Is Gizmodo anti-design?

Gizmodo: "Apple acknowledges the iPhone 4’s reception problems. Their solution: Hold it differently or buy a case. But if this is an Apple design problem, they should fix it for real or give out cases for free… We have evidence that proves that the iPhone 4 antenna problem was caused by an internal cultural problem at Apple, one that plagues more than just the iPhone 4, but the iPad and probably future Apple products as well.

A source in Apple’s engineering team tells us that the kind of reception issues found in the iPhone 4 are a symptom of an internal issue that’s been going on for a while—extremely inflexible mandates around the industrial design of products during their development."


It is like anything that becomes unbalanced. Product development is a process that is a collective endeavour. Everyone needs to respect the other disciplines in the process. If one discipline becomes more dominant over the others, stuff like this happens.

So, with that in mind, shame on Apple for forgetting this and pushing through a technology product based purely on aesthetics. This is no better than Marketing pumping 50 useless features in a product “just to sell more product”.

First off, Gizmodo is the Fox News of the technology world.

Second, Apple didn’t know about the antenna issue until the product was released, nor could they have known in light of their situation. They never purposefully pushed the iphone 4’s design with knowledge of that issue. Just because the iphone 4’s form is beautiful doesn’t give anyone the right to accuse them of making aesthetics their only priority.

Three word precedent.

One button mouse.

User compliant adaptation in favor of a clean aesthetic is an Apple corporate expectation and tradition. Experience has shown that the Apple consumer will accept the personal extra effort to use the product and accept the design intent.

Really? And where do you get this information? Huffington Post?

Apple aren’t perfect?!? omg…

Apple do seem to suffer the “designer fallacy”- this is what we want the user to do so we will force them to do it, even though users own it, paid for it, ultimately decide how it is actually used.

This is in every Apple quarterly report:

The Company is focused on providing innovative products and solutions to consumer, SMB, education, enterprise, government and creative customers that greatly enhance their evolving digital lifestyles and work environments. The Company’s overall business strategy is to control the design and development of the hardware and software for all of its products, including the personal computer, mobile communications and consumer electronics devices. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating system, hardware, application software, and services to provide its customers new products and solutions with superior ease-of-use, seamless integration, and > innovative industrial design[\i]. The Company believes continual investment in research and development is critical to the development and enhancement of innovative products and technologies.

As stated earlier, Apple is design driven. Single button mouse, round mouse, hard to remove batteries, titanium heat-conductive laptop cases, etc. This will always lead to performance compromise. Having said that, Apple is unique in pushing this side of the technology envelope. I forgive them.

iThink they dropped the ball by only capitalizing on the apple with their brand; what about pear, melon, starfruit, guava, or grape?

iThink they’ve covered lemon a few times though.

iThink iT’s iTime they give the iI-thing an iBreak.


i’M tired of the iCrap, too.

That being said, Gizmodo is not necessarily anti-design, they’re totally anti-apple at this point. They’re a bunch of nerds sitting around getting paid to talk about electronics. Then they bit into the forbidden fruit (ha ha), and now they’re out to prove they aren’t crazy in going against Apple.

I just came back from a lunch where we discussed Tiger Woods for 15 minutes. Everyone loves to a tragedy. Gizmodo is trying to knock Apple down a notch because they are on top. Eventually, they will have another iTV, but with more publicity.

I’ve got issue with: “we have evidence that proves that the iPhone 4 antenna problem was caused by an internal cultural problem at Apple.”

Cultural problem? You mean they should compromise design? So they should be more like every other tech manufacturer? At the same time they’re calling it the best smartphone ever, and as it breaks sales records?

That’s like saying Ferrari’s are crap because the paint scratches.

Definately. Everyone wants to see a giant fall.
I suspect that the or the several supenas that has landed on gawker/gizmodos table could have a thing or two in the mix :smiley:

I’ve pretty much stopped going to their site. I prefer the nuanced writing on engadget, instead of gizmodos fox-journalism. (Kudos Linda)

Should they compromise design? Yes, if it impairs the basic functionality of a product…absolutely they should!

But, that also gets into another discussion…This isn’t “compromising the design”. It is compromising THIS particular solution for THIS particular design.

With all the Design fire power at Apple I have a hard time thinking that they didn’t realize that this part of the phone was connected to ground and that touching it with your hand effectively turns off your antenna.

Then, you add on top of that Apple’s reaction to it: “Don’t hold it that way”?

Am I really hearing the ID community supporting this as being justifiable?

Wait, “Don’t hold it that way.”, was their response? iNconceivable!

Uh, shouldn’t a different form factor have been used to communicate to the user the proper way to hold it? Or is it the engineer’s fault for not solving it with technology?


I think more often than not, products fall over to the side of slightly more usable for a lot more ugly. At Apple, that balance is more like slightly more beautiful for slightly less usable. I don’t view it as any more of an attack on ID than the Deep Water Horizon is an attack on engineers. IDers can make beautiful usable products (iPods, Wiis, Tivos, etc) and engineers can make deep ocean drilling rigs that don’t fail (thousands). Sometimes we don’t do both because of a variety of reasons (management, ignorance, over-confidence).

But where does this fall?

Out today:

According to documents leaked to Boy Genius Report today, AppleCare representatives are being given a strong company line to deliver to unhappy iPhone 4 owners who complain about reception issues.

Employees are told to say that the device’s reception performance “is the best we have ever shipped” and that its critical antenna flaws are “a fact of life in the wireless world.” They are told not to perform service on iPhones with these problems and instead to give customers a PR-driven recitative instead.

In a nutshell, Apple knows the phone has problems but will insist that users are simply “holding it wrong.”

Maybe they just need a right hand and a left hand version? Am iRight?

I’m with IP on this one, Apple made a defective product, and knew about it before delivery. The part that baffles me is this is a pretty expensive product – retooling the antenna or making a modification is something that could easily have been done at this price point. Why didn’t they do it? It’s not like this is a cheap throw away phone where you’re nickel and dime’n every component. It’s a disappointment to see it blamed on design though, since really this should have raised red flags in all departments.

That said Apple is on top of this and is addressing it here:
Apple job posting for an antenna engineer… little late but better than never.

And for some humor:

No, they don’t nickel’n dime on components, but the frequency with which Apple releases newer versions of the same product would suggest that they are expensive throw away phones. In my mind a non-throw-away phone should last 10+ years and rely on OS/UI/App upgrades.

As to why they didn’t do it? Who knows, I’m sure they were aware of the problem and maybe were banking on passing the blame onto AT&T’s squeaky clean track record.

That is hilarious!

I’m not sold on that.

It’s easy to loose signal based on where you are at any given moment.
It’s easy to cover up the speaker with your hand and not be able to hear anything.
It’s easy to cover up the camera lens when you’re taking a picture.
It’s easy to mistake the back for the front, or even hold it upside down and not realize it.
It’s easy to drop and break.

Do these things make it a defective product? Or are they well-considered design compromises?