Design Thinking @Apple

Design Thinking: The Process behind Apple´s invention of the iPhone

“A widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device”. With the audience eagerly anticipating the unveiling of three new gadgets, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a revolutionary product. The iPhone 1 combined all those functionalities in a single device. Up until now, 2 billion units of the iPhone have been sold. And at the core of the iPhone´s astounding success lies a single, powerful idea: the process of inventing something revolutionary with the power of design thinking.

While Apple’s seamless presentation of the iPhone might have made the invention process seem effortless, it actually was the result of a very thorough and human centered approach to design. By empathizing with the user, Apple identified a need for a smart and easy-to-use phone that could be used anywhere and at any time. This resulted from an observation of the clunky, button-heavy phones that were common at the time and of people having to carrying multiple devices to listen to music and communicate online. Through a process of furthermore defining the problem, ideating solutions, prototyping and testing, Apple was able to create a product that was truly revolutionary and has since become an indispensable part of modern life.


Steve Jobs famously hated buttons as they limit the device’s ability to adapt to various applications run by the user. Drawing on the success of the iMac’s big, adaptive screen, he challenged his team to create a new way for users to interact with their devices that didn’t rely on a mouse or keyboard. Apple had to ideate a new way of making an interaction between the user and the device possible and still keep “The Apple Way” like the stakeholders, such as users, investors and creditors expected.


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