with some interesting information about prototyping at Apple:
It's a process where they discover the product through constantly
creating new iterations. A lot of companies will do six or seven
prototypes of a product, because each one takes time and money. Apple
will do a hundred -- that's how many they did of the Macbook. Steve
Jobs doesn't wake up one morning and there's a vision of an iPhone
floating in front of his face. He and his team discovered it through
this exhaustive process of building prototype after prototype.
The prototypes are fully functioning. They have a studio packed with
high-end manufacturing equipment. Initially the prototypes are built
in big polycarbonate boxes, but as they perfect the enclosure they'll
build fully functioning models in the studio and then on factory
lines to make sure they can be manufactured.
One of the important things about this process is they often find
what fails. Jobs has said he's as proud of the stuff they haven't
done as the stuff they have done. They made a PDA in the late 90s to
compete with Palm, but they never released it because it didn't live
up to their expectations.
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