Technology can be beautiful as well as functional, as evidenced by the wide array of different devices available around the world today. We lavish money, attention and pride upon our computers, electronics and machinery, and part of the reason for this is that we see them as beautiful objects.
Car enthusiasts can wax lyrical about the shape of the latest Lamborghini or Aston Martin, whilst hardcore computer fans geek out about custom built PCs with LEDs and visible water cooling systems. You don’t have to be particularly passionate, though, to appreciate a well-designed device. Plenty of people make decisions when purchasing mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, based on looks alone. This can extend out from the operating system, to the actual hardware, to the overall branding of the company that makes and sells them. And the market seems to be moving further and further in the direction of customisation and special product designs, rather than focusing solely on practicality.
Before we get started on the hardware, let’s take a look at how the appearance of apps has changed over the years. Since the launch of the very first iPhone back in 2007, apps have been growing in number, popularity and sophistication. Now, they cover everything from entertainment, to productivity, to health and wellbeing. With the increased capabilities of the devices that use them, apps have had to evolve in order to live up to the same standard. Different widgets, keyboards, browsers and social media icons can now be downloaded to your phone or tablet in order to implement a certain style or theme. However, the presentation within individual apps has also had to develop so that they look at their best when displayed on high spec phone screens, and so that they can keep up with the innovation of their competitors. For example, when watching this year’s Oscar winner on Netflix or playing the latest slots titles on PokerStarsCasino, images need to look crisp and colourful, and the app or webpage needs to be easy to navigate. Looking forward, it seems that the possibilities are endless for what app developers can achieve over the coming years in terms of artistic and creative digital output.
On to the hardware itself and smartphones are definitely the most widely used mobile devices. In fact, throughout many parts of the world, they are the number one way to access the internet, making them vitally important and eagerly coveted. For those markets that want the very best available as soon as it hits the shelves, developers can go all out to create some of the most beautiful and highly functioning pieces of technology ever created. For example, the OnePlus 9 released this year features, amongst other things, a Hasselblad camera with 8K video capabilities and a freeform lens. This means that, not only is the phone itself a gorgeously rendered piece of tech, but it also creates beauty through its out-of-this-world camera. Though the iPhone 13 has not made an appearance yet, it is rumoured to have made seemingly minor cosmetic changes such as reducing the size of the notch, offering multiple different size options and implementing some camera improvements. Apple’s entire brand is built on the beauty of simplicity, and with every new iPhone release they try to cleave closer to this idea whilst also satisfying their customers’ need for novelty.
Of course, tablets are still incredibly popular items, sometimes surpassing the demand for laptops and desktop computers. Whereas originally they were viewed as something of a fad, it is now recognised that these elegant pieces of technology are actually valuable and practical in today’s world. The release of the 8th generation iPads may not come with a massive amount of software changes, but Apple knows that it is on to a winner with a bright and colourful display set within a deceptively simple design. This leaves space for the consumer to make their own mark using either add-on accessories or by making aesthetic choices on the screen itself. The market for tablet accessories such as wireless keyboard, mouses, cases and stands is currently booming, with all sorts of radical ideas taking flight on crowd funding sites. For example, the Qwerkywriter typewriter-inspired keyboard contrasts nicely with the ultra-modern and sleek look of the iPad. The reMarkable 2 tablet takes a different approach entirely, focusing on the look and feel of the physical device itself in order to appeal to those people who prefer pen and paper. This is a truly lovely piece of tech that marries all the best bits of both electronics and analogue tools to create something fresh, new and exciting. The world of tablets is still a dynamic place where developers are figuring out how best to make use of this portable technology, so there is still scope for originality.