Now, these don’t really compete with one another, but since they were released the same day, I thought it would be fun to discuss:
From the c77 front page:
Yesterday Microsoft took the wraps off of their redesigned Xbox while this morning Apple quietly released their new Mac Mini. Though the products are not in the same categories, both reveal the companies’ diverging design philosophies: Microsoft is clearly going after the Alienware-inspired male-centric gaming demographic, whereas Apple seems to be seeking admission to MoMA’s permanent collection by unibody-izing the previously plastic Mini into an ultra-minimal form.
In terms of a subjective preference of style, Apple’s direction has got my vote hands-down, though it can be argued they’re simply doing more of the same; others, like Digital Trends’ Rob Enderle, think the new Xbox means Microsoft is “inching closer” or even “passing Apple in product design.” I think Enderle’s assertions are nuts, but Xbox fans disagree or find the design irrelevant: After being announced, the new Xbox sold out on Amazon in less than 24 hours. Different strokes…
The Apple is an extension of a preexisting design methodology, manufacturing technique, and brand statement… BUT, an excellent job at doing that. Hipstomp is incorrect when he says this is going to MoMA… the entire collection is going to MoMA, and this is a fantastic example of ID in this century, not single items, but a philosophy applied across a family of artifacts that all work together or on their own. I have the previous Mac Mini to power my TV experience (and a whole bunch of other apple stuff, full disclosure) and I could easily see myself getting this new Mac Mini as well.
The xBox on the flip side works as a nice counterpoint. This is not designed for MoMA, it is designed for 16 year olds who game, and game hard. I won’t get it (I bought a Wii when it came out and I’m good) and I am nowhere near the target audience. In theory, I shouldn’t like the xBox at all, I should almost be repulsed by it. I think it could have been pushed farther in that respect, but at the end of the day what matters here is games, and games it has. Lots of 'em. I think they did a good job of keeping it contemporary and clean while making it slightly aggressive and the little top-heaviness of it almost makes it a tad uncomfortable which is a nice little subconscious design cue. It is also easily recognizable as an evolution from the previous edition, which is a first for xBox which typically radically changed. The last one was pretty well done and I think they were right to take this approach, contemporizing the icon they already have.
Conclusion, both are very good… it is a good time to be a designer when companies want to invest this heavily in design and they understand the value of it.Now we as designers need to live up to our potential!
Take the logos off and you have no trouble knowing which is which, so I’d say success on both counts there as well.
When you take Jonathan Ive and his stacked team of talent at Apple, and pit it against Ray Riley at Microsoft and his stacked team of talent… well, we all win in a way.