Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Has an Unboxing Room to Test Hundreds of Variants of their Product Packaging

iPod nano packaging photo by iLounge

From an advance copy of Adam Lashinsky's upcoming Inside Apple book, NetworkWorld notes an interesting bit of information about how Apple approaches retail packaging.

Perhaps it should be no surprise, given the elegance of some of Apple's product packages, but Apple is said to have a secretive packaging room where a package designer goes through hundreds of iterations to find the right combination:
One after another, the designer created and tested an endless series of arrows, colors, and tapes for a tiny tab designed to show the consumer where to pull back the invisible, full-bleed sticker adhered to the top of the clear iPod box. Getting it just right was this particular designer's obsession.

What's more, it wasn't just about one box. The tabs were placed so that when Apple's factory packed multiple boxes for shipping to retail stores, there was a natural negative space between the boxes that protected and preserved the tab.
NetworkWorld also points back to an old internal video created by Microsoft's own packaging team as a humorous look at branding and packaging issues for marketers. The video imagines if Microsoft were to redesign the iPod retail packaging:

Apple's obsession with even the product packaging is a reflection on Steve Jobs' views of the matter. Both Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are known to have spent time on the packaging of their products. From Walter Issacson's Steve Jobs biography:
"Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging," said Ive. "I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

34 months ago
Rating: 24 Votes
34 months ago

My iPhone was packaged no different to my previous phone, HTC Desire (small white box, everything packed tightly inside)

My MacBook Air was packaged no different to my VAIO (small thin but sturdy box, sheet over the keyboard protecting the screen, laptop sealed etc).

Apple are doing exactly the same as everyone else who sells "premium" goods.

You mean this packaging...

Ask yourself when the iPhone came out and then when the HTC Desire came out.
Rating: 23 Votes
34 months ago
I love that quote....And it's true, most stuff I buy I just rip the packaging off it to get at the contents....With Apple, it's different, I really enjoy the experience of opening up their stuff, and I have all the original boxes for all my Apple products.

A testing room? Well....Think different :)
Rating: 20 Votes
34 months ago
the most interesting thing here is the video :D its hilarious!
Rating: 17 Votes
34 months ago

The video is hilarious.

...and stunningly accurate.
Rating: 16 Votes
34 months ago

You are kidding me?

Are we going to get an article on "Apple has a restroom"?

Are we going to have a made up quote from Ive, saying he and Steve "sPent lots of time in the bathroom together?

Arn, please bring the site back from this sort of carp.

I found it interesting. I doubt many companies have a secret room to test out packaging. Not many big companies make packaging that's worth keeping, either. You're welcome to not read this article if it grates you so much. :cool:

(..And that sounds like something that would be said on Engadget or something, before sending them to MacRumors/Apple Secrets/Gizmodo/etc..)
Rating: 16 Votes
34 months ago
Why is everyone criticizing MacRumors so much?

Apple does a lot more than just Macs nowadays and you all probably check MR a few times a day (I do anyway) and I'd rather read something than look at the same article dating back to December 28th (Ivy Bridge processor launch date) until there is something new to report.

If the article doesn't interest you, skip it.
Rating: 15 Votes
34 months ago
Yet another example of Apple's attention to detail. End-to-end control and design of the User Experience.

This sort of perfectionism is rare. Which is why Apple's level of success is also rare. It's never *just* a box. It's never *just* a store. You start thinking that the seemingly insignificant is just.... insignificant, and before you know it, that ATTITUDE has spread to everything else you do. And then you're just an also-ran.

Yes, Apple gives enough of a damn about that they do, that even their packaging represents their philosophy. Even the colour of one of the "o"s in the Google logo, when appearing in and Apple interface, is of significance (as Jobs demonstrated.) Yes, it's not immediately noticeable, but when you let all the little things slide, those little touches, then eventually that attitude infects the big stuff.

Some people obviously don't get this. Yet they are drawn to Apple gear all the same, without knowing what part of their psyche Apple has impressed.

We need more Psych majors in here and fewer IT drones.
Rating: 15 Votes
34 months ago

It's just packaging! Who cares!

(Why am I even commenting on a thread about packaging..?)


"I really enjoy the experience of opening up their stuff"


No offence meant, but your life sounds a little empty.

To each his own, IMO. The experience of turning something seemingly mundane (unboxing products) is much more fun when you realize that Apple takes careful consideration in every product's packaging and this eye-for-detail is reflected in the final product. As such, opening an Apple packaging is no longer something usual but rather, a new experience that represents money well-spent.

I wouldn't want to say that someone's life is empty merely by defining life as 'the opening of packages making one happy'. If so, I could say that the browsing of a rumor site online validates my point and thus, I can say that your life is a little empty too, for the fact that you could be having so much more 'fun' doing something else rather than visiting MacRumors.
Rating: 13 Votes
34 months ago
What's with all the hate, people?

Just enjoy the whole experience. From buying, to opening, to using. Thats what its all about!

And thanks MacRumours. I didn't know Apple had this room until you posted it so ignore the moans.
Rating: 13 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]