Apple University: From Pixar to Picasso

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Apple vs. Sony
See the difference between the Google TV remote by Sony on the left, and the Apple TV remote on the right? That’s why Apple uses Picasso’s artistic simplicity in its design courses.

Apple is known for the elegant simplicity of its gadgets, thanks to the design philosophy of company co-founder and tech genius Steve Jobs (who passed away in 2011). Through sheer force of will and an absolute demand for perfection, Jobs helped Apple become the richest and most powerful corporation in the world, delivering iPads, iPods, and iPhones to millions of satisfied customers. For years, the “Apple University” training program that develops employees into Jobs-like designers was a mystery, but 3 anonymous students recently spilled the company secrets on how they’re taught!

While no one will ever replace the mad brilliance of Jobs, Apple spares no expense on recruiting elite professors from prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, and University of California, Berkeley. These highly knowledgeable teachers are equipped with dazzling multi-media presentation technology and carefully planned lessons that forge fresh talent into modern wizards.

There’s also industry teachers like Randy Nelson, who came from Pixar, the animation studio co-founded by Jobs in 1986. You know, the same Pixar who made classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles… and has racked up 27 Academy Awards, 7 Golden Globe Awards, and 11 Grammy Awards just to name a few. Nelson is a teacher of “Communicating at Apple”, which focuses on the importance of clear communication, sharing ideas with peers, and knowing how to meet customer desires. With such a diverse and expert blend of instructors, Apple trains its employees to wield their brains and visionary ideas like high-tech artists.

Apple’s co-founder and genius, Steve Jobs, simplified tech like the legendary 20th century painter Pablo Piccaso did with his “Cubist” art movement.

In fact, one class looks for inspiration from the legendary artist Pablo Picasso, who lived from 1881-1973. Picasso co-created the “Cubist” art movement, which reduced images down to their most basic forms. A collection of bull drawings is used in one class to show how Picasso condensed a fully fleshed bull into simpler lines and shading… until he burned the figure into its most fundamental and enchanting rawness.

Likewise, Apple employees are taught to take technology’s complexity and reduce it into a purely basic version. For example, Google TV’s 78-button remote control is used as an example of making something way more complicated than it needs to be… which is why the Apple TV remote has only 3 buttons! No wonder the company’s smartphones, music players, and computers are so easy to use, gorgeous, and futuristic.

The intense training program runs year round, customizing its classes to employees’ backgrounds. For example, one Apple University pathway may focus on fine-tuning Dr. Dre’s mega popular Beats headphones, and potentially bring in Dr. Dre himself to lecture! Considering that Andre “Dr. Dre” Young was ranked the second most wealthy Hip-Hop artist, and has worked in both the business and creative levels of the music industry, he would definitely have first-hand knowledge to contribute. That, my friends, is just one of many reasons that Apple products are so… hip.

Featured image courtesy of the City of Cupertino. Image of TV remotes courtesy of Sony, Google, and Apple. Image of Picasso illustrations courtesy of the Estate of Pablo Picasso and the Artists Rights Society.