An era will officially close when Apple's Chief Designer, Jony Ive, walks out of the Apple Park campus to sit on the leadership chair at his newly established design company, LoveFrom.
Ive and his team of industrial designers have brought to the world many iconic products, including iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch for over 20 years.
These are devices that have changed the world. But in many ways, Ive's obsession with creating products with the most minimalist design has caused a lot of discomfort for users. Instead of harmoniously balanced products of form and function, in the past few years, Apple products have had to accept trade-offs too much.
Although many people will see that Ive left Apple as a bad signal – "No one can match the natural talent of Steve Jobs and Ive. Apple is dead! "- But it can be seen that this is also an opportunity for the company to open a new chapter with more practical devices. Those are familiar devices, but more suitable for different types of users, helped Apple grow into one of the world's most valuable companies.
Certainly Apple, without Ive, will not produce a series of silly new devices the way they did in the late 1980s and early 1990s under former CEO John Sculley. And don't think that Ive's influence will suddenly disappear overnight.
However, Apple industrial designers are at the threshold where they can get out of Ive's shadow and focus on improving existing products by breaking the rules that the chief designer Never give up.
Next generation iPhone
A thicker iPhone but no convex camera would be great
A decade since its official launch, Apple's most revolutionary product is currently facing attacks on every aspect. Not only does the iPhone face a single rival, Samsung, but in front of Apple is a powerful army, especially from China (Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo …).
Sales of iPhones began to stagnate because selling prices became too high, hardware became too good to exceed 2 years as before, and Android rivals are introducing more exciting improvements such as displays. Non-rabbit ears, no perforated, fingerprint sensor under the screen, and the camera is capable of super wide-angle shooting and powerful night photography.
Meanwhile, the iPhone – with super products like iPhone XR / XS / XS Max – is lagging behind. New iPhones this year are expected to retain their design, but there is an extra-wide-angle camera set in a rather large square convex camera cluster.
New software and services, faster performance, and improved cameras, all are great features, but consumers want the changes to be visible on their iPhones.
Under Ive, the iPhone has "dieted" and became too fragile to turn 6 – the result is that the bendgate scandal we all know. Gradually, the iPhone has thickened through new models, from 6.9mm on iPhone 6 to 8.3mm on iPhone XR.
Strangely enough, the number of iPhone XR users seems more than iPhone XS or XS Max. Not to mention most people to put the device into the panel or bring the spare battery / backup charging case. That means people don't care if the phone is a bit thicker, in return there will be more buffering battery or the camera cluster does not come out. If smart, Apple's industrial design team should consider those factors when embarking on iPhone design in the future.
We have heard that iPhone can switch to USB-C. Under Ive, that hasn't happened yet. With USB-C, users don't need to carry their own iPhone cables. While it is unlikely that Apple will give up its huge profits from the sale of Lightning technology licenses to third-party companies, a thicker iPhone – even 1 or 2 mm – will There is more space to fit the USB-C port. USB-C will give iPhone similar functions to the iPad, such as connecting to external displays and USB-C flash drives.
A new, smaller iPhone, with a rabbit-earless display and Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the screen, will be competitive with Android phones with the same features. Ming-Chi Kuo analyst confirmed that a 5.4-inch iPhone screen will appear in 2020, and an analyst at Credit Suisse said Apple is developing a fingerprint sensor under the screen despite the link. Face ID is better and is a more natural biometric system for iPhone.
In terms of design, it would be great if the future iPhone has a square edge like the iPad Pro, bringing back the glorious days of iPhone 5 / 5S / SE.
MacBook and iMac future
Get rid of Touch Bar, add a touch screen and bring the memory card slot back to MacBook!
The death of the MacBook 12-inch has many implications for future Apple laptops. This is an opportunity for the company to remove the controversial butterfly keyboard over the years and switch back to the keyboard with a longer key stroke. Similarly, Apple can remove the Touch Bar and bring back the function keys, while keeping Touch ID inside the power button like on the MacBook Air.
Like the iPhone, users will not care about Apple creating slightly heavier and heavier MacBook Air and Pro to get a touchscreen, higher resolution webcam with Face ID, memory card slot, and MagSafe charging head. These features will help MacBook better compete with stout competitors like Surface Laptop 2 and Google Pixelbook.
And if Apple accepts to make the MacBook a little thicker, why not make internal components like hard drives, RAM, and batteries replaceable? Welding SSD and RAM is a reasonable solution when it comes to thin, lightweight machines, but makes them extremely poor in upgrades and repairs, and also creates more e-waste.
The iMac deserves a major overhaul. It has been 7 years since the last time it was redesigned.
The iMac can also be overhauled after Ive left. Its current design hasn't changed since 2012. As a desktop – a machine that doesn't move much – Apple has a lot of space to create.
Who is the iMac for? People want it to do what it currently cannot do? Designers will love an iMac with features borrowed from Microsoft's Surface Studio 2 and capable of becoming a drawing board. The multi-touch screen combined with Apple Pencil support and a stand that can tilt many angles are ideas that Apple should consider.
In terms of design, Apple can use the Retina screen with a thinner border, much like the upcoming Pro Display XDR screen, and somehow to narrow the iMac's famous "chin".
Signing in with Face ID, Magic Mouse mouse can both charge and use, and the replacement hard drive and RAM, or even a rotating screen like Pro Display XDR will be elements that redefine iMacs to an all-in-one computer of the future.
Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and more
There is not much to improve on the Apple Watch. Integrate a camera below the screen like the camera that Oppo introduced on their phones, to serve FaceTime calls, which will turn the Apple Watch into a "destroyer".
Apple TV can become a console game that should have become, accompanied by the gamepad designed by Apple itself – a perfectly reasonable change if you remember the Apple Arcade gaming service will be officially released. eyes in autumn this year. The Siri Remote of Apple TV can also be tweaked, slightly changed the design so that users can distinguish which side is the bottom, which side is the top.
It is difficult to know how Apple will turn the situation after the HomePod slips. Perhaps a smaller and cheaper version, or a screen-based version like Google Nest Hub will make a difference?
The sky is probably the only limit for the industrial design team Ive left at Apple. Of course, they should not be too reckless and follow Samsung's footsteps, launching new iPhones and MacBooks with untested technologies like folding screens, or even a rumored AR glass. What they should do is promote practical features – real users' needs – to put them higher on the priority list, and we'll see a new era in history. Apple, a period in which Apples is no longer known to "ignore users" anymore.