There’s just no other way to put it. Every Apple product is riddled with design flaws. You would think a company with thousands of engineers and a technology design group that wins awards every year would not ship a product with such visible flaws, but that’s what Apple does.
The company’s product history is riddled with highly visible design flaws. Take the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It looks great, doesn’t it? Multiple colors. Bright screen. Better sound. But new iPad has a flaw so serious that Apple’s engineers and designers either didn’t notice or decided to hide it from view. OK, end of sarcasm.
Flaws In The Package
This week I read a brief review of Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad Pro by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes which devoted more words about the design flaw than about the iPad’s lengthy list of nifty new features.
What’s the flaw? It’s the same one that showed up in recent iPhones; both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models. The protruding camera lens on the back of the iPhone is considered by some to be a design flaw. And it’s on the new iPad Pro, too.
“What was Apple thinking?” Or, maybe we should ask, “What was Kingsley-Hughes thinking?” A flaw? Really?
flaw 1 |flô|
• a mark, fault, or other imperfection that mars a substance or object: plates with flaws in them were sold at the outlet store.
• a fault or weakness in a person’s character: he had his flaws, but he was still a great teacher.
• a mistake or shortcoming in a plan, theory, or legal document that causes it to fail or reduces its effectiveness: there were fundamental flaws in the case for reforming local government.
The inference here is that the protruding camera lens on the iPhones and now the iPad Pro were an oversight by Apple’s engineers and designers, and that no one in the entire design to manufacturing process noticed. But Adrian Kingsley-Hughes noticed the so-called flaw.
But is it really a flaw?
No. There’s little question that Apple’s engineers and designers knew the embedded camera in both iPhones and iPads would stick out a bit from the case, so it’s not a flaw. Alright, why does the camera lens stick out?
Product design is all about tradeoffs. Automobile manufacturers could build a car that would easily last 20 years. But at what price? Who could afford such a car? Likewise, Apple could have put a camera and lens into the iPhone and iPad, but would it have the same quality as the one that protrudes? Probably not.
Could Apple have built a slightly thicker case for the iPhone and iPad to ensure that there was no protruding camera lens? Yes. But then the device itself is thicker and slightly heavier.
See? Tradeoffs. Not design flaws. Tradeoffs.
Is there a problem or an inherent danger to the protruding camera lens? Potentially, but not likely. Again, tradeoffs. For the iPhone, most of us get an external case to protect the iPhone’s case, so the protruding lens is a non-issue. But the iPad Pro is marketing toward designers and some of Apple’s own promotional materials, visible online, show the iPad Pro being used flat on a table. Except flat doesn’t work, thanks to the protruding camera lens. The iPad Pro will wobble a bit and that would disrupt usage, especially to those who use the Pencil to draw on the screen.
Wobble. Not. Good.*
But it’s not a design flaw. More than likely even fastidious designers and those few purists who deign an iPad cover will compensate against the wobble– and provide more protection– by adding a cover.
*Just because we don’t like how something is designed– obviously on purpose, rather than as a mistake that nobody saw coming until the customer opened the package– does not mean it’s a flaw.