Apple’s design team reveals the obsessive process behind the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch


Apple is a notoriously secretive company that only officially reveals what it is working on during carefully curated events and live broadcasts. But our fraternal publication Wallpaper got exclusive access to Apple’s design team.

While Wallpaper didn’t have access to any work done on rumored iPhone 14, MacBook Air 2022, or AirPods Pro 2, it did get a taste of Apple’s obsessive approach to designing and perfecting its products.

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For example, Wallpaper discussed the process of designing the Apple Watch with the designers in Cupertino. The team explained how they thought about a series of questions regarding a physical notification system or the smartwatch. The designers had to think carefully about the strength, duration, and naturalness of the Apple Watch’s haptics.

When discussing the Apple Watch Series 7, which tops our list of best smartwatches, the design team noted that the launch of a larger screen was born from an iterative design created by working in close collaboration with the engineering team. And that partnership dates back to the first model and its iconic digital crown, which arguably sits in the middle of design and engineering.

“We wanted to merge software and hardware,” designer Molly Anderson told Wallpaper. “The crown came from referencing the history of watches and realizing that we needed physical mechanics and tactile inputs to make the Apple Watch really feel different from the idea of ​​an iPhone on the wrist. ”

AirPods: lend an ear

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

The same can be said of Apple’s approach to AirPods. Wallpaper has learned that the development of wireless headphones began over a decade ago. He saw human factors researcher Kristi Bauerly research the “deliciously complex” human ear to inform a headphone design that can be found on our best wireless headphone list.

“We molded and scanned ears, worked with academics nearby, focusing on the outer ears for the design of the headphones and the internal ears for the acoustics,” said Bauerly.

Apparently thousands of ears have been scanned to create a database from which the design process can begin. If you appreciate the fit and feel of AirPods Pro, that’s why.

Never call him

iphone 13 pro back showing cameras matrix

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

If you’re wondering why Apple went for a trio of rear cameras in a pseudo-triangular layout in a rectangular module, it’s also because of the obsessive design.

More than just aesthetics, the focus on delivering phone photographs that deserve a place on our list of the best phone cameras required another combination of software and hardware design and engineering.

Wallpaper explained that Apple’s design team had to consider how the design of the iPhone 13 should take into account how the camera’s lenses were grouped and demarcated, while also considering how the software could evoke the feeling of working with traditional traditional analog dials and equipment.

It not only took a load of research, but also poured over vintage cameras and even perused their typefaces and control layouts. Once again, the ease of use that comes with using the iOS camera app, as well as the virtual feel of tacitly adjusting the zoom via a software dial, are the work of the Apple design team. .

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Different design

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the image in Wallpaper’s article shows a workspace that seems to have more in common with that of high-end fashion brands or home decor agencies.

Photos of the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera module and the Apple Watch Digital Crown being assembled give us the impression of a bespoke jewelry workshop rather than the initial process for the devices that will be shipped by millions.

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This workplace is actually separate from Apple’s main Infinite Loop camps, over a mile and a half in a building that doesn’t have the eye-catching circular design of the headquarters, but is impressive in itself.

And based on Wallpaper’s many reporting, the spirit of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is still very much present. Check out Wallpaper’s full article, available online and in print, for the full details of his journey into Apple’s design world.



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