Is Apple worthy of reverence?by Will Self / December 12, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
Jony Ive’s 1998 iMac: “Apple launched a crusade to convert the entire planet to their faith that in simplicity lies the ultimate sophistication” ©The Advertising Archives
Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products
by Leander Kahney (Portfolio, £14.95)
Quoting his subject’s words at the head of the chapter on the design and development of Apple’s iPhone, Leander Kahney makes Jony Ive sound oracular: “When we are at these early stages in design… often we’ll talk about the story for the product—we’re talking about perception. We’re talking about how you feel about the product, not in a physical sense, but in a perceptual sense.” Throughout his biography of Apple’s design magus for nigh on the past two decades, Kahney comes at Ive’s notion of the “narrative” of a product time and again, but it’s this formulation that most closely approaches the metaphysical, seemingly suggesting that all those iMacs, PowerBooks, iPods and iPads that Ive has been responsible for mind-birthing should be considered not as mere phenomena, but actual noumena; for, what else can he mean by “perceptual”—as distinct from “physical”—if not some apprehension of how the iPhone is in itself, freed from the capacitive touch of our fingers?
You may find this rather too high-flown for a mobile phone—or a laptop, or a tablet computer for that matter—but when it comes to Apple and its products the sky is no limit: in 2012, the company founded 36 years earlier in the garage of a Californian bungalow by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, reached a market capitalisation of $660bn, surpassing the record set by Microsoft in 1999 and making it the most valuable publicly-trade…