Top 5 Apple Designs of All Time

If it’s one thing Apple has always been great at, it’s design. Without Apple’s continously innovative design, the company probably wouldn’t still exist…it certainly wouldn’t be the dominating force that it is today. In celebration of the design teams that have built so many great Apple products, and the designs themselves, Apple Gazette is pleased to present our list of the Top 5 Apple Designs of All Time…

5. Mac Mini

mac_mini_intel_core.jpgThe Mac Mini was a marvel when it was announced in Jan. of 2005. The slim, elegant, compact computer was no larger than 6 CD cases stacked on top of each other. To this day you can take Mac Mini, show it to a Windows user and get the same reaction…

“That’s the WHOLE computer?”

The design has been virtually the same since the inception of the device, and it’s design style has been seen recently in other products from Apple including AppleTV and the Airport Extreme.

4. G4 Cube

g4cube.jpgSome will argue this should be higher on the list because of the innovative, eye catching design. Others will say that it shouldn’t be on the list at all because the Cube had design flaws that lead to a short shelf life. Both sides have valid points, but the G4 Cube HAS to be on my list for Top 5 Apple Designs of All Time because it is the computer that first made me stand up and take notice that these guys at Apple were “Thinking Different”.

Love it or hate it, the 8x8x8 Cube grabbed people’s attention, and was amazingly compact for its day. It was one of the first desktop computers to really be a design piece, and it will forever hold a place somewhere on my Top 5.

3. iPod

product-white_ipod.jpgIt would be impossible to create this list without mentioning the iPod. This single device has changed the way the world listens to music. Not because of what it did (it played MP3s…dozens of other things played MP3s when the iPod came out) but HOW it did it. The iPod was the first MP3 player to think about organizing music in a new and different way, and every player that has been released since has been inspired by the design.

As the generations continue, the device only gets slimmer and more versatile, with the latest incarnation being the upcoming iPhone. The iPod has had a long life, and continues to evolve. I don’t think we’ll be seeing a change in its dominance anytime in the near future…and it can all be traced by to its innovative and simple design.

2. Mac OSX

leopard.jpgIf you want to know what REALLY brought Apple back from the brink of death in the 90s, it was OS X. All the snazzily designed Cubes, iMacs and iBooks caught our eyes on the shelves, but when we got up to the machine it was OS X that made us all say “wow”. If you want to know how truly innovative and well designed OS X really is, just take a look at Microsoft’s Vista.

It wants to be OS X so bad it can hardly stand it. OS X is full of impressive eye candy and visual style that it’s competitors just can’t compare to, but what makes it truly great is how easy it is to use. OS X is not confusing…there is no HUGE learning curve…in fact, most users won’t need more than a few minutes with it to understand how to use it was well as any OS they’ve ever tried before.

1. iMac G4

imacg4.jpgOf all the computers Apple has ever designed, this is – by far – the one I wanted the most…and never got. When I asked for reader feedback for this article a few weeks ago, the G4 iMac was on the Top of more lists than any other Apple product. This is a design that I was truly sad to see go, and would be extremely happy to see pulled from the mothballs.

Something about it just screamed “cool” when it came out in 2002…and still does today. Oh, if only we could get an Intel iMac with a Widscreen flat panel display in a new version of this design…ah..to dream.

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that several of you disagree with this list…

Fine…post your own. Either in the comments below, or feel free to post on your own blog and leave a link for us to check out.

Comments

  1. I’m glad the iMac G4 won, but giving the number 3 spot to the “iPod” instead of a particular generation or model (mini, shuffle, nano, iPod 5G, etc) seems silly. You gave the #1 spot to the iMac G4, not the “iMac”.

    The list is therefore inconsistent and ultimately useless

  2. I totally agree with you on the iMac G4 – it was my dream computer when I was 12, and it still is my dream computer (but I had to settle for an iMac G5 cause when I finally had enough to buy one, the G4 got discontinued…)

  3. Luke -

    I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    The iPod has remained virtually the same in design and layout since it’s creation. Yes the click wheel has evolved, but it has remained essentially the same…color screens have been added, video has been added…etc…but the design remains very similar to the original…

    Not so with the iMac. The iMacs vary greatly from model to model…so it’s not the same thing.

  4. Great list, truly. The beauty of personal “top 5′s” like this is how much of the person creating list shows through in their choices.

    That being said, whilst I agree with you on the G4 as the top Apple design, I would not have been able to omit the “white ice” iBook, or the Titanium Powerbook G4.

    Both, in my opinion, were the most innovative notebook designs ever. The beautiful Macbook is a variation on the iBook’s design, while most of the PC community is still trying to come up with a notebook as good-looking or functional as the TiBook.

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