Where does iMac designer Jonathan Ive get his ideas? Growing up in '70s Britain, his brain must have collected a giganormous amount of wonderful and eclectic design influences. Like this Telefunken PALcolor 614, which looks like a CRT version of the new iMac. More ties after the jump. Telefunken, the inventors of PAL, were hugely successful in Europe. Their '70s designs were ubiquitous in the Old Continent and the PALcolor 614, the 618 and the 6600's black framed screens and smooth curves are still classics.
You can clearly find their design mojo in the new iMac as well as in other modern design pieces, like Telefunken's own flat TV panel or Loewe's Xelos, which many people could mistake as the new iMac from a distance. The flat Telefunken and Loewe, however, don't capture the classicism of the the old 614 curves, nor its retro charm. They look soulless and cold, like the technological terror of the Death Star and many other consumer electronics today.
The iMac captures this spirit, however, without getting obviously retro or tacky. All the contrary, it looks futuristic and timeless at the same time, like a refreshed prop from Kubricks' 2001 with a Star Trek: The Next Generation shine.
It connects directly with the 614 or other now-classic designs, like the Audi TT. This car shares the same theme, even more obvious when you see it in silver (and perhaps there is a connection to Steve Jobs' now-mythical fascination with German cars.)
Like the geniuses they are, Jonathan Ive and his team "steal." Subconsciously of course, like any other great artist, Ive synthesizes the best of the old to create a new object. Apple has done it —again—successfully with the new iMac, creating an instant classic. Maybe because, like their other designs, its lines resound inside most people as familiar and "just right."