Apple’s often been praised for its packaging. A lot of thought goes into the boxes that house Macs and other Apple kit, ensuring your first experience with a product is a pleasurable one—before you’ve even turned it on.
I today set up a new AirPort Extreme after my old one abruptly died (and, no, I’m not looking forward to the Genius Bar appointment, trying to explain UK consumer law to someone saying “but it’s more than a year old, so there’s nothing we can do”). Like a lot of other Apple kit, it comes in a two-part card case. The base houses the unit, and you slide off a sturdy card sleeve, which is typically very snug indeed.
For the iPhone, which sits flat on a base, this works fine. But the AirPort Extreme is a narrow, tall unit, and the box is therefore tall and narrow. You’d think Apple would have made allowances for this in its box design, right? Nope.
On the left you can see the box’s base and on the right the unit itself. On pulling the card sleeve free, my unit unceremoniously went CLUNK on to the desk, fortunately only from a few centimetres. I’m grateful I wasn’t opening this box above our wooden floor, or I’d be down two AirPort Extremes for the week, not just one.
You might argue that it’s only a box, but this design showcases a lack of attention to detail and usability. The box still looks great, but it’s form over function—it works poorly in practice and also when taking into account expectations, namely that your new purchase won’t end up sailing through the air as you attempt to free it from its packaging.