Apple at a turning point?

A historical year for Apple: ten years ago, the first iPod came into the market. And a historical month, too: on 10 August 2011, Apple became world’s most valuable company. Yesterday, Steve Jobs stepped down from his office as Apple’s CEO.

Also last night, in cooperation with the red dot institute, the much-noticed exhibition “Stylectrical“ was opened at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The focus is put on Jonathan Ive’s design. As Senior Vice President Industrial Design, he is responsible for the design of Apple’s products which were awarded with more than 50 “red dot” within the last 10 years; iMac, iPhone and iPad were all awarded with a “red dot: best of the best”.

The era Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive

“Perhaps no exhibition ever before has been that late-breaking and retrospective at the same time“, Burkhard Jacob, director of the red dot institute, comments on the coincidence of the current occasions. Only a few hours before the opening of the exhibition, Steve Jobs stepped down from his office as Apple’s CEO. “Now, the exhibition turns into a showcase and the catalogue into a statement of the works of the era Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ives”, according to Burkhard Jacob, who cooperated in the exhibition with the red dot design institute and took a look at design as a strategic factor for economy and value added.

Last night, attracted by current media reports, 2,200 visitors followed the invitation of curator Ina Grätz and went to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe to join the exhibition’s opening. Not only the media, also the visitors discuss one question: how does the future look like for Apple?

“Looking at design and the economic figures, we can expect another record for the fiscal year 2011”, Prof. Dr. Peter Zec commented on the situation in a live interview he gave to the radio station Deutschlandfunk this morning, due to the current events. “With all its products, the company is in such a good position that Steve Jobs chose an appropriate moment for his demission.” The news on the demission only had a temporary impact on the stock market price. With a market capitalisation of currently 346 billion U.S. dollars, Apple still is the most valuable technology enterprise worldwide.

In 2002, when Jonathan Ive and the Apple design team were awarded with the honouring title “red dot: design team of the year”, only few may have sensed what development the company, domiciled in the Californian city Cupertino, would attain. Back then, the average stock prize was 10 U.S. dollars in an annual average. Yesterday, the stock was 373,72 U.S. dollars when the stock exchange closed. An increase of 3,500 per cent. In other words: Those, who invested 10,000 U.S. dollars in Apple shares, could easily buy a house from the profit today. The iPod was already sold more than 315 million times, the iPhone, which was introduced onto the market in 2007, was sold 130 million times and also revolutionised the mobile communication market. The iPad will continue this successful development. Introduced in 2010, it was already sold 30 million times. Competitors like Research in Motion, Hewlett Packard, Samsung and Nokia feel the effects of design’s power from an economical perspective.

But where do the success and the attraction of Apple’s product design come from? Prof. Peter Zec gave answers to the Deutschlandfunk: “It’s going back to the old Bauhaus tradition. Back then, Bauhaus master Mies van der Rohe said “less is more” – one should reduce products to its essential and that’s basically what Apple does. The devices aren’t overloaded with too many buttons or functions. The touchscreen is self-explanatory, which means that we directly know how to handle those devices as soon as they are switched on. This convenience, the simplicity of design or the product’s feel - the iPhone for example really is charming the hands – all these exceptional characteristics in use make the design so unique.”


» Interview with Peter Zec on Deutschlandfunk, 26.08.2011 (German content)

» Interview with Peter Zec in Werben&Verkaufen, 02.09.2011 (German content)

» TV coverage about "Stylectrical" on ZDF Mittagsmagazin with a statement by Burkhard Jacob, 26.08.2011 (German TV content, starting at 50:23 min)

» TV coverage about Apple Design on 3sat Kulturzeit with a statement by Burkhard Jacob, 29.08.2011 (German TV content)

» Radio feature about "Stylectrical" on Deutschlandfunk, programme Corso, 26.08.2011 (German radio content)

» Information on the exhibition "Stylectrical" in Hamburg



All red dot awarded Apple products are also presented at the red dot museum in Essen in a highlighted area right now.