Apple is well-known for paying extreme attention to detail. But as obsessive as the company can be, even Apple makes mistakes. Former Apple employee Joe Moreno shares a tale on his blog (Mea Vita, via AppAdvice) of how the Apple logo used to appear upside-down on MacBooks when the screen was open (as seen below in Sex and the City).
As it turns out, however, this was done entirely on purpose, to the confusion of many Apple employees. A few of these confused employees decided to ask why Apple decided to place the logo this way, and received the following answer:
We were told by the Apple design group, which takes human interface issues very seriously, that they had studied the placement of the logo and discovered a problem. If the Apple logo was placed such that it was right side up when the lid was opened then it ended up being upside down when the lid was closed, from the point of view of the user. […]
Why was upside down from the user’s perspective an issue? Because the design group noticed that users constantly tried to open the laptop from the wrong end. Steve Jobs always focuses on providing the best possible user experience and believed that it was more important to satisfy the user than the onlooker.
The thought that it was more important to satisfy the user than the observer is a very interesting notion, and shows that Apple cares a great deal about the customer and the user experience of their products.
In the end, however, Steve Jobs reversed his position in favor of how the logo appears on today’s MacBooks, which appears upside-down to the user, but right side up to those passing by. And it seems like it was the right decision.
In Moreno’s own words: “opening a laptop from the wrong end is a self-correcting problem that only lasts for a few seconds. However, viewing the upside logo is a problem that lasts indefinitely.”