Apple employee reveals the company’s design process begins at a kitchen table

Macworld Australia Staff
1 August, 2012
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Testifying as the first witness in the patent trial between Apple vs. Samsung, Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer has revealed the company employs a team of 15 or 16 people that fashion all of its products, often gathering around a kitchen tablet to discuss projects under development.

“We’ll sit there with our sketch books and trade ideas,” Stringer said. “That’s where the really hard, brutal honest criticism comes in.”

Then, the team input the sketches into a computer design program and, if successful, build a physical model.

“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,” Stringer explained.

Stringer also testified that often the team would often come up with 50 different designs for a single button, he added. “We’re a pretty maniacal group of people,” he said.

The designer said he believes it is this process that created top Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad. He also reiterated Apple’s view that the iPhone was an original design, built to “wow” consumers, because the company was new to the smartphone market

Stringer, who joined Apple in 1995 and works under direction from Design Chief Jony Ive, also noted that he had been involved with every major product release since he had been with the company.

Apple is currently seeking US$2.5 billion in damages from Samsung for patent infringements on its iPhone and iPad designs that it says Samsung has profited unfairly from. Samsung, meanwhile, are also seeking damages arguing that the opposition’s case is built on the assumption that the iPhone is completely original and not inspired from competitor designs – a statement it believes is false.


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