Apple releases $300 book containing 450 photos of Apple products

Running out of Christmas ideas for that diehard Apple fan in your life? Well, how about a $299 coffee table book filled with 450 photographs of Apple products present and past. The iPhone-maker unveiled just such a tome today, announcing that the book will go on sale tomorrow at and in select Apple retail stores. It’s a hardcover edition, bound in linen, and is available in two sizes: $199 for a smaller 10.20" x 12.75" version, and $299 for a larger 13" x 16.25" edition. The book is simply called Designed by Apple in California — a title that somehow manages to be both humble and pretentious at the same time.

The photos inside are all new images shot by Andrew Zuckerman, and will show off 20 years of Apple design "in a deliberately spare style." In a press statement, chief designer Jony Ive described the book as "a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years," and hoped would serve as a "resource for students of all design disciplines."

In the foreword to the book, Ive writes:

While this is a design book, it is not about the design team, the creative process, or product development. It is an objective representation of our work that, ironically, describes who we are. It describes how we work, our values, our preoccupations, and our goals. We have always hoped to be defined by what we do rather than by what we say.

We strive, with varying degrees of success, to define objects that appear effortless. Objects that appear so simple, coherent, and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative.

The book is published by Apple itself, and is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. It is, undeniably, an act of corporate vanity publishing on quite an impressive scale, but if pretty much any other tech company were to do it, it’d be a joke. Not so with Apple. No one denies that when it comes to industrial design, Apple has earned all the praise it gets.

However, the book’s publication does suggest a certain amount of self-interest and navel-gazing from Apple — a theme that was also present in September’s unveiling of the new MacBook Pros. It’s all very well to feel proud of the successes of the past, but let’s hope Apple can feel justified releasing another such book 20 years from now.

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