I really don't understand the grousing about the book. If you're not in the market for a $200 coffee table book, then don't buy it. It's not like they made the decision to produce this book instead of ever updating the Mac Pro.
If this is something nobody wants, how come there have been multiple similar books published by other parties? For all the talk of how Apple is up their own asshole with this, here are just small excerpts of the rapturous descriptions of Iconic,
taken from its own site:
ICONIC takes the reader on a breathtaking tour of some of the most visually stunning and important products from one of the most loved brands in the world.
Breathtaking! Visually stunning! One of the most loved brands in the world!
Wow, Apple is really — oh, wait, I forgot, it's not Apple writing that.
Iconic: The Classic Plus Edition is a Classic Edition that ships with a beautiful Kivar black slip case. Kivar is a black tactile decorative covering with a soft matte finish that is strong and durable. This gives your book an extra stand out on your book shelf with a bold look that is beautiful and luxuriously appealing to the touch.
For the mega Apple fans and enthusiasts, the Ultimate Edition includes a magnificent white Cromwell Aristo Grain clamshell case with a custom embedded LED that triggers a pulsing sleep cycle on movement, two original 8.5" x 11" prints and a letter of authenticity from the author.
Yes, the magnificent
case literally has blinking LEDs for your bookshelf. For the mega fans. And it comes with a letter of authenticity, in case people think you bought one of those fake
copies of Iconic.
And the ultimate edition isn't actually the ultimate edition. If you're a "true Apple fan," as opposed to merely a mega fan, you'll get the special edition
The book must be level on the surface you are placing it on, and the book must be placed precisely flush within the slipcase before being inserted into the custom case. When you receive the Special Edition, you will see a special instruction page that highlights this. You will need to make sure that you follow these directions otherwise there is a chance the dust jacket could get caught on the edge of the custom case.
Nothing says "design" like a book that requires special instructions to open and close.
This is going to sound super snobby, but Iconic
feels like someone who had never seen a $250 art book got to make their idea of what a $250 book would be like. It's a stack of gimmicks to make it feel "fancy" and valuable. Blinking lights! Metal covers! Certificates of authenticity! Four editions, each more "limited" and "deluxe" then the last! Slipcases inside of slipcases!
Apple's offering is — as one would expect — vastly superior. It's incredibly understated in comparison, of course. No slipcase, not even a casewrap or dust jacket, because it's a book stripped to its essentials. It's a book-shaped book. All of the "excesses" of its production — custom papers, custom inks — are there to serve the photography.
It's a fancy book done right. Given the market for books of Apple product photography, should Apple have not made their superior option available? If it was gifted to employees as a holiday gift, or if it was only sold at the Campus Store, these things would be hitting eBay so hard that $200 would look cheap.
$200 is not cheap, of course. This is, to be sure, a luxury item, more stainless steel link bracelet than iPod touch. But the pricing is not at all out of line with other art or photography books, even ones that weren't made to such exacting standards. There is no "Apple tax" here. I think there's this idea, from people who perhaps aren't very familiar with art and photography books, that Apple took a book that "should" cost forty dollars max
and thirty on Amazon and is instead charging $200 for it because Apple. After all, who ever heard of a $200 book?
It's utterly ridiculous!
To put it politely, I don't think people who believe this book "should" be cheaper have any idea of how books are made and certainly any idea of how books are sold. I'm not saying Apple is losing money on these, but I don't think they're making as much money as people are convinced they are. Custom inks are expensive. Custom papers are expensive. And of course hundreds of pages of Andrew Zuckerman photography is expensive. This reads more like a labor of love to me than something intended to be a high-margin profit generator.
There's talk that the optics would have been better if Apple partnered with an established art book publisher to put this out, so it wouldn't look like Apple was selling their sheep $300 ads. But for what it's worth I totally believe Ive when he says that if they were going to ever actually finish the "archive book" they would have to treat it like an Apple product and do it their way, with their persnicketyness and perfectionism, and make something they could really be proud of. I think they wanted to make the book a beautifully designed Apple product in its own right, not because it would offend their sensibilities to put their masterworks
in a substandard vessel,
but because they think all things should be beautifully designed. They're designers, after all. It's the same reason they're spending a zillion dollars on "frivolous" things like miles of curved glass at Apple Campus 2. It's not about building a monument to how awesome they are, it's that designers like nicely designed things.