The i-Cosmos / Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt am Main

The exhibition i-Kosmos (i-Cosmos) at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main is an investigation on the role of design for the success of Apple in the computer and entertainment business. i-Cosmos: The Might, Myth and Magic of a Brand is the world’s first comprehensive show on the design of iDevices as well as their parallel and peripheral products.

Always the brand for people of the creative industry, Apple is no longer a niche player. The market capitalization of the company has even surpassed that of Microsoft. When Wired magazine called to pray for Apple with its June 2007 cover, most people were sure that the company was doomed. With the return of co-founder Steve Jobs, the success story began again: Mac OS X (the new operating system), the iMac, iPod, iTunes, and finally iPhone and iPad.

If you understand design as to be more than styling, more then adding colors and lines according to the latest fashion, and more than adding functions and technology just because it’s available and feasible, then Apple might be one of the few companies today that very consequently use design to create useful products that are reduced to the maximum: the maximum functionality, desireability, salability. The curators of the exhibition state that Apples iDevices have each caused a paradigm shift in their product genres.

Hit the jump for a photo gallery and the press release. The exhibition is running until May 8, 2011.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Press release:
In March 2011, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt will present the exhibition “iCosmos: The Might, Myth and Magic of a Brand” – the world’s first comprehensive show on the design of iDevices as well as their parallel and peripheral products.

Apple Inc., the Californian computer company, has been marked by unparalleled success over the past three and a half decades. Like no other company, it has succeeded in shifting the focus of use from utility to coveted possessions when it comes to computers and electronic entertainment devices such as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

In addition, each of the products in the i-family have changed their product genres technologically and ergonomically to such an extent that not only have all competitors adopted these new “user guidances,” but hundreds of complementary products have been created around these products as well, from a wide range of accessories to docking stations, i.e., veritable radios with external speakers for the iPods and iPhones that allow users to experience the stored music without headphones.

The iPhone has compelled all manufacturers of mobile phones to add smart phones with touch sensitive screens, the touch phones, to their programs. And the iPad will fundamentally transform the handling of video and news as well. Since the introduction of the iPhone, more than 200,000 special application programs, the so-called apps, have been made available for these i-devices.

In their product genres, these devices have each caused a paradigm shift: they are both leading and cult products, and they represent a development that has leveraged the mobile Internet and delocalized the act of surfing from the home to almost anywhere.

The exhibition and the accompanying catalog document and comment upon this process of “disruptive technologies,” which has taken place only very rarely in the history of technology and design. They leaf through the preconditions and position these innovative devices in product-historical, social, and psychological contexts. “Spiegel” magazine correctly wrote: “The i-cult. How Apple seduces the world.” But beyond any seduction, the “i-cosmos” represents a changed handling of information, media, and entertainment.

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