Everything is a remix - even the iPhone!

Everything is a remix - the popular series that showed how films, including Star Wars, are never as original as we think they may be - has shifted attention towards the iPhone. In the video above, Kirby Ferguson highlights both the real-world object influence on the original iPhone design (skeuomorphism) and the influence of Android and Windows Phone on iOS 7.

I'd quibble that webOS doesn't get the credit it deserves, but the point is this: almost everything is derivative. The important thing is whether the derivation becomes something more and pushes the state of the art farther forward.

"Great artists steal" doesn't mean replication or deliberate confusion, it means inspiration. No artist is happy signing someone else's work. They're happy learning from it and then eclipsing it.

Apple has seldom if ever been first-to-market with any new technology. Indeed, their success has been predicated upon not being first-for-the-few, but on being best-for-the-most.

The were command lines before the Apple II, graphical user interfaces before the Mac, and multitouch before the iPhone, but they weren't accessible to most people most of the time. Mainstreaming technology, making it not just affordable but approachable, is the strength of Apple's particular kind of remix.

Source: Kirby Ferguson

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Everything is a remix - even the iPhone!


This really seems to be Apple's talent. Kind of like Dyson... Re-invigorate something in a way that is easily approachable to as many people as possible. So far, it works for me.

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And in the vein of Apple, my goal is to make my children better than I am or ever was.

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Great article Kirby! I think approach is how can we something a better user experience than before.

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Very interesting. Sometimes you have to be reminded of where you came from to know where you're going.
There is only so far you can revise and improve upon something. You can't improve the design of a wheel, nor can you change it. It is the ultimate design.

I don't think there's anything that's entirely original in the world anymore. Most of the things we see today are inspired by other objects. Same applies for smartphones. I think it's okay to copy other's work/to get inspiration from them as long as they don't just blatantly copy the work as it is but they also improve on it.