It was an Apple keynote. There were bound to be criticisms.

Michael Gartenberg Michael Gartenberg has covered the personal technology beat for more than two decades at places like Gartner, Jupiter Research and Altimeter Group. Most recently, he spent a few years at Apple as Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing.

There are designs that are so timeless and pure they define a category

From why the faux bokeh (FaKeh) isn't ready for shipment, to why some Apple executives keep their shirts tucked in and some untucked (there really is a reason, but I still have confidentiality agreements in place), there's one critique about Apple's Fall event that I didn't expect. Just one thing took me by surprise. It was the critique that Apple was using a two-year-old hardware design. Surely the sign of the apocalypse! Clearly, proof that Apple, not only can't innovate from a technology perspective, but now also from a design perspective.

Except… I don't know what those critics are talking about. There are designs that are so timeless and pure they define a category. There are designs that don't change for the sake of change. There are designs that so embody the products they define that changes are sparse, if ever.

Those designs are almost always best-of-breed products. Ever look at a Rolex Submariner? It's the purest expression of Rolex, ever since James Bond strapped one on. Its iconic design has barely changed, although the latest models can take you down to the Mariana Trenches if you desire. Have you looked at a Porsche 911? It's a car that defines its class. It also hasn't changed an awful lot over the years. I could go on.

The iPhone design hasn't changed just for the sake of change

iPhone SE's form factor defines its size. There was no need for Apple to come up with something else for the four-inch device. It already had the right design. Likewise, the form factor for the 7 series has already been defined. It works. Like those other products mentioned, it has evolved. It hasn't changed just for the sake of change.

I was surprised was that Apple didn't seize the moment to point this out. Yes, Sir Jony did say something to that effect. Unfortunately, he did so deep in a design babble I could barely understand.

My critique of Apple isn't doing what it should — use a perfect expression of a form to make the best device. My curiosity is why Apple marketing didn't see this most predictable line of attack and deal with it directly on stage (and I mean in language understandable by humans).

I know Apple is proud of iPhone designs. They should be. Something can't be iconic if it's not used time and again. If you think I'm wrong then tell BMW to kill that kidney shaped grill.

Warmest regards, [m]