Steve Jobs's design legacy: more just than a pretty phone

The beauty of Apple products secured Steve Jobs a place in history long before his death, but design professionals said the depth of his influence on their profession goes much deeper than the minimalist look of an iPhone.

The Mac and the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, born out of his vision of marrying high technology with an elegant and simple form, are already recognised as iconic products of the digital age - with his death, these products are likely to be elevated to godly status too.

One architect compared Jobs to Mies van der Rohe, the Modern designer who said less is more and unleashed stark glass skyscrapers on a world used to brick and mortar.

He is the virtual Mies. The Mies of the virtual world, said Harvard Graduate School of Design's Florian Idenburg.

But he said that the influence of Jobs on Harvard design students went beyond the look of his products. In fact, although every person in the building appeared to have an iPhone, some aesthetes are turning against the ultra-smooth look.

The enduring influence of Jobs may be more in how his products unlock creativity and change how we view the world -- and what we want and make the world to be.

Idenburg said students who constantly use the iPhone in their work want their own designs to have a similar flexibility and looseness, so that a concert hall could be ready to host different types of events, for instance.

It's a nice little phone. But what it really does, is it absolutely changes how people behave, said Thom Mayne, the avant garde Los Angeles architect who is a winner of architecture's Nobel prize, the Pritzker.

We're all interested in what buildings look like, but what I'm interested in is how they reshape behavior, he said. He's a symbol that we really need in this culture at this time.

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