Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Apple & Aluminium


Greg Koenig, the creator of Atomic Delights gave me goose bumps in his piece on Apple, Aluminium and whether the next iPhone will be all ceramic:
At peak production, Apple is manufacturing roughly 1 million iPhones per day. More importantly, every single one of those phones is sculpted to 10 micron tolerances, from a single block of aluminum, as is every Mac, iPad, Watch and many of the accessories. It is difficult to convey to folks without a manufacturing background how insane this is, but let me try.
He goes on to say (emphasis mine)...
A central pillar of Jony Ive's design philosophy is honesty of materials. It is one of those flowery phrases that I think gets glossed over most of the time, but we've seen Apple really evolve the entire aesthetic of the hardware lineup around it. 
...
What makes this product honest is that it isn't bullshit when Apple says the iPhone is "made from 7000 series aluminum." For almost every other big brand consumer products company, your "aluminum" phone would rally just be an applique, a veneer, a pretty cover on bog standard plastic guts. Yes, that phone would work just fine (again, Glock), but it wouldn't be honest.
With an iPhone, the very heart of the device's design and function is this single component. Like a Formula 1 car, this is a monocoque that serves as both the external shell and the internal structure. It isn't a case, or an enclosure - it is a chassis.
This last paragraph, the comparison to the monocoque of a Formula-1 car, drove the point home in the most articulate and emphatic way possible. The greatest Formula-1 drivers, Aryton Senna being one, trust this monocoque implicitly. They would be lost without the stability and flexibility it affords them on the race track.

I never gave much thought to the chassis that houses my precious iPhone; I will now.

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