Image: Chelsea

mashable_apple-tree-infographics

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8 thoughts on “Image: Chelsea

  1. This graphics is successful in showing the evolution of Apple’s MacIntosh computer from early concept to the large line of products they offer today. I was confused about the iPad at the top of the family…does this suggest that the iPad is the culmination of everything they have worked for, thus making all of their other products obsolete or irrelevant? Is this what the graphic is trying to get at? The hierarchical organization here is most likely chronology, as each branch is marked by the year those specific products came out. Not only this, but it is evident that the more the company was around, the more products that produced, which is another point that the graphic is trying to make. The graphic does use color well, giving a bright color to every ‘branch’ of the tree, helping to differentiate it from the previous year, and utilizes a central stalk for the branches to shoot out from, making the vertical stalk centered on the horizontal bottom.

    • Good breakdown, Ben. I think you’re right that one of the points in presenting the timeline this way is to show of the growth in breadth of Apple products over time. The funny thing with orienting a timeline like this is that the most recent entry is often at the top, which gives it primacy–this makes sense, as the present is usually our entry point into any consideration of time. So there is a little more emphasis given here to the iPad, though I think if the timeline were oriented horizontally, we might not feel this emphasis. Just something to consider in making decisions about orientation and layout.

  2. I think this graphic is clean and very well done (oh, and are those “iClouds” there for a reason?), and shows the company’s evolution, as Ben said. It definitely conveys that they tried various devices out in the market, and according to the response they continued modifying these products, or stopped making them. One can also see the diversification of their product lines, especially in the mid 1990’s and to a further extent in the late 2000’s. I think that the apple leaves may be unnecessary- the first one I saw was at the top of the graphic at the last branch, and I thought it was signifying a continued evolution of the company’s products. However, I scrolled down and the leaves were sporadically added throughout the graphic.

  3. This infographic successfully tells a story of how Apple has evolved over the past decades. You can differentiate between the years by the different colors the designer uses per year. I personally didn’t find anything confusing about the infographic. From the playful (but relevant) title and clouds (“i-cloud”) to the tree, the infographic was clear and compelling because it was simple, eye-catching, and informative. Although, the designer could have continued the growth of the branches because it currently seems like the evolution of Apple products end with the iPad and it doesn’t (we all know Apple is going to come up with something even more innovative…less than a year from now because that’s just the innovative nature of the Apple brand).

    • Good point about the currency of the timeline, Casey. Apple didn’t create this timeline, probably in part because now it’s possible to look back at 2011 (when the graphic was presumably made) and say that the timeline is incomplete. If I were at Apple and charged with making a timeline of product release, I would think more about a dynamic and updatable format–not a still image–that could also project future product announcements. The story of this graphic, taken in isolation of knowledge about the company or its products, is that production ended in 2011. Drawing an analogy to planning, it’s always important to project out that the current proposal is not the end of a process, but one moment of focus that prompts a fruitful future.

  4. I found this info graphic to be really effective at communicating what could easily be cumbersome information in a fun accessible manner. The use of a tree was successful in allowing the designer to show the evolution of the apple product line and works for a wide range of viewers. The icons were clear and worked very nicely in showing how the products have changes over time. The use of primary colors and playful fonts was disarming and again made this information very accessible. It reminded me of a school lunch or classroom poster in many ways. The hierarchy also was very clear and worked for the viewer whether they started from the top or the bottom. I do not see much use of contrast here. I got the sense that this was produced as an educational tool but not sure what other uses it might have. I did find it rather simple in that manner in comparison to the other graphics in that it provided much less background or in depth information about the topic than the other informative info graphics then let’s say the time piece Rosa submitted. I don’t learn much about how the product has evolved beyond the physical construct of the product. It leaves me curious about how other aspects have changes over time such as processing time, capacity to hold infoariom etc.

    • Great point about the depth of information presented here, Kellie. While I think the icons are well drawn, I don’t actually know what many of them are representing. The story I take away here is really just that Apple started with some small number of boxy products and grew out their production over time to a more diverse set of products. There isn’t much else here to take away. The icons are not drawn to scale, so it’s hard to know, especially, what some of the earlier products were–what are the two items presented in 1995 and 1996? A lack of annotation is meant to keep things simple, but maybe this graphic is too simple to really be useful. This is something to look out for in information graphics–the illusion of information without the rigor of explication.

  5. To expand on my comments to Kellie: this is a well drawn graphic that keeps the timeline of Apple production simple and digestible, but it’s a pretty light snack. The takeaways are few and very basic. The graphic seems aimed at an audience familiar enough with the story to need no further explanation of any of the content–perhaps a more fair assumption in this case than in others–but not an example to emulate in terms of clarity of content.

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