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Former Apple designer debunks some of the most infamous Apple myths

May 22nd, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Apple Myths Debunked

Thanks to the endless praise and the legendary pedigree, many of us have forgotten that at the end of every work day, Apple is indeed just another technology company. An incredibly impressive one, yes, but one that is often put on a pedestal that exists outside of reality. Fast Company is helping ground our expectations by putting four of the most common myths to bed in an interview with Mark Kawano, an ex-Apple designer who spent seven years in Apple’s design studios.

“I think the biggest misconception is this belief that the reason Apple products turn out to be designed better, and have a better user experience, or are sexier, or whatever… is that they have the best design team in the world, or the best process in the world,” Kawano said.

“It’s not this thing where you get some special wings or superpowers when you enter Cupertino. It’s that you now have an organization where you can spend your time designing products, instead of having to fight for your seat at the table, or get frustrated when the better design is passed over by an engineering manager who just wants to optimize for bug fixing.”

He also commented on the myth that Apple has an infinite design team. In fact, Apple’s design team contains about 100 designers, while Facebook’s team numbers in the hundreds and Google likely has over 1,000. Kawano says he knows each and every one “by face and name.”

The third myth is one that many might take umbrage with: “Apple crafts every detail with attention.” According to Kawano, many of the little things that make iOS or OS X stand out are thought up during a designer’s (or an engineer’s) downtime. There’s no “formalized library” of gorgeous animations or thoughtful functionality, just a relatively a group of people who are comfortable sharing the ideas they come up with.

Finally, Kawano tackles one of the myths that has defined Apple for years — was Steve Jobs really as frighteningly passionate as he seemed to be?

“The reality is, the people who thrived at Apple were the people who welcomed that desire and passion to learn from working with Steve, and just really were dedicated to the customer and the product. They were willing to give up their weekends and vacation time. […] [He] was super demanding… but when it came to other things, he wanted to be very democratic, and to be treated like everyone else. And he was constantly struggling with those roles.”

Check out the full interview at Fast Company in the source link below.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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