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Jason Snell for Macworld
October 6, 2016 8:40 AM PT
Keep it simple. That’s been Apple’s design philosophy for ages. Whether it’s buttons or ports, the history of modern Apple design makes it clear that Apple is a company that looks at every product and asks, “Could there be less stuff on this thing?”
When Steve Jobs announced the original Apple Remote, he displayed a slide comparing it to two typical TV remotes—one with 43 buttons and the other with 45. In contrast, the Apple Remote had six. The third-generation iPod Shuffle was designed with no buttons at all, an extreme decision that led to a rare flip-flop on Apple’s part—the next generation of the Shuffle reverted to the previous design, which offered playback controls.
The most recent examples of Apple’s minimalist philosophy—it’s become a running joke to call this “Apple’s war on buttons—are the MacBook and the iPhone 7. The MacBook, introduced in 2015, offered a single USB-C port and a headphone jack, and that was it. And of course, the iPhone 7 lacks a headphone jack, making it simpler still.
The trend is clear and consistent: Those familiar things you’ve got on the outside of your Apple products are coming off. Or at least, some of them are, if Apple can figure out a way to do it with minimal fuss and loss of functionality. With the headphone jack cleared away, then, it’s worth considering what’s left—and what’s next to go.