Good Reads for September, 2014

8276189470_3820247c8c_oEvery month, we’ll be bringing you no more than a handful of slightly longer — but always worthy of your time and attention — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. This is Good Reads.

  • I’ve been waiting months for something about the most photographed location in New York to pop up, and last month, it finally did. The untold story of how the Apple Store cube landed in Midtown tells the story of how that giant glass cube came to be.

“The point of the meeting,” Shannon recalled, “was that Steve wanted to show Harry what his vision was for that site. We got there and they had this beautiful wood model of the building and plaza, and there’s this 40‐by‐40‐foot glass cube in the middle of the plaza. And Harry knew immediately that that was the right answer.”

  • With September’s many product announcements came many think-pieces on Apple strategy, particularly concerning Apple’s new wearable product category. Over at Medium, Felix Salmon writes Apple hasn’t solved the smartwatch dilemma, arguing it’s simultaneously more and less than a watch.

It’s the Less Is More company, yet the Apple Watch is overloaded with features. It pays for things! It measures your heartbeat! It controls your TV! It stores your airline boarding pass! It can show you a picture of where you are on the planet, in glorious high-def Retina resolution! Etc, etc.

  • You could say Apple has come to accept smartphones have evolved beyond their original sizes, and over at Engadget, that’s exactly what Jon Fingas is saying. There’s no question the main purpose of phones has changed since the unveiling of the original iPhone back in 2007, so the iPhone kind of had to change, too.

Jobs paid attention to web browsing, video and other tasks that benefit from a “really big” screen, but he was also proud of how well the iPhone fit in the hand and played Beatles albums. As far as the company was concerned, a 3.5-inch display was the sweet spot for everything, whether it was the mobile web or calling home.

  • But for all the innovation Apple’s larger iPhones bring to the table, there are those that argue Apple design has become, well, boring. After all, how many times can you iterate on a rectangular shaped slab of aluminium and glass? Fast Company Design says we’re lost in a boring sea of glass and metal gadgets.

Thus, holding all other products up against Apple’s own represented a convenient and safe way for reviewers to jump into the design conversation without fully grasping the fundamentals. And the last five or six years have had one dominant tone: Apple design is good, and the more a gadget looks and feels like an Apple product, the better it is. This maybe simplifies the sentiment, but I think it’s still accurate.

This morning’s header image of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store from Flickr user Adam Fagen. CC by NC.

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