In conjunction with this week’s release of new iMacs and a slew of revamped accessories, Apple gave journalist Steven Levy unprecedented access to one of the company’s top-secret testing labs where it designs, prototypes, and tests all of its Mac accessories. Officially called the Input Design Lab, this secretive building is where Apple gets to work ensuring that its keyboards, trackpads, and mice are all up to snuff with the company’s standards.
Seeing as how no outsider has ever been granted access to the lab, the photos Levy was allowed to take and publish are extremely interesting, especially given Apple’s notorious reputation for taking product secrecy to the extreme.
Levy relays how Apple, when testing new keyboards for example, sweats every detail imaginable, even going so far as to hook up test subjects with external sensors to measure how their body responds to continued use.
In a user test lab, Apple puts subjects before keyboards and wires them up to sensors to measure how typing on the unit affects the body. “We do internal user studies, using a wide cross section of people,” says Kate Bergeron, VP for Ecosystem Products and Technologies. (She’s basically Apple’s czar of input devices.) “We monitor muscle fatigue and memory, acoustics, accuracy, and other tests on all the keyboards.”
The photo below shows what the process looks like.
Apple, naturally, also tests its keyboards for durability. For instance, one of Apple’s custom designed testing machines taps on keyboard prototypes up to five million times to make sure it can survive years of use.
The photo below shows a small doorway into Apple’s acoustics room, the place where Apple tests accessories to ensure that the sounds they emit, whether it be the click of a mouse or the tapping of a keyboard, are pleasant to the ear.
Make sure to hit the source link below to see Levy’s full rundown of photos from Apple’s previously secretive Input Design Lab. It’s a rare peek behind the curtain that Apple tends to keep up with a seemingly unparalleled obsession.