Apple has won five gongs at the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for 2002, given by the Industrial Designers Society of America and sponsored by BusinessWeek.

