Apple has announced a new coffee table book focusing on its past two decades of design. It’s coming in two editions for $200 and $300 respectively. If you have more money than sense, knock yourself out. Otherwise, if you want such a book but don’t want to pay a ridiculous, insulting price for it, pick up Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation. You can find it on Amazon for less than $50.
Jonathan Zufi’s labor of love is gorgeously shot, and doesn’t just cover the last 20 years – you’ll find Apple II products, eMates and other goodies in here from decades past (the classic Mac from the mid-80s on the cover should give you some indication). It was first published in 2013, so you won’t find the very latest Apple products, but it’s still great. I have a copy, it’s beautiful.
The reason I bring this up is because, quite frankly, I find Apple’s new release to be insufferably insulting. A linen-bound coffee table book for $200 or $300 (if you pick up the Plus/Pro-sized version) is out of reach for most people. It’s baffling to me that Apple thinks this is a good idea, but this is the same company that (briefly) came out with a $10,000 version of its $300 watch.
Apple makes gorgeous products and regularly disrupts the markets it’s in by offering devices and software that are cleverly designed, intuitive and easy to use. They also have a long-standing reputation for being elitist and expensive toys, catering to people who value style over substance. That’s been disproven time and again: The iPhone is no more expensive than other premium smartphones. The Mac is a better value dollar for dollar than equivalent PCs.
But selling a book with pictures of your own products for $300 fits into that elitist narrative. It’s tone-deaf and more than a little dumb.