Design Advice for Mac

This is something you won't often see, design advice for Apple by a Microsoftie.

I've got the machine for a couple of months now and I still think that, in spite of its limitations, it's a nice and fast machine to run Vista. The machine also generates a lot of controversy but now I want to talk abit about how a design flaw by Apple recently made my Macbook less attractive.

Vulnerable Mac Keys The missing key

The problem is that the keys on the left and right edge have a straight side. As a result I lost a key recently as I put the laptop in my bag and accidentily a DVD slipped between the lid that was closed and the keyboard.

All other keys are design correct, look at the CTRL key for instance, except the most vulnerable ones on the edge. As you can see, my Toshiba tablet PC has much better designed keys.



This post is about: Vista, Apple Boot Camp

Comments (4)

  1. David says:

    I would argue this is hardly a design flaw. Seems more like a design trade-off. Apple opted for the flat edge on the outer keys to better bound the keyboard area visually. It gives the open computer a cleaner look.

    Of course I agree there are some limitations to this design, like the  keys popping off. We all know that the final word for Apple on the form vs. function problem is /always/ form. Examples: one mouse button, no lights or dials on the computer (which can be helpful), limited keyboard …

    I’m not saying this is a bad thing, so many vendors have nailed function and users can appreciate attention to detail. Personally, I would like to see one PC vendor step up and really commit to a beautiful design for one of their PCs or notebooks. Something that really compliments all of the Windows Vista design elements in an understated yet apeasing manner. Right now I think that the Macbook and the iMac are the closest to this.

  2. Hans VB1 says:

    Hi David,

    What do you think about the Sony Vaio’s? They are nicely designed, no?

  3. David says:

    I think the Vaio and the ThinkPad have the strongest marks when it comes to high-quality design in the PC segment.

    These computers are both aesthetically pleasing and have a positive tactile response. They feel good when you are holding them. They look good…for a computer.

    There is a problem with their design philosophy, in my opinion. They should spend more time looking at holistic design. Apple does an excellent job driving external industrial design philosophies into their hardware design. They come up with machines and devices that are pleasing as an object, not as a computer.

    Besides price, I was swayed away from the Vaio because when you are using it or holding it you feel like you are using a shiny gadget. It overly attracts attention as yet another shiny gadget. The minimalistic and understated design of the MacBook (or iMac) easily blend into the surroundings. The best proof for this is the usage of Apple computers in movies.

    Personally, I don’t care too much about the hardware design. I feel that software functionality and UI design can make the hardware irrelevant. I don’t want to sound like an Apple fanboy but I feel that hardware design for PC manufacturers is so bad now that you need to buy a Mac if you don’t want something ugly. MacOS has /a lot/ left to be desired. Good UI principles but much too limited even for the most basic users. I bought the MacBook exclusively for its hardware and run Windows Vista. It has most components that make Vista shine (DVD burner, Bluetooth, HD Audio, Aero Glass capable chipset) all wrapped into clean, compact package for a decent price (1100 bucks before the much needed memory upgrade).

    PC manufactures need to take a lesson from well designed instruments like teapots, typewriters and furniture. Windows Vista actually looks pretty good so if they extend some of the software philosophies to the hardware we could have some pretty good looking hardware with the benefit of consistent experience.

    compare for yourself:


  4. David says:

    Ah ha! Now we are talking. Have you all seen the press about the Windows Vista Industrial Design Toolkit?

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