Designed by Apple in California book (2016)

Released in November 2016, Designed by Apple in California was a photo book that documented 20 years of design at Apple. The book contains 450 photos depicting products from the original 1998 iMac to the original Apple Pencil released in 2015. The book “also documents the materials and techniques used by Apple’s design team over two decades of innovation.”

In the book’s foreward, Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, stated:

“While this is a design book, it is not about the design team, the creative process or product development. It is an objective representation of our work… We strive, with varying degrees of success, to define objects that appear effortless. Objects that appear so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative.”

The book itself was described by Apple:

Designed by Apple in California is available in two sizes and printed on specially milled, custom-dyed paper with gilded matte silver edges, using eight color separations and low-ghost ink. This linen-bound, hardcover volume was developed over an eight-year period. It is published by Apple.”

The large book measured 13 x 16.25 inches and was sold for $299. The small book was 10.20 x 12.75 inches and was sold for $199. The book could be purchased at apple.com and at selected Apple Stores, including Apple SoHo, Apple Fifth Avenue, Apple Upper East Side, Apple Williamsburg and Apple World Trade Center in New York; Apple The Grove in Los Angeles and Apple Third Street in Santa Monica; Apple North Michigan Avenue in Chicago; Apple Lincoln Road in Miami; Apple Northpark in Dallas; Apple Union Square in San Francisco; Apple Palo Alto and Apple Infinite Loop in Cupertino.

This example is the large version of the book, unopened in its original box. I purchased this book at the Chicago Apple Store on Michigan Avenue.

Source: Apple

Close Your Rings microfiber towels (incomplete set, 2021)

Apple’s fifth “Close Your Rings” employee challenge was held in 2021. According to MacRumors contributor, mikedop, the Close Your Rings Challenge:

“…is an internal challenge hosted by Apple’s Wellness team, which challenges employees to close their Apple Watch activity rings every day for an entire month. The challenge can be won at three different tiers: gold, silver, and bronze… Employees log their fitness in their Apple Watch, and after the month, are shipped a prize if they meet the qualifications. This challenge is offered to all employees within Apple, down to the retail level.”

Successful participants in the 2021 Close Your Rings challenge were sent a set of three microfiber towels that use the colors and designs of Apple’s Activity rings. Each towel is primarily black and has a two-sided tag with the Activity rings on one side and the Apple logo on the other. Each towel features a different design woven into the microfiber: one uses three thin stripes in the colors of the Activity rings along two sides, one uses a “21” design in a unique, triple-stroke font style using the Activity ring colors, and a third towel shows half of the three filled Activity rings.

My collection includes the stripe and “21” designs, but I do not have the half-Activity ring design.

The towels were packaged in a custom white box with the Activity rings printed on top. The towels were created by Sunscope USA under a brand DiLA, Designed in LA (Los Angeles).

Sources: MacRumors (mikedop), SunscopeUSA

Mindful Minute Fleece (2019)

This Mindful Minute fleece was only available to Apple employees who participated in and completed the “Mindful Minute” challenge.

According to MacRumors writer mikedop, who has extensively researched and written about the challenges:

“Those who completed the 2019 Mindful Minute challenge received a soft fleece blanket. The blanket measures four feet by six feet in size (4×6) and contains no designs except for an embroidered mindfulness icon and Apple logo in a light teal.”

The blanket is made from black fleece. For the logo design, the mindfulness icon was simplified to use six interlocking circles in a circle. The design is similar to the Breathe app (which uses eight transparent interlocking circles).

Source: MacRumors

Apple Watch Sizing Guide (2021)

Beginning in 2020 Apple began offering Apple Watch band designs that were specifically sized to wrists. These bands included the Apple Watch Solo Loop and the Apple Watch Braided Solo Loop. These Apple Watch bands were available in sizes 1–12.

In order to allow individuals to determine their Apple Watch Band size, Apple provided three methods:

1. Printable Tool (online PDF)

2. Everyday items (using a “tailor’s measuring tape” or a narrow strip of paper)

3. Sizing Tool (in-store paper tool)

Options 1 and 2 were available online. After measuring your wrist, Apple provided an online converter that allowed users to enter their wrist size to a maximum of 10 15/16 inch (although the Solo Loop only fit wrists to a maximum of 8 2/16 inches).

This Sizing Tool was available to Apple Store Customers. The tools includes the directions on the outer package, instructing individuals through diagrams to open the package, peel back an adhesive dot, wrap the tool around the wrist, and determine the band size based upon the location of arrows printed on the Sizing Tool. 

This example is unopened and was obtained at the Apple Store Michigan Avenue in Chicago in December 2021.

