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Book notes: Inside Apple

Book notes: Inside Apple


I don’t read book summaries. Neither should you. The following are mostly notes to myself, and are my interpretations.

This belongs to my collection of five books to learn about Apple's design:

  1. Inside Apple

  2. Creative Selection

  3. Insanely Simple

  4. Build

  5. Jony Ive

Like me, if you love Apple, get all of them. Read them slowly. I've gifted lot of these to the NATIVE (Urban Company's hardware division) team. I'm yet to read Build & Jony Ive. Planning to read them in the next few months.

I picked this book at the start of Jan 2024 because we were amidst restructuring the organisation with minor team changes and deciding the portfolio for the year. We also had Industrial Designers join the team in full-time capacity. We are about to design everything in-house. The time felt absolutely right to learn to set the right standards for the team.

  • People at Apple working on launch events are given watermarked copies of a booklet called Rules of the Road that details every milestone leading up to launch day. In the booklet is a legal statement whose message is clear: If this copy ends up in the wrong hands, the responsible party will be fired. Read a little bit about this here.

  • Apple picked one thing that they can do that's great. They knew it was Mac.

  • Tim Cook used to say that Apple could put its entire product line on a conference room table.

  • Apple is not set up to do twenty amazing things a year. At most it's three projects that can get a ton of attention at the executive level.

  • In most companies, the executive who runs the commerce website would control the photographic images on the site. Not at Apple, where one graphic arts team chooses images for the entire company.

  • You're hired and appreciated for your ability on the field, not your ability as a coach or manager.

  • In companies run by general-management concepts, the creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do. Not at Apple. Apple got rid of 4000 middle-managers.

  • Clear direction + individual accountability + a sense of urgency + constant feedback + clarity of mission — these attributes will give you a sense of Apple's values

  • A players hire A players, and B players hire C players.

  • At Apple, just two engineers wrote the code for converting Apple's Safari browser for the iPad.

  • There is no other field of human activity — including entertainment, sports, high fashion, or politics — which is so riddled by fads as business. Every day there is a newspaper headline, every week there is a magazine story, and perhaps with the Internet we will soon be saying every hour there is yet another "guru" that touts a new hero of business or a new method of solving problems which date back not merely ten years but far longer. At the least, the study of business history can prompt an executive to ask of each new "solution" to problems that can never be solved but only managed: How really lasting is this approach, this idea, this company?

  • Mike McCue (Flipboard) overtly thinks about the simplicity of Apple's design and attention to detail. "We are primarily about building a really pure user experience that is heavily thought through," "We will spend hours and hours and hours talking about a 'close' button in the corner of the screen and mocking it up, and going through hundreds of different design iterations on that before we settle on one that we like. That kind of attention to detail means that as a result you really can't do a lot of things. You have to just do a few things really, really well."

Recommended reads from this book:

© Copyright 2023, I guess.

© Copyright 2024, I guess.