The only thing I absolutely hate about the Google Pixel 6 is how ugly its cases are going to be…

Google Pixel 6 Protective Cover Case Alibaba

The Google Pixel 6 is coming… and with it, a barrage of hideous cases that completely destroy its beautiful aesthetic.

Roughly a month ago Jon Prosser claimed he had credible information regarding how the upcoming Google Pixel 6 would look. The images he shared with the world showed a radical new design that had a pretty standout visual detail – an elongated camera bump that covered the entire phone’s width… it was less of a bump and more of a ‘bumper’. My own personal thoughts on the design were mixed, although I have to admit it was refreshing to see Google investing effort into its Pixel range after an extremely lackluster performance last year. I am, however, having second thoughts after seeing the kinds of smartphone cases appearing on websites like Alibaba as we slowly approach the Pixel 6’s launch.

Google Pixel 6 Protective Cover Case Alibaba

You see, that camera belt may be a design feature, but it’s also a major design flaw once you consider that most smartphone users would end up buying protective cases to shield their expensive smartphones from damage. The benefit with almost every smartphone’s camera bump is that its camera exists INSIDE its body, so when case-designers make cases, the simple solution of navigating around the smartphone’s camera bump is to create a cutout there. The case has a rather manageable hole through which the camera peeks through, sort of like a ski-mask. That, however, isn’t possible with the Pixel 6… A look at the image below should explain why.

The fact that the Pixel 6’s camera module extends all the way from the left to the right makes it very difficult to create one single cutout. If one were to simply go about creating a camera hole, you’d essentially have a case that exists in two parts that are barely connected together near the middle. The case becomes a merely decorative product that simply protects the edges of the smartphone, giving no cover to the cameras, which in the case of the Pixel 6, are dangerously exposed. The only way to really overcome this problem and make a proper case would be to design OVER the phone’s wide camera bump, adding another 1-2 millimeters to it and making the bump EVEN LARGER. The cutout would then exist only around the lenses and not the bump itself… as you can see in the image below.

This ‘technical’ solution spells disaster for the Pixel 6’s aesthetics. It exaggerates the phone’s elongated camera bump, turning an elegant detail into an ugly caricature… and the minute you choose an opaque cover over a transparent one, it practically conceals every element of the Pixel 6’s design, making it look like “just another phone”, albeit with a monstrous bump around its camera, exposing a major flaw in Google’s design approach to the Pixel 6 – that smartphone designs exist in a bubble where phone-makers expect you to NOT put protective cases on expensive and fragile phones. Not Okay, Google.

Google Pixel 6 Protective Cover Case Alibaba

Google Pixel 6 Protective Cover Case Alibaba

Images via: Alibaba

Tesla hasn’t produced any new cars in over 2 years… but it can’t stop announcing them.

[This is an Editorial. The views, opinions, and positions expressed in this article are my own.]

Tesla’s most popular car to date, the Model 3, was announced in 2016. Its most recent production unit, the Model Y, was announced in March of 2019, more than 2 years ago. Ever since that moment up until now, Tesla’s debuted the Roadster 2nd Gen, the Tesla Semi, the Cybertruck, the Cyberquad, and finally today, an updated Roadster 2nd Gen (SpaceX Package). It hasn’t committed to a delivery date for any of them.

Imagine you ordered the iPhone 12 in 2020, and Apple said it would deliver the smartphone to you in 2021. You wait for a year and instead of receiving an iPhone 12, you receive news that Apple, instead of working on producing and delivering the iPhone 12, spent all that time designing an iPhone 12S. Apple now has two conceptual products in its catalog, and you, the consumer, have nothing in your hand. That’s the short story of the Tesla Roadster. If you’re one of the thousands of people who have been waiting for the 2nd Gen Roadster since 2019, you probably feel pretty annoyed that Tesla already announced a better version without even delivering on its previous version. You can’t even buy the Roadster 1st Gen since the company promptly discontinued it. In short, the Roadster is basically a myth at this point… quite like the Cybertruck.

Along with its Roadster 2nd Gen update, Tesla also sent a shoutout mail to the millions of people who ordered a Cybertruck saying… well, saying that the company hadn’t even begun producing it yet. The pickup truck, which was scheduled for delivery in 2021 will start production at the end of 2021. In short, that $100 pre-order you gave to the car company was just one massive paid newsletter program. You’re not going to receive cars by a long stretch in time… you’re just going to receive updates.

