See Apple grow: New coffee table book spotlights evolution of its product design

apple earnings q4 2017 logo
The word “conceited,” according to Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, means “having or showing too much pride in your own worth or goodness.” Some would argue that Facebook, which aims to connect every single person on Earth, falls into that category. Others would argue that Google, which seeks to parse all of the world’s information, also meets that definition. But it’s tough to argue that Apple’s new collectible doesn’t take that brand of self-importance to a whole new level. On Tuesday, the Cupertino, California-based company unveiled a veritable monument to its accomplishments in the form of “Designed by Apple,” a coffee table book filled with 450 photographs of Apple products.

The tome, which features hundreds of “all-new” images shot by Creature author Andrew Zuckerman, showcases the evolution of Apple’s product design over the past 20 years. They’re all shot “in a deliberately spare style,” stripped down to their base silicon components and contrasted against a bright white backdrop. It’s a highlight reel of sorts: the 1998 iMac is presented and accounted for, as is the iPhone, the iPad, Apple Watch, and even the Apple Pencil.

It’s primarily archival — Apple design chief Jony Ive, who wrote the book’s forward, described it as “a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years” — but intended as an educational resource, too. “[I hope it'll provide] a resource for students of all design disciplines,” Ive added. “While this is a design book, it is not about the design team. It is an objective representation of the work that, ironically, describes who we are. We strive, with varying degrees of success, to define objects that appear effortless. Objects that appear so simple, coherent, and inevitable that could there could be no rational alternative.”

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True to Apple’s persnickety nature, it leaves no detail overlooked. Every page is specially milled with “custom-dyed” paper and “gilded matte silver edges,” with the prints rendered using “eight color separations” and “low-ghost ink.” And Apple is self-publishing the volume — the product of more than eight collective years of work, the company said — rather than outsourcing the work to a third party.

It goes on sale Friday in two hardcover sizes, a 10.20 inch by 12.75 inch edition priced at $200, and a 13 inch by 16.25 inch edition for $300.  It’ll be available from the company’s website in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, ans Korea, in addition to select Apple Stores.

It’s dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. “The idea of genuinely trying to make something great for humanity was Steve’s motivation from the beginning, and it remains both our ideal and our goal as Apple looks to the future,” Ive said.

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