Strange Apple Design: “Spring Loaded” Edition


Apple’s product design is usually very good, setting industry standards for how much of the gadgets and computers we use every day look and feel. But the company’s many hits make the less obvious design decisions stand out much more.

Thanks to the sheer amount of new things Apple introduced at its “Spring Loaded” event on Tuesday, we have many new Apple designs to take a closer look at. While the company has generally fared quite well with this series of updates, there are still a few things that raised our eyebrows.

The iMac still has a big chin

The new iMac and its big chin.
Image: Apple

I think Apple’s new iMacs look really well – except for that damn chin, which, again, proudly protrudes from the bottom of the computer screen like Johnny Bravo’s impressive jawline.

To be fair, Apple did what it could to make the chin look beautiful. The pastels are a lot of fun, and I’m glad Apple removed the giant logo that graced the chin of previous generations of iMacs. (Then remove the text ‘MacBook Air’ from the bezel of my laptop, Apple.)

And I understand that the chin is necessary for iMac to be as ridiculously thin as it is. Rather than putting the inside of the computer behind the screen, Apple tucked them into the chin.

The new iMac’s circuit board and cooling system crammed into the chin.
Image: Apple

But one day I’d like to see Apple release a chin-less iMac – just a screen that’s a computer.

The iMac has white edges

The white borders on the new iMac.
Image: Apple

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the new iMac was its white bezels. Most recent Apple computers had black borders, which generally hide the edges of the screen better and make it less obvious where the screen ends and the border begins. (The non-Retina MacBook Air, with its silver bezels, stuck until 2019.)

But again, I have to give credit to Apple for choosing here. Black borders in combination with the bright new iMac colors would be quite shocking – the white looks great with the new iMac colors. And so are these white borders considerably smaller than the giant black bezels of the Intel-based iMacs still on sale.

The new iMacs join Apple’s base iPad, the iPad mini, and the iPod touch in the white-edged club. It remains to be seen if the new iMac participating in it foreshadows others.

The curved corner keys on the iMac’s Magic Keyboard don’t look right

The new Magic Keyboard has some nice upgrades, including a Touch ID sensor (which comes with higher-end models), new function keys and matching aluminum color. But the appearance of just four keys on the keyboard makes it much worse than the previous model in my opinion.

Check out the keys on the four corners of the new Magic Keyboard. Notice that they each have an angle with a much wider curve than the rest?

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, with the oddly rounded corner keys.
Image: Apple

I think they just don’t look that good. I understand that they suit the wider curves of the keyboard itself better, but I think they look odd when all other keys have four corners with exactly the same curvature.

Here’s an image slider that compares the old keyboard to the new. The uniform angles of the old model look a lot better in my opinion. Look at that bad right arrow key on the new one!

Apple’s old Magic Keyboard (left) versus the new (right).

And by the way, it appears that the Magic Trackpad that comes with the new iMac also has the same wider angles as the new keyboard, based on an image from Apple’s website. So if you want your keyboard and trackpad to have matching angles, you’ll have to pay extra to get the new trackpad.

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard and Trackpad.
Image: Apple

The new iMac doesn’t have a touchscreen, despite looking an awful lot like another Apple device with a touchscreen

Image: Apple

The iPad Pro’s front camera is still in portrait rather than landscape

The portrait camera on the front of the new iPad Pro.
Image: Apple

Apple has once again released a new iPad Pro with a front camera placed on top of the device in portrait mode instead of on top in landscape mode. That means if you’re using a keyboard cover that requires the tablet to be landscape and you want to make a video call (which many people do right now), the camera is awkwardly placed to the side instead of right above the center of your screen.

To get around this, Apple has upgraded the new front camera of the iPad Pro to make it an ultra-wide camera, and the company has introduced a new technology that can automatically keep you in view during video calls. But we won’t be sure if that keeps you better centered until we can test it ourselves. And it doesn’t solve the problem of forcing you to look sideways when you want to look directly into the camera.

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is not compatible with the original Magic Keyboard case

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is not compatible with the original Magic Keyboard case, which fits the 2018 and 2020 models of the tablet. It’s not clear exactly why, but it could be because the new iPad Pro is 0.5mm thicker than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2020.

Whatever the reason, if you plan to buy the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and want to use a Magic Keyboard, you’ll also have to pay $ 349 to buy the new version. of the Magic Keyboard case.

AirTags do not have a built-in keychain loop

Apple’s AirTag tracker doesn’t have a keychain loop.
Image: Apple

Apple’s new AirTag item trackers certainly seem to have an easy way to attach directly to something, but Apple decided not to include a small hole for a keychain or string, for example. (Yes, I choose my colleague Chaim Gartenberg in his great AirTags discussion of the key fobs with Jon Porter.)

The Magic Mouse’s charging port is still on the bottom, five and a half years later

This is still how you charge the Magic Mouse.

I’ve already written about it.

There is some hope: it looks like Apple has fixed the TV remote

Apple’s new Siri remote, with its iPod-like scroll wheel, five-way click pad, and smaller touch pad, seems to address complaints about the annoyingly oversensitive touch controls of the previous Apple TV remote. And the new aluminum design with black buttons should make it easier to see the buttons on the remote compared to the predominantly black design of the previous model.

Apple’s seemingly fixed TV remote.
Image: Apple

The new remote looks great. Apple can change!