All this sort of proves one point that many people have been making for a while now. Let’s first start by acknowledging that producing cars is HARD. It’s an absolute herculean task taking a sketch or a concept render all the way to production – it requires a tonne of money, man-power, infrastructure, a robust supply chain, international cooperation, extensive testing, and a marketing team on steroids. That being said, it’s safe to opine that Tesla isn’t selling cars anymore – it’s selling hype, and more than an entrepreneur, Elon is a hypeman. There’s no doubt that Tesla is at the very forefront of innovation, but it’s difficult to digest that the company’s worth shot up from $75 billion in 2019, to $559 billion today when it hasn’t produced a single new car in the interim.

Full disclosure, I own Tesla stock. I saw its meteoric rise last year and fall this year. I’d love to drag Elon through the mud for being the market manipulator dudebro he is. Ever since his $420 tweet up until now, where he somehow has the power to make cryptocurrency values rise or fall just by tweeting about them, Musk is nothing but a self-proclaimed hustler but this isn’t about him, it’s about the effect he has on Tesla’s ability to hold its ground as a car manufacturer instead of becoming a hype manufacturer.

For the sake of context, let’s just look at what Tesla announced this weekend. The company’s NY account announced that the Roadster prototype was being showcased at the Petersen Automotive Museum, to which Elon promptly announced that the production model would look even better than the prototype, and a special SpaceX package (courtesy a collaboration between two of Elon’s companies) would see the Roadster getting a major acceleration upgrade of 0-60 in 1.1 seconds, thanks to the presence of cold air rocket thrusters built right into the automobile. Sounds fancy, right? Well, it also sounds imaginary because the Roadster IS imaginary. Those specs mean nothing if the product doesn’t exist. It’s a lot like Musk’s fancy underground tunnel network, which was supposed to help cars avoid traffic by blitzing through sub-surface tunnels at nearly the speed of sound. A demo video released by The Boring Company showed pretty much that, except the cars were moving at a paltry 40mph. Musk also was responsible for major fanfare around Neuralink, his revolutionary brain-augmenting hardware company. Their first major demo had nothing except for a few pigs demonstrating how the Neuralink chip could read brainwaves. Impressive, sure. Is it what Elon promised? Not by a far shot.

The irony of me being the editor of a design website that primarily covers conceptual content isn’t lost on me. However, those concepts don’t trade on the stock market. After a certain point, what’s the difference between Tesla and some designer with a Behance profile – they both announce concepts, except one of them’s a $559 billion-dollar company. What’s the point of innovation if it won’t exist for another half-decade (a conservative guess, no less)… we’re also assuming that Tesla will actually deliver on these promises – so if it doesn’t, how is Tesla any different than Theranos or Magic Leap??

You see, the reason I used Apple as an example earlier on is that barring the AirPower, Apple’s always been absolutely 100% certain of its capabilities. It announces products it intends on delivering in the near future. Apple is great at innovating WHILE managing its expectations… and if Tesla wants to be treated as a disruptor and a company modeled on the fast-paced Silicon Valley modus operandi, it better deliver too. Not on ideas, not on random flip-flops between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, but on expectations. Sure, I understand that car-companies often announce models that take a year or two to produce. However, Tesla isn’t most car companies, and the Roadster still doesn’t have a definite set-in-stone delivery date even 2 years post its announcement. Heck, the Cybertruck was announced 20 months ago and it still won’t begin production for another 6 months at the least. There’s no doubt in my mind that electric cars are the future… but let’s face it, every tweet Elon sends needs to end with “Terms and Conditions Apply”.

Designer Charlie Nghiem imagines what the Tesla Roadster SpaceX Package could look like

Ten Podcasts you should listen to if you’re a Creative or a Designer in 2021

Working from home comes with its perks, but also with its fair share of loneliness. I like being the king of my castle and working in my pajamas, but for most of the time I spend working, I stay alone. I’ve been listening to YouTube videos in the background for a while now, but I only installed my first podcast app in 2018. Over the last two years (primarily 2019), podcasts have been my way of surrounding myself with informative (and sometimes comedic) chitchat. Podcasts are a great way to pass time while you’re sketching, or searching Pinterest for mood-board images, or selecting multiple edges and faces of a solid to apply a complex variable fillet on. I personally love listening to them as I eat, travel, edit images I need to add to my articles, or while tinkering around with design software. These podcasts are a lovely way to fill the silent gaps in your average WFH day, and offer a great alternative to the discourse you’d have at your workplace, be it about design, tech, creativity, self-help, or occasionally, even politics. Here are my 2021 picks for podcasts to listen to if you’re a creative.

