Not Far From the Tree: Products and Apps by Former Apple Employees

Not Far From the Tree: Products and Apps by Former Apple Employees

Jeff Heaton
Feb 8, 2012

Apple is king. Everyone seems to be bowing at the feet of the company's minimalism aesthetic, straight-forward interfaces, and "just works" mentality. Who can blame them? It looks like the design language of the future (albiet a future designed in the 60s). Some designers come by it honestly, being former Apple employees themselves. Here are some of their products, which show the apple doesn't fall too far.

1. Nest ($249.99)
You've seen it, drooled over it on all your favorite tech blogs and probably wondered slightly at the price. The Nest should almost come with an "i" in front of it. Todd Fadell, Nest's creator, helped make 18 generations of the iPod and then turned his attention to thermostats. The product he created follows that simple interface and shiny exterior with plenty of useful internals that take over your temperature adjustment for you. Yup, it just works.

2. Unity ($1000 projected)
Chrome and black? Check. Simple set up? 15 minutes from box to entertainment sounds pretty simple. And the interface isn't exactly complicated either. Todd Beauchamp, who used to run Apple's Audio Lab, developed the system with Mike Fidler, formerly of Sony, with a focus on squeezing the most out of a simple set up so consumers didn't need backup to run their own systems.

3. Inkling (Free)
Inkling is a super simple textbook platform on the iPad. You can buy books by the chapter or the entire book, but the magic of the system is in the details. Inkling injects interactivity into the boring diagrams and pictures of your standard textbook making them more memorable. Books are organized by concepts and the ideas inside those concepts with quizes at the end. Social media is tied in as well. The candy coated gloss, simplified interface and useful integration are everything you'd expect of an Apple optimized product.

4. Flipboard (Free)
Like a magazine for everything you read, Flipboard combines all outlets of your media from personal feeds on Facebook to magazines like Rolling Stone. Black and white icons with a hint of red, the interface is so minimal it might as well not even be there. This minimalism follows Apple's work toward making things so integrated they feel inevitable. Flipboard works on both iPod/iPhones and iPads.

And those are just the major apps and appliances. LinkedIn, Pandora and Posterous all fell off the tree.

Did we miss any of Johnny (Ive) Appleseed's work? Let us know in the comments.

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Images: Nest; Unity; Inkling; Flipboard

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