When they began thinking how you’d detach the top from the bottom, someone presented an idea. What if you swiped your finger along the finger scoop—the divot where you grab the lid to open the laptop—to release the top? And what if, while you were doing it, a small strip of LEDs would glow green to let you know it was ready to detach? It felt space age-y, and they could all imagine how cool it would look: the green lights lighting up, and click-click, the screen pops off. Everyone loved it.
Getting a strip of LEDs to come through a magnesium body was hard, but they did it. Getting magnesium to sense your finger reliably—also hard. But they did it. “We actually solved it,” Panay says, but it was the wrong solution. You’d have to do it just right, and maybe try it a few times, and your palm might accidentally do it for you. “It’s so gimmicky,” Panay says. “It was almost clickety-clack. We fell into our own trap. It was great for the commercial, but stupid for the product.”
I quite enjoyed this article, and I felt it exemplified what I’ve taken to calling “the new Microsoft” – trying to get away from the Old Microsoft of enterprise software and “we have a monopoly, so screw it” ideology, working to actually make good products that people want to use.
The passage above seemed especially significant to me, because it shows a certain amount of maturity as a company, and that they’ve captured one of those core aspects of what makes Apple… Apple.