1. TheFutur Podcast

Led by TheFutur team and Chris Do (who recently launched a book too), TheFutur Podcast is literally like going to design university for free, which is why we put it on the top of our list this year. Chris Do is one of the most prolific design gurus of our time and offers excellent advice on common design problems, whether it’s what to charge as a designer, to whether you should follow your passion or paycheck. TheFutur Podcast oscillates between insightful debates to meaningful interviews with designers in the industry who share their own tips and tricks to ‘making it’ in the diz-biz (that’s what I’m calling it from now on). They have some great videos on YouTube too.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

2. Solvable

Solvable showcases the world’s most innovative thinkers and their proposed solutions to the world’s most daunting problems. Conducted by Malcolm Gladwell (Revisionist History) and Jacob Weisberg, these interviews explore and acknowledge the complexity of the issues while inspiring hope that the problems are, as the name of the title suggests, solvable. The show tackles broader systemic problems like global hunger, vaccine distribution, destructive agriculture, the tech gender gap, and so on.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

3. Food by Design: an IDEO Podcast

Perhaps one of the biggest systems challenges to ever present itself to us – the way we grow, produce, distribute, and consume our food. From the fine chaps at IDEO, this podcast tackles the various aspects of our complex food chain… from how we grow our plants to how much we tip our waiters. Listen in just to get a sense of how one of the world’s largest creative consultancies thinks and works.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

4. Designed This Way

Designed This Way is the east’s answer to Design Matters with Debbie Millman. Hosted by Kawal Oberoi, a graphic designer and brand consultant from India, Designed This Way lets you be a fly on the wall as Kawal has candid conversations with leading designers from India and even outside the subcontinent. The podcast helps uncover “not just the stories of courage, hard work, and success but also the stories of mistakes, rejections, and doubts.” A great podcast to listen to if you want to know more about a country that is only just discovering the power of design, and more about the people leading the way.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

5. The Honest Designers Show

The Honest Designers Show is one of my most frequently recommended podcasts for designers. Rather than dealing with in-depth interviews, it feels like sitting in the break room with fellow designers and literally talking about design. Hosted by Tom Ross, Ian Barnard, Dustin Lee, and Lisa Glanz (all accomplished designers in their own right), the podcast never fails to tackle relevant topics and deliver some key insights to designers about various things, from working with creative blocks, to using social media to your to propel your portfolio, determining your value as a freelancer, and even working effectively with your clients.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

6. Should This Exist?

A question every designer must ask before creating a product or a solution, ‘Should This Exist?’ tackles the toughest part of being a creative. It questions whether products are solving problems or exacerbating them, and presents you with a perspective that makes you wonder whether the act of creation requires more scrutiny. Give this podcast a listen, it’ll recalibrate your empathy and world-view. The podcast hasn’t released any episodes this year, but every one of its episodes from the past is a gold-mine. Personal favorite episodes – “When your invention becomes a weapon”, and “Tell your troubles to the chatbot”.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

7. This Week In Tech

The last word in tech is the first news of the week. This Week In Tech is hosted every Sunday night, so you begin your week with the freshest news and perspectives on the world of tech. Hosted by Leo Laporte, this one’s special to me because it’s the first podcast I ever listened to. In fact, it’s been running for so long, it used to be called a netcast before the word podcast was in the mainstream. Leo brings his wisdom and humor together along with a panel of the who’s who in tech journalism. Add this to your list if you like a slice of technology news along with your design breakfast every week. The show is available in a video format too, you can use the YouTube button below to view their episodes.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube

8. Creative Confidence Podcast

The podcast follows in the footsteps of the book Creative Confidence by IDEO founders David and Tom Kelly. Think of it as a TED Talk just for creatives – The IDEO U Creative Confidence Podcast hosts candid conversations with some of today’s most inspiring change makers, design thinkers, and creative minds. What’s even more refreshing is that the show meticulously sources and invites guests from incredibly gender and race-diverse backgrounds.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

