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Retrospective: Steve Jobs' Mac design legacy

An historical overview of the Mac laptop and desktop designs during Steve Jobs' tenure at Apple.


The most visible hallmark of Steve Jobs' tenure at Apple is the appealing design of the products he and his colleagues created. Jobs and his team set hardware and software standards with the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, but he got his start with the cumbersome personal computer.

What we find most remarkable is that Jobs, his chief industrial designer Jony Ive, and the rest of Apple's design team were almost always three or four steps ahead of their Windows-based competition. We're hard-pressed to think of a single time when we asked "why didn't Apple think of that" in regard to a computer's look and feel.

In reviewing the history of Steve Jobs' contributions to desktop and laptop design, we tried to pick out the most iconic highlights. Even after paring the list down, we found almost 20 examples. This slideshow is not an exhaustive compendium of Steve Jobs' influence on technology product design, but we think it encapsulates the uncommon regularity with which he defined and redefined the personal computer.