'Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.'
--| Steve Jobs On Fan Noise and Design |--- Fortune Magazine: What has always distinguished the products of the companies you've led is the design aesthetic. Is your obsession with design an inborn instinct or what? Steve Jobs: We don't have good language to talk about this kind of thing. In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. The iMac is not just the colour or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together. On our latest iMac, I was adamant that we get rid of the fan, because it is much more pleasant to work on a computer that doesn't drone all the time. That was not just "Steve's decision" to pull out the fan; it required an enormous engineering effort to figure out how to manage power better and do a better job of thermal conduction through the machine. That is the furthest thing from veneer. It was at the core of the product the day we started. This is what customers pay us for--to sweat all these details so it's easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We're supposed to be really good at this. That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers, but it's hard for them to tell you what they want when they've never seen anything remotely like it. Take desktop video editing. I never got one request from someone who wanted to edit movies on his computer. Yet now that people see it, they say, "Oh my God, that's great!" I don't see enough innovation like that in our industry. My position coming back to Apple was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the '70s, when American cars were boats on wheels. That's why we have a really good chance to be a serious player again. (Apple's One-Dollar-a-Year Man, Fortune Magazine Steve Jobs Interview, January 24, 2000) --
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created: June 22, 2000; updated: May 12, 2009.