Hot fifty – Apple

If design head Jonathan Ive’s proven creative prowess isn’t enough, the launch of the iPhone last autumn guarantees Apple a place among the 2008 Hot 50. Its touch-screen technology has changed the way in which we expect to communicate, and brought new hand gestures into international sign language.

The early models of the iPhone are not without their problems, and the West Coast company has been accused of cynicism in the way it dropped the price dramatically a couple of months after the US launch, leaving early adopters wondering why they’d paid so much to be first. There have been concerns, too, about the fact that it only works on selected mobile networks – O2 is the chosen provider in the UK – and the cost of downloads.

These issues notwithstanding, the iPhone is a rare, breakthrough product, blending an elegant physical form that feels great in your hand with an incomparable digital interface.

We have come to expect excellence from Apple and it rarely fails to oblige. Take the newly launched ultra-slim MacBook Air laptop. The company has already scored more design awards for its products than most manufacturers, and we can expect to see the iPhone and Air following suit in the next round of prize-giving ceremonies.

But even without the awards, Apple continues to merit a place in the Hot 50 – it is an exemplary company using great design in everything it does, from product to packaging and promotions.


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