of Amazon.
Apple has currently set the bar for tablets, and they set it damn high. Either do something better, or something else.
I am troubled by the devaluing of the word ‘design’. I find myself now being somewhat embarrassed to be called a designer. In fact I prefer the German term, Gestalt-Ingenieur. Apple and Vitsoe are relatively lone voices treating the discipline of design seriously in all corners of their businesses. They understand that design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession; and for our future welfare we need more companies to take that profession seriously.
I like the word “Gestalt-Ingeneiur” but love that he underlines the importance of taking design seriously.
Now, in 2011, Apple is set to become the world’s most valuable company full stop, overtaking the current leader, oil multinational ExxonMobil.
Well-designed products set at a price that a lot of people are willing to pay makes for a very successful recipe. I only wish more companies would acknowledge this fact. Especially in the digital space.
It will feature a new design, which I’m not sure I agree with the necessity of. The reason for doing this might be that all of the bad press they got from “Antennagate” (the most retarded discussion of all time) will be turned into something positive: Showing that Apple listened to the feedback and changed the design (albeit unnecessarily from a design and technology standpoint).
However, what is most interesting about RWW’s article are the acquisitions Apple have made over the past year or more, and how they might fit into the design:
The whole article is worth reading, if only to get a reasonable take on how the future might be shaped for the iPhone (disregard the last paragraph about whether Tim Cook can take over for Steve in the presentation—he’s done it before, and he’ll do it again, I’m sure).
I already use the iPhone for looking up trivia about the movie I’m watching, what the food I’m eating is good for and what’s the story about that building I walk past every day. Being able to get even closer to the relevant information instantly (“that’s a great song on the radio—let me listen to it again”) will only make it much more of a Metadata Machine.