9. Working

The greatness of design is that its goal lies in helping uplift other industries and fields. Being a designer often means working with (and often looking at the world through the eyes of) people from a wide variety of professions, whether they’re businessmen, scientists, doctors, engineers, celebrities, etc. Working is a podcast that dives into how different professions work and how professionals in these fields go about their day. With over 200 episodes and counting, Working interviews a complete gamut of people, from curators at MoMA, to husbands of influencers, coders at NASA, firefighters, and even a few designers too. A great way to understand how professions work, how systems function, and even to help spot areas of intervention in these systems for creative problem-solving.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

10. Product Hunt Radio

Coming from the popular product discovery site, Product Hunt, this weekly podcast show has Ryan Hoover and Abadesi Osunsade interview founders, investors, journalists, and makers to discuss today’s products and tomorrow’s topics. Whether it’s in the field of design, funding, marketing, or even of podcasts, the show finds out how people found success in their industries, and what lies in the future for them and the world.
WebsiteApple PodcastsSpotify

Apple’s new M1 iMacs show how powerful desktop workstations can still have sex appeal

This year’s first Apple event was just bursting with color, part of which can be attributed to Apple’s latest iMac series, revamped to look absolutely fabulous in their 7 different colors, and that drop-dead sleek avatar that leaves little to be desired.

While this article addresses what the new iMac is capable of, it’s also a testament to how beautiful the device’s design is. Harking back to its G3 days, the 2021 iMacs bring colors back into the mix, with seven deliciously appealing hues to choose from (including the white variant). The iMacs are built to be stunningly thin, at just 11mm in thickness, sport Apple’s flagship M1 chip on the inside, and are redesigned to look and feel so sexy, they make me actually consider switching over to the other side… and at a starting price of $1299, it sort of feels worth it.

What instantly stands out is the iMac’s deceptively sleek design. At 11mm, it’s about as thick as the first iPhone that launched in 2007, showing how far we’ve come in the past decade. Now, this 11mm thick beauty houses some of the most capable computing tech in the world, and it’s powered by Apple’s M1 chip. Fun fact, as pointed out by MKBHD, the iMac actually shifts the 3.5mm headphone jack to the side instead of the back, because it isn’t thick enough to have the jack travel all the way in!

It’s debatable whether a white bezel and a large pastel-colored chin is actually pleasing to the eye, but I personally love this new avatar. Just like the creatives that use it, the iMac is a combination of professional and playful, serious and fun. The device comes in 7 colors, using the same anodized aluminum body seen in the iPods from ages ago, although those materials and technologies have definitely come a long way. On the front, the iMac comes outfitted with a 1080p camera which leverages the M1 chip’s ability to run incredibly powerful ISP (Image Signal Processing) algorithms to make sure the lighting’s always great, the exposure’s perfect, and your face looks good on video, all the time, every time.

Within that large chin lies the iMac’s sound system. Now, there isn’t much you could fit into an 11-millimeter chassis, but Apple’s engineering team manages to squeeze in a lot. It uses not one, but two subwoofer units (facing in opposite directions so they cancel out any physical vibrations) on each side of the display, along with a single tweeter on either side, resulting in a 6-driver setup that creates a massive soundscape, tuned to support Dolby Atmos.

My personal favorite feature is the redesigned charging apparatus. The 2021 iMac brings the magnetic charging connector back, which satisfyingly snaps right into its port. The iMacs themselves only sport Thunderbolt ports on the back (and a 3.5mm jack on the side), leaving a vacancy for the traditional ethernet cable. To make up for this, Apple redesigned the charger block to have its own ethernet port that supplies power as well as internet to your iMac. This incredibly genius move means one less port on your iMac, while also helping reduce the chaos of cables on your table… all while retaining functionality!

With the redesigned iMac also comes a slew of redesigned accessories, including the Magic Keyboard, which, apart from also coming in color variants (to match your machine), also have a dedicated emoji button, and the option between a lock button on the top right, or a TouchID key that lets you unlock your iMac, approve of file transfers, app-installs, and even of payments! Along with the keyboard, the Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad get color makeovers too.

The new iMacs start at a pretty modest price of $1299, and come with an 8-core CPU, a 7-core GPU, and that mammoth M1 chip. While some may debate that their new colored avatar makes them look slightly like a toy, to them I say, grab the white iMac and quit whining. With these new colored computers, Apple is really showing how design can delight with computing power as well as CMF. As a pretty harsh Apple critic myself, I can’t help but constantly ogle at these colorful Macintoshes… and while the M1’s performance really speaks for itself, this delightfully vibrant design has enough sex appeal to push Windows users over the fence and have them taking a closer look at these Mac machines!

