Why Apple should make a big, beautiful bike


Surely Apple could improve on this.

Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

Let’s talk art, shall we?

There was a time when Apple represented the aesthetic counterpoint to the heartless freezer of technology.

Where once there were inanimate boxes, there were suddenly glorious turquoise iMacs that said hello, there to be admired and occasionally typed into.

Where once there were clumsy, heavy phones, there were suddenly the prettiest round-edged iPhones, there to be admired as much as used.

These days, while the launch of a new iPhone creates an obligatory stirring, we’ve become used to the basic forms of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and even watches.

Nothing startles. Nothing dazzles. Nothing reshapes our view.

Utilitarianism has taken over to such a degree that we’re supposed to be more excited about the usefulness of new software than the visual joys of hardware. (Please don’t tell me there’s anything aesthetic about AirPods.)

At last week’s Apple event, it was wonderful to hear again how an Apple Watch can save lives, how an iPad can be faster than a Chromebook, and how Apple is (allegedly) helping to save the environment.

Some might have muttered that the most pulsating element was Apple’s introduction of Fitness Plus, software through which people with perfect bodies shout at you for overindulging in pierogis and Pinot.

Yet this was merely software being played through existing hardware.

This wasn’t a vertically integrated Peloton-like offering that included a gorgeous, breathtaking redesign of the bike.

Which made me wonder: Why doesn’t Apple make a bike?

Please, don’t talk to me about money and profits and other elements that dull human existence. Talk to me about visual and spiritual uplift. Don’t you need some right now?

With so much design talent at its disposal, surely Apple could improve on the sorts of bikes you see speeding through your neighborhood, taking self-righteousness far beyond even Cuperintinian levels.

Surely, too, Apple could improve on the more everyday bikes upon which ordinary people move through the cities and countrysides of the world?

Even more surely, an Apple bike would be beautiful. Well, it should be.

It would enjoy the sorts of lines of which bike-riders only dream. It would be adorned with the most discreet of Apple logos and the electric speed of a new iPad.

And Apple adores getting into markets, long after they’ve been formed, in order to perfect every element. It’s hard after more than 40 years to perfect this.

The more I thought about it, the more uplifting it seemed.

What if you didn’t have to hang your bike on your living room or garage wall? This could be a dual-use bike. You can ride it on the roads, but then bring it into your house, mount it on an electronic pedestal and turn it into an Appleton.

People could scream at you in the outside world with admiration and scream at you at home with perspiration.

Apple could infiltrate the bike-riding hordes of China with its aesthetic and logo, without feeling the need to make any compromises with its authoritarian government. Amsterdam could become Appsterdam.

The Appleton could present a marvelous juxtaposition to haughty Tesla owners who insist on unctuous license plates. It could encourage a truly healthy lifestyle while reducing carbon emissions to boast-worthy levels.

Most of all, it could offer the promise of pretty over the dystopian dullness that crowds America’s roads and lives.

This is the company that once had Picasso and Buckminster Fuller in an ad, after all.

No, bikes aren’t necessarily Apple’s core business. Thank you for that.

But you were one of those who believed Cupertino would make a car — or at least buy Tesla — weren’t you?

So how about a bike? Something simple, elemental, versatile, and ready to be inspirational.

An Appleton, anyone?

Apple Event


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