why do designers have to use ugly pc's to model on

why, oh why am i using an ugly pc to develop products on?

why are no cad software companies developing specifically for mac platforms?

why cant dell, ibm or anyone make beautiful pc’s and peripherals? it snot hard

do johnathon ive and apple designers model their products on PC?

maybe they use vellum argon or whatever its called… or maybe they use an NT simulator.

Because if they did you would complain it cost too much.

actually yes apple’s industrial design team uses studiotools which is pc only - when is studiotools gonna be ported to os x is what i want to know - probably not in my lifetime - although they are porting everything in their product lineup.

My personal experience of modelling leads me to think it doesn’t matter a whole lot what the computer you are doing it on looks like as long as the monitor is good. Seeing as you can get some nice looking lcd monitors now… and some decent looking peripherals as well, I don’t think its a huge problem.

No one can do things quite in the same design quality as apple can though… shame.

granted… it is basically irrelevant what pc you are using because all you do is look at the lcd.

its just that, being a designer, i like using nice things,

and pcs are, as a rule, (for a fuckign decade now) not nice things

why… can apple get it right so often and dell, gateway, alien (my god!) etc get it so wrong so often and so consistantly

the hardware architecture can’t support those programs. pc’s and mac’s work in completely different ways. It’s kinda like the difference between the way a diesel engine works compared to the way an engine that uses unleaded works. They’re both engines and ultimately get (basically) the same thing done, they just do it in different ways. The move to unix is a small step in the right direction to addressing the fact that mac’s are too underpowered for those types of processing (much like a diesel is best suited for applications that require huge amounts of low end power), but it will probably be a while before mac’s can handle those tasks, if they ever can. So, you wouldn’t ask why a ferrari can’t pull a yacht up a mountain pass. Now you know why asking a mac to run solidworks or proE is just as absurd.

the design behind apple’s products comes at a very large price. Most people aren’t willing to pay the higher price for that design when the product is more than a few hundred dollars. This is a major reason why apple’s share of the computer market is so small. Apple spends a lot of money to staff a design department like they do, where as dell saves money by contracting design firms like M3 and others. This dosen’t mean that the design that goes into dells is crap (M3’s work is quite good in my opinion), it’s just that dell and other pc makers have put a higher priority on the final price to consumers.

actually that cost amertized over parts is quite small, and I disagree, the more a product costs, the more someone will pay for, well diferentiation. People understand that metal=nicer=more money.

I think apple’s limited consumer use comes from 2 or 3 key parts of their strategy.

1They have limited distabution through approved re-sellers taking them out of where most people shop for pc’s. If this where the only point it would be easy to overcome, see Dell, though gateway is struggling here too.

2They have limited the amount of softwear that can be written for their platform… probably the biggest point. Even though most people just want to surf the web, type up documents, watch movies, and play games… people like to go into a store with walls of softwear they’ll never need.

3They are very stubborn, they have refocused their internal development on music creation hardware and softwear instead of finishing equiping visually creative people by getting some solid 3d platforms going.

and maybe 4 is that in communicating that they are super easy to use, people think they are inferior and they have yet to overcome this perception with the public. The irony being who wants to pop into Dos and write code? Avery small percentage of dorks, er, uhm, people that is. Personally I want the system to be as easy to use as possible so I can focus on doing what I want to do with it.

I know, big gulp, more than just design appropriateness (word?) and price appropriateness are involved in a successful product. I hate to make a case for marketing, but…

yo, I’d like to see the Nike approach to a PC!

I’m thinking very ergo with lots of great materials, and wireless wearable input devices.

If you think about it, the big PC makers (from Dell to yes, even Apple) are less likely to be able to pull off the whole “wearable” thing when it comes to the “pervasive computing” ideal. It really surprises me that not even input device makers like Logitech have explored softgoods when it comes to peripherals.

Nike could be the ideal company to pull it off.


Your 1-3 points are all true, but the fact still remains, when I bought my last notebook I spec’d a dell and an apple. Both were as comparably equiped as they could be. The apple was almost $1000 more. I would say most people wouldn’t pay $1000 for a nicer looking notebook with metal. Some will, usually those who don’t really care to know much about computers and those with more money than they know what to do with. But most of us are just trying to get the best performance for the lowest price. Plus, there is no way you can say that a few injection molded parts cost about the same as a titanium case.

This is solution.

Take your pc monitor and put it in the closet. Buy a mac monitor. Put your ugly pc under the desk. Connect the mac monitor to the PC. everyone will think you are running your 3D software on a mac, try to convince yourself of the same.

