Talk of a “product’s essence” (Isaacson’s words) or “the fundamental soul of a man-made creation” (Jobs’s) only serves to separate, conceptually, the art of design from the cold hard science of engineering. With just five words, “Design is how it works” expresses succinctly and accurately that engineering should and can be part of the art of design.
Design and engineering are, indeed, often in opposition — engineering constraints affect design; design goals affect engineering tradeoffs. But they are not separate endeavors. The philosophical question is which one is a subset of the other. What Schiller is telling Isaacson is that prior to Jobs’s return to Apple, design was what happened at the end of the engineering process. Post-Jobs, engineering became a component of the design process. This shift made all the difference in the world.
Once again, I’m reminded that I not only love his writing, but John does analysis so damn well. I think he even analyzes his own analysis.
from Daring Fireball