Now revealed: Apple's secret testing room for packaging designs
According to the book, the testing room for package design is located in a walled-off section inside Apple's main marketing building. Access requires a special badge and once inside, you will find designers testing hundreds of boxes in order to find the one perfect unboxing experience. In his book, Lashinsky makes a very interesting point. He notes that for Apple, the cheap box gets as much attention as the expensive electronic gadget that goes inside the box. A passage from the book captures the intensity and obsessiveness of Apple's package designers. "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."
This search for the perfect customer experience, even when it comes to just opening a box, comes from the late Steve Jobs who allegedly went through 2,000 shades of beige before finding the perfect one for the Apple II. And even though customers don't usually get to see the inside of Apple's devices, Jobs wanted the innards to look perfect. In Walter Issacson's biography on Steve Jobs, Apple's top designer Jonathan Ive was quoted as saying, "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."
The video below was made internally by Microsoft as a joke. It shows what the Apple iPod packaging would look like if it were designed by the gang at Redmond.