Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why I think iPhone 4 is a major design failure

I am one of those who gush and oooh and aaah over most of the stuff Jonathan Ives designs for Apple. I already own an iPhone 3G and work in an office full of various Mac computers (from Power G5 to all shorts of iMacs to a MacBook Pro). But the current iPhone never did it for me. From the beginning, seeing the leaked device, up to now that I have handled the device, played with it, talked with many users and read a lot about it, I still don't like it.

First of all the design of the first three iPhones (2S, 3G, 3GS) was brilliant. Curvy, thin, elegant, different than anything else in the market. And they still look different than all other smart-phones out there. Instantly recognizable. Easy to hold. The feel of that backside curve in your palm is absolute perfection. Than the flat design for iPhone 4 comes along, with its beveled corners. Just like all the rest of the competition. Gone is the curve that made it so nice to hold.

Glass - back and front. Great idea, aesthetically perfect. But why make a device that is supposed to be handled a bit rough, one that usually lies on the back side, have glass there too? How ergonomic is that? How many fingerprints can one handle? (On the plus side, it does make for easier protective membrane application. But still). And the metal edge all around to hold that glass into place (among other things)? I don't need an iMac in my pocket, I have it on my desktop, thank you very much.

After many months, apple finally had to remove all traces of a white iPhone from their website. They cannot manufacture it because the white back surface with the glass diffuses the flash light of the camera so it ruins the photos you take (or try to). How can a big company such as this, with an incredible industrial design record, announce a product, much less take pre-orders for it, before testing it to see if it works properly? Latest news do seem to indicate it might be released next year. We'll have to wait and see.

I would be interested to find out your thoughts about this, so please feel free to add them in the comments.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Vinyl cut out clocks by Pavel Sidorenko

Last night I was at a small bar in my hometown listening to a friend DJ (Narita playing a great DJ gig as usual), when I spotted a clock made from an old vinyl record on the wall next to the DJ booth. I immediately thought that it was a great idea for a DJ gift but poorly executed (i.e. how about making clock hands like record player arms instead?) . Today, thanks to a Design Sponge post about Pavel Sidorenko, I found out how much better this idea can become.

Pavel Sidorenko is an Estonian designer, born in 1980 in Tallinn. He studied industrial design at the Estonian Academy of Arts, graduating in 2006. His aim is to create functional and playful products that retain their simplicity, interacting with the space and the user, creating not only incorporate pragmatic necessity, but also transmitting an emotional quality within the everyday environment. he received the 1st prize in the Massimo Martini Design Awards, in Milan's Macef show while his latest exhibition participation was in this year's Ambiente show in Frankfurt, as part of the EDL stand.

The clocks are made by laser-cutting the old vinyl records in various shapes. It is a fun idea, reminding me a lot of paper-cutting stuff other people do - the choice of material here is key and fresh. I would not mind having one of these on my wall!

© Pavel Sidorenko