What can I say – Personally I thought the iPhone 3G was the peak in quality of iPhone design by Apple. For me, the iPhone 4 and 5 were a huge step back. Sadly, the durability of the device was sacrificed for a futuristic look, despite making the phone impractical and super fragile. At least with the iPhone 5 the back side of the phone is no longer made of glass (what a silly, silly idea!), but it’s still made of aluminium, which again, scratches and bends out of shape quite easily, making the phone look ugly pretty quickly. I wouldn’t mind the black iPhone 5 for example, but I know that soon enough, the scratches on the black edges will expose the aluminium underneath, and make the phone really ugly.
I also thought the Unibody Macbook Pro really sucked when it first came out. The aluminium body is easily scratched, dented, and once bent it is impossible to bend it back into shape. Plus, my model is the one with the really sharp edges, notorious for the “slit wrists” effect (this was fixed in later models, but no apology was issued to those of us who still own the knife-sharp models). Jony then repeated the same horrible mistake with the iPad. My iPad fell on a soft rug a couple of weeks ago, from a distance of only 30cm, and it still got its edges dented and bent (but thankfully the glass did not break). 6 month ago, one of the rubber “legs” on my Unibody Macbook Pro cracked and fell off. I went to the Apple store and discovered they do not sell the plastic leg, but instead replace the entire bottom panel of the laptop. I was shocked. Thankfully I have Apple Care, and it was replaced free of charge, but seriously Apple?! To make things worse, the first MBP Unibody I have (which died and was resurrected) still has black holes to the left of the trackpad, where my left hand rests. Those holes were caused by, surprise surprise, my wedding band! It turns out that when I was using my laptop bare footed, with my feet touching the floor (meaning I was grounded, electrically speaking), micro-sparks would occur between my wedding band and the aluminium casing. Those sparks eventually made deep, visible holes in the casing! I thought at first that it was dirt and I tried to clean it. However a closer look revealed actual holes. It is impossible to fix.
Jony Ive: Those products are used in the real world. They are not sitting in a museum inside a thick glass box. Sure, they looks pretty, but they are not practical. Want to make it practical? why don’t you make future Apple devices using carbon fiber?
I’m sorry but I think Aluminium is an extremely poor choice for the outer shells of electronic devices. Plastic for the iPad would have been so much better! Carbon Fiber even more so. The plastic that was used for the iPhone 3G was fantastic – it was shiny, hard, durable and it looked great. The iPhone 3G also felt way better in my hand. Nobody is going to convince me that carving into aluminium is better than producing a high quality plastic mould. There are enough companies out there producing really beautiful laptops, that are way more durable than Apple’s.
So now Jony Ive is doing iOS 7 User Interface Design? I really hope this is not going to be a “New Coke” moment for Apple. In any case, we are about to find out (In 2 days, to be exact).