Designer: Apple

This iPhone case gives your smartphone the Apple Mac Pro ‘cheesegrater’ texture

“Never knock an idea until you actually try it.”

My opinion on the 2019 Mac Pro has aged pretty well, I’d say. Sure, my reaction (which came just moments after the design was released) may have been premature, and so were the memes that followed the debut of the ‘cheesegrater Mac’… but even now, 2 years down the line, it feels slightly cathartic to know that my opinion hasn’t really changed – the 2019 Mac Pro still looks visibly odd and sort of gets my skin crawling.

Recently though, the media discovered a patent for an iPhone that used the ‘cheesegrater’ texture for efficient cooling or thermal transmission, and let’s just say, people weren’t happy. Some even legitimately debunked it as an April Fool’s Prank from Apple. My thoughts on the matter weren’t any different – it sounds like a terrible idea, but I thought the best thing to do would be to really give Apple the benefit of the doubt and MAKE a cheesegrater iPhone just so I have something to visually judge it by.

Presenting, the ‘Cheesegrater’ Case for the iPhone 12 Pro. Made from a TPE bumper and a machined aluminum backplate, the case puts the familiar cheesegrater texture on the back of the iPhone to help it cool more efficiently (well at least in theory). In theory, it’s also perfectly suited to mince cloves of garlic or grate some Parmigiano Reggiano.

Now that we have a (sort of) clear vision of what the cheesegrater texture would look like on an iPhone, let’s objectively and subjectively judge this. For starters, it just looks like a really bad idea. Objectively speaking, a textured metal body would most certainly trap dirt, dust, pieces of lint, aside from also preventing the phone from wirelessly charging. The current textured metal plate is 1mm thick, and for any sort of texture, you’d need 3D depth which adds unnecessary thickness to the phone – something Apple probably won’t want to do. Subjectively speaking, the texture looks worse on the iPhone than on the Mac Pro (although it may also be my execution). Apple’s patent file states “the components of the electronic device may be designed to provide a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user”, a purpose that gets defeated when even Digital Trends calls it “Apple’s worst-ever design idea”. Moreover, at that scale, the texture could actually be used as a garlic press or a microplane for grating hard cheeses, which makes it difficult to take seriously when the texture is on a $1200 flagship smartphone. Let’s not even get into the ‘trypophobia’ angle.

My opinions aside, it seems like a weird idea for Apple to take such an extreme route for “enhanced levels of heat removal”. What exactly is the iPhone doing that it would even need desktop-grade heat removal? Is Apple going all-in on AR, or is it looking to put more powerful Apple-built silicone chips in their new iPhones? We’ll never really know. All we can say with a certain degree of confidence is that a ‘Cheesegrater’ iPhone isn’t really a great idea…

If you really want to make your own ‘Cheesegrater’ iPhone case, you can download the 3D files by clicking here.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

Skullcandy’s $25 ‘affordable’ TWS earphones are going to be an absolute disaster for our environment

What can you buy for $25? A great bottle of wine? Two large pizzas? A pair of TWS earphones? No, not those cheap ones off of AliBaba, I’m talking a real pair of TWS earphones from a bonafide audio company. Earlier today, Skullcandy launched Dime, a pair of budget wireless earbuds. They come with a 12-hour battery life (with the case), are IPX4 water-resistant, and cost 1/10th the price of the AirPods. At a price of $24.99, the Dime might be the cheapest pair of TWS earphones from a reputed audio brand.

“Dime breaks down all barriers formerly associated with true wireless,” says Jeff Hutchings, Skullcandy’s chief product officer, in a press release, “Offering stellar sound and unmatched simplicity at a price that makes it possible to throw a pair in every bag.” The TWS earphones come with a plastic construction and in 4 colours – Black, Gray, Green, and Blue. At their ‘throwaway’ price, the earphones really cut corners in a few places. They come with a 3.5 hour battery life, extended to half a day when charged in the case. The Dime doesn’t sport ANC (or any noise cancellation for that matter) or wireless charging. In fact, the earbuds don’t even come with touch-sensitive controls. They do, however, come with actual buttons (one on each earbud) that let you control volume, answer/reject calls, or cycle through music. Other than that, they’re just a pair of solid earphones with a secure fit and an IPX4 water-resistance rating, making them perfect for wearing while going on a jog or while at the beach. As far as sound-quality is concerned, $25 bucks will only get you so far… but given this is coming from a company as big as Skullcandy, they should sound pretty good for their price.