Source: Apple (Solo Loop, Sizing Guide)

Apple Logo Mousepad (strawberry, 1999)

This thin plastic mousepad was made by the company Microthin and features the strawberry (red) Apple logo printed in a manner to simulate the translucent plastic Apple logo used in the iMac line of computers at the time. This mousepad is red to match the strawberry iMac. The iMac colors of the time included tangerine, lime, blueberry, grape, strawberry, and graphite.

This mousepad is round and measures 8.5 inches in diameter. It is printed with a MICROTHIN PRODUCTS logo and small text along the bottom curve (in Apple Garamond font) reads, ©1999 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. L04108A. Different mousepad colors appear to use the same part number.

The back of the mousepad is covered in a sticky material that provides traction to prevent slippage. The tackiness of the material is still viable after over 20 years and can be reactivated by rinsing accumulated dust with water. However, the entire mousepad is beginning to show signs of yellowing.

I also have a blueberry example of this mousepad.

Source: No official sources found, additional colors confirmed on eBay

Lanyard (black, red, white logotype, c. 1990)

This lanyard is black with a red wooden bead accent. Its style appears to place it in the 1990s. This lanyard was acquired from the estate of a former Apple Education employee and was likely used in the 1990s at education events.

The cord of the lanyard features a white Apple logotype in Apple Garamond, Apple’s corporate font used between 1984 and 2003. The manufacturer is shown on a white tag printed with he name KOOCHY gear.

I have found similarly designed items by this manufacturer on eBay branded with other company logos. Although the company is no longer active, it now appears to be associated with the company PROMOVISION, specializing in custom lanyards.

I also have a similar version of this lanyard in my collection without the manufacturer tag.

Source: PROMOVISION

The Golden Apple Club ceramic tile (1992)

This white ceramic tile was acquired from the estate of a former Apple Education employee. It is printed with a negative-space white Apple logo on a shimmering, metallic gold circle with the words “THE GOLDEN APPLE CLUB,” also printed in metallic gold. The tile’s border is surrounded with dark-green-printed shamrocks and the words “Ireland ’92” in an Old English typeface.

I was able to find a few references to the “The Golden Apple Club” in my research. One source in the Online Archive of California in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Stanford shows a listing in a collection archive titled, “Guide to the Apple Computer, Inc. Records M1007” (1998). The reference catalogs the item as “Vanity Press Items” with the entry: The Golden Apple Club: the best of the best., 1991. The complete record specifies that the university collection includes approximately 600 linear feet of items from 1977–1998 including: “organizational charts, annual reports, company directories, internal communications, engineering reports, design materials, press releases, manuals, public relations materials, human resource information, videotapes, audiotapes, software, hardware, and corporate memorabilia.”

A former Apple Regional Sales Manager on LinkedIn lists that he was a “Golden Apple Sales Award Winner” in 1998.

The long-running podcast RetroMacCast Episode 261 (October 21, 2012): “Frito Residue,” includes a reference to a 18K gold Golden Apple Club pin (selling for $1,049.99) and later included a conversation about the Golden Apple Club program. The podcast host discussed several Golden Apple Club items he had purchased in a kit, including a deck of cards, heavy-duty black plastic luggage tags, a neck pillow in a gray vinyl pouch, and a small portfolio—all with the Golden Apple Club logo. The “Club” was described as a program for sales representatives who had exceeded planned sales goals for a fiscal year. Reportedly, one of the “prizes” for Golden Apple Club members included a trip.

Based upon this information, this tile may have been received by a Golden Apple Club award winner on a trip to Ireland in 1992.

Perhaps worth noting, Apple has had facilities in Cork, Ireland, since 1980 and specifies that Cork “serves as Apple’s European headquarters, supporting customers across the continent and beyond.” There is no indication that this trip was to Cork, and this connection is pure speculation.

The tile measures 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 3/16-inch thick, and has a cork bottom.

Sources: Stanford, Apple, RetroMacCast

Central Operations Executive Briefing Center Black Leather Portfolio (c. 1990)

This black leather portfolio was made by the company Hazel CID (America’s Case Maker). The corners of the portfolio are made from gold-colored metal, and the lower-right corner of the cover is embossed with an Apple logo and then words “Central Operations Executive Briefing Center.”

Apple’s “Central Operations Executive Briefing Center” was located in Chicago. It is now located in a different building in Chicago and is known as the Chicago Executive Briefing Center.

The interior of the portfolio includes a vinyl pocket on the left side and a slot on the right side to hold a pad of paper. The center of the portfolio includes a cutout tab to hold a pen.

The portfolio measures __x__.