This is the cost I was refering too that is negligable when amertized.

You are totally correct that the titanium case would cost a lot more, as would the better display quality, better designed chips that require less mgz’s to work twice as fast, more standard equipment, more connectors, lighter weight, thinner dimensions, little light up apple symbol. Plus they don’t get the same cost of return because the numbers are much lower. You can’t get a comprably equiped dell beacuse they don’t make one as thin that has all the same stuff. Only Sony goes thinner and it’s striped down to a hard drive with a monitor, you’ve got to connect it to a dock to do anything of value with it.

My decked out titanium was $1600 at the time, boots fast, opens photoshop super fast, and looks pretty in an interview, well worth it. For sure the dell is the better way to go price wise… uhm, so is a Ford Tauras, you drivin’ one of those?

Nike PC…could happen, you never know. Personally I could see one chanelling through our cole haan group in partnership with a major manufacture… all covered in buttered leather with fine, high count, pop stitches, cast metal hardware and what not…

So now that osX is unixed based, why can’t they make Alias run on it?

I’m sure they can, and I’m also fairly sure that the lack of OSX support isn’t costing them any customers.

Maya is a different story: it’s in a hotter, more price-sensitive market. When it comes to Maya, your setup probably costs more than the license. The opposite is true for Studio. Remember when buying a “seat” of Alias also mean’t caughing up a lung for the SGI that went with it?

Isn’t it funny how we demand our leather-wrapped steering wheels, attache’s, shoes, wallets and watch-bands but not the mice and keyboards we slave over most of the day?

They didn’t design the Dimension series.

YO’s points are valid imo. low volume drives prices. thats result of corporate decision making. not having a great design staff. question is if Jobs wanted to compete on price would design team be making cool products? maybe not. would a PC marketing staff have laughed at price of original iPod and scrapped program? probably.

back OT, didnt Astro design Alienware machines? i dont like. but seems popular. enough that word was Dell and HP are doing highend, highcost designer rigs. anyone seen these yet?

What a repugnant statement! Yes budget and unit cost doesplay a big part in product design but from my experience a good or great designer can “make a purse from a sows ear” (as me mom would say). My best work was/is done on very limited budget. Yes it is hard convincing bigger clients that an additional few pennies per unit will lead to a better product but thats our job! Constantly give in to the bottom line and marketing staff will lead to stagnation!

Oh yhk, thanks for all the help this year re. 3d programs and pc vs. Mac. We went with Solidworks as our standard program (+ 3D Max for rendering) and i just placed an order for 3 Ailienware machines to replace the macs! THANKS for all you help!

Casper, no doubt, but the cost of goods and tooling drops considerablly as quantity goes up, nothing to do with quality of your design.

But I will say this from personal experience, the more quantity goes up, the more the product needs to be a “home run”. So more marketing medlers come in, they focus group test it more down in Kentucky and Ohio, and all of a sudden, the design is out of your hands, you may have made that purse from a pigs ear, don’t mean it’s good though.

Products with a tighter distrabution strat tend to be more under the designers control, from a materials, finishing, detailing perspective. I worked for a design firm for about 5 years. I was pumped when anything I did made it out, since the ratio was so low, and I overlooked the fact that they changed a lot from the time the proE files left our internal engineering group to the time the product hit the shelves. At this point, merely getting a product to market doesn’t mean as much, I want it to work, look, and feel the way I intended, and I’ve found the best avenue thus far is to do this in products with more limited availabilty where design vision is something the consumer looks for.

Target is doing a great job at STARTING to reverse this paradigm, but even so, there product often only LOOK the part and don’t have the quality, finishing, detailing, materials, even proportions of a great design.

So what the heck where we talking about?

Agreed. I to have most of my products “changed” along that long twisting and strange “road to market”. I guess I am speaking from frustration but we designers really need to start pushing good design. I am not talking about style I am talking about function and those “little” elements that make products better. All to often these “little” elements are the ones that the manufacturers drop because they dont seem important but it these same elements that can make a good product into a great product! I to work with very large manufacturers and have to deal with the economies of scale where a fraction of a cent multiplied by millions can kill a good design. To be honest I am most happy working with small clients especially those who are just launching their new company. Its such a thrill to take a good design in on that first presentation meeting and watch their eyes light up and the excitement start to build! If I could I would probably just work with smaller clients but unfortunately that “economy of scale” works the other way, small companies dont have the budgets to pay well and their distribution generally means that your great products-designs are not seen by very many consumers? what do we do?