While this is a story about consumer-friendly innovation and how one company managed to make good TWS tech accessible to a large group of people by bringing the price down, it’s also a story of the environmental aftermath of such decisions. The earphones come made from plastic, although there’s really no indication of whether the plastic’s recycled or not (my money is on ‘No’). However, that’s just a small part of the Dime’s critique. The most important part about these earphones really is their price tag and the ‘throwaway’ culture that tag really feeds into, intentionally or unintentionally. At $25, there’s no way these earphones are designed to be repaired (repairing them may actually be more expensive), which means if and when they ever get spoilt, Skullcandy just expects you to throw out the old pair out and buy a new one instead. Given their size, and how ridiculously tiny the components within them are, chances are they’ll never be recycled for parts either… and once thrown, the Dime will just end up in a landfill or the ocean, resulting in plastic pollution, e-waste, and millions of tiny lithium-ion batteries entering our soil or waterways. Skullcandy? More like Skull-and-cross-bones…

Designer: Skullcandy

An iPhone with a Nokia-style sliding keyboard would make more sense than a folding phone

It’s the year 2005, and Nokia’s E-Series phones have a cult following that’s difficult to ignore. The phones came with a relatively large-ish screen, but what really sealed the deal was the fact that you could slide the screen to reveal a nifty, usable QWERTY keyboard underneath. Before the iPhone became the computer in your pocket, the Nokia E-Series phones were the computers in everyone’s pockets. The E stood for Executive, and it wasn’t uncommon to see businessmen in suits strutting down the road with Nokia phones in their hand and Jabra earpieces in one ear. It was the iPhone and AirPods combo, nearly 15 years prior.

I think the fundamental problem with the smartphone touchscreen isn’t its size, it’s how we use it. Screens have a finite amount of space for infinite amounts of data, which makes designing interfaces really complicated, and using them even more so. In that regard, just empirically, a bigger screen on a smartphone doesn’t make it ‘better’… which is why this concept by Johan Gustafsson feels so refreshing. In a world where smartphones are finding new ways to push more pixels into a smartphone, Gustafsson’s iPhone Q brings a level of sensibility to that computer in your pocket – by simply making it a miniature computer!

The iPhone Q (named after the fact that it comes with a dedicated QWERTY keyboard) presents a bold ‘new’ vision for the iPhone. I use the word ‘new’ in air-quotes because while adding a dedicated tactile keyboard to a phone isn’t new, it’s new for the iPhone, and more importantly, it presents a new format as smartphone companies desperately try to make their phones look less blockish and more gimmicky. In a world of folding phones with creased displays, pathetic battery-lives, and clunky bodies, the iPhone Q feels like that perfect premium, enterprise-grade smartphone to pair with the iPad Pro or the MacBook Pro. The phone comes sans a notch, but makes up for the lack of a front-facing camera with a complete tactile keyboard right underneath the screen. The screen slides upwards in landscape mode, revealing the 42-key keyboard below, which can be used as a much more functional alternative to the on-screen keyboard, allowing you to quickly replay to messages and send out emails in a jiffy. A dual-lens camera on the back reinforces the fact that the iPhone Q is less of a multimedia device, and more of a piece of functional hardware, designed for a niche of executive users.

Sure, the iPhone Q is just a concept, but even conceptually, it feels much more contextual and sensible than a folding iPhone with a larger screen. Quite like the iPhone Pro, designed for professional media-creators, the iPhone Q serves a niche group of users, becoming a perfect alternative to people who still use BlackBerries. Sure, they may be a small group RIGHT NOW, but if the iPhone did sport a dedicated slide-out keyboard, I’m pretty sure a lot of executives and office-goers would promptly make the shift!

Designer: Johan Gustafsson

Yanko Design’s latest showcase of women designers and their most innovative designs

On the 12th of December last year, we shared statistics from the Design Council Survey in 2018 that outlined an interesting fact. Even though design universities and colleges see a healthy amount of diversity, with a 60:40 female to male ratio, the industry was a completely different story, with 95% of industrial designers being male. This led us to ask ourselves a couple of questions as a design publication, about how we could be a part of the solution, rather than the problem. YD has always been a platform that equalizes, looking at work from established studios as well as student designers through the same lens. It’s that very experience-diversity that runs through Yanko Design’s DNA… and we’re proud to announce that we’re working towards ensuring the designs we feature are gender-diverse too.

Today, on International Womens’ Day, YD is proud to announce a new Category for Womxn Designers. Among all the designs we feature, from industrial products to technology, and from architecture to transportation design, the Womxn Designer category will act as an ever-expanding archive for innovative work from the women of our design community. The outcomes of this will be two-fold. Not only will it be one of the only places on the internet to find great designs from women designers (for inspiration as well as for recruiters), but we hope it’ll also encourage women to enter the design industry with more confidence, helping bridge the wide gap between the diversity we see in design colleges, versus the design industry. Happy Womens’ Day, everyone! Design is a tool for problem-solving and social empowerment… so let’s start by building a community and industry of diverse voices and backgrounds!

Click Here to see Iinnovative Designs from Women Designers

Layout Image – Voyager Mixed Reality Glasses by Seunghye Han, Sieun Roh & Soomin Son

This simple idea hopes to turn Amazon into the world’s biggest sustainable second-hand store

Ever wondered how difficult it is to get rid of stuff? Or rather, get rid of stuff at the right price? Our current e-commerce setup is perfect for buying and selling new things, but that’s about it… It doesn’t encourage thrifting, second-hand selling, renting, recycling, or repairing. You can ask Alexa to order you a coffee machine and it arrives at your doorstep the next day; but what do you do when the coffee machine needs repairing? Or if you want to sell the machine because you don’t really use it? That’s where Scott Amron’s brilliant idea comes in.

We spoke to Scott about Amazon After back in 2019 when it was just a nascent idea. Over the last year, Scott’s had some time to really develop the idea and flesh its details out. His idea broadly builds on Amazon’s ability to serve its customers, extending its world-class service beyond just the ‘Checkout’ button. With Amazon After, your product journey doesn’t end with the checkout. Amazon After actively manages your products after you buy them, giving you the ability to check their second-hand value, and resell them, rent them, recycle them, repair them, or donate them… or as Scott says, “Amazon After can add value to every Amazon purchase and extend the life cycle of the products Amazon sells. It puts the customer first, after.”

Scott describes Amazon After as a ‘very smart wanted ad’. Someone who wants to purchase a product gets the option of buying it second-hand at a lower price. They input their asking value and Amazon instantly notifies every single person who bought that product. If a product-owner finds the asker’s price agreeable, Amazon facilitates the purchase just like it would when you buy something from an Amazon Seller. The product is collected from one owner and delivered to the new owner, and Amazon gets a small cut… but more interestingly enough, it ensures people who don’t need a product aren’t forced to own it, and can easily get rid of it for a quick buck. What’s more exciting is that Scott believes this will actually drive people to use the Amazon service and the app much more, allowing them to easily open their past orders and see exactly how much all their products are worth on the second-hand market. If at any point in time you see a potential buyer quoting an amount of money you’re happy with, just agree to the trade and Amazon jumps in to be the facilitator. It also creates a powerful market for collectibles… something Scott noticed when he went to buy a BB8 toy for his child, only to see it was being resold as a collectible for nearly 10 times the actual retail price.

Obviously, this new buyer-seller interaction hinges solely on sellers conforming to the ‘trust code’. The ability to resell products would only be available to Prime members, creating an exclusive club of resellers (one that anyone can join), and these members will be expected to be honest while reselling their products, listing if it’s unused, overused, damaged, or defective. Moreover, the Amazon After feature also unlocks other abilities, like donating items, finding repairers, or efficient recyclers. If you have a niche product that requires an expert to fix (say a Smoke Alarm for example), Amazon currently doesn’t offer any after-sales services – apart from probably letting you download the user manual. With Amazon After, you can have the right people come over and fix it, or even dispose of it effectively for you, enabling it to be recycled properly. You see, Amazon already handles returns, so it’s just a small yet significant upgrade on their part to also handle reselling as well as repair… but for the consumer, it gives you a reason to shop on the e-commerce website knowing that you’ll be entitled to Amazon’s state-of-the-art services even after you hit that ‘Buy Now’ button. Not to mention the fact that it keeps products in circulation, so that the “Currently Unavailable” sign becomes a thing of the past and people are more inclined to buy, sell, and use pre-loved products… sort of like the world’s largest thrift or second-hand store!

Designer: Amron Experimental (Scott Amron)

The Amazon After service isn’t affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon. There is no existing partnership or collaboration between the service and Amazon. The Amazon trademark is owned by Amazon.

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