Mark Morford wrote in last week’s SF Gate a tribute (of sorts) to Apple’s packaging. He was dead on. When I bought my iPod, I was amazed at the packaging. The iPod was presented like a piece of art or an elaborate gift. The origami-like box that kept folding open again and again. To be honest, I was almost as jazzed about the packaging as about the iPod itself. And the iPod didn’t disappoint either. It’s the most beautiful and usable MP3 player out there.
That’s part of why I use Apple products, because the hardware is much like the packaging. Jonathan Ive’s team creates industrial designs that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional.
They are not art. Art is something that exists merely to be observed, thought about, considered. It’s not just pretty, as there is plenty of ugly art (and intentionally so, though not always) that serves an aesthetic need.
Macs are intended to be used, first and foremost, but they are also aesthetically pleasing. They’re not art, but that doesn’t mean (despite what nearly all the other hardware manufacturers seem to think) that they can’t be useful and aesthetically pleasing. Good design makes it a joy to use the item, and it’s worth paying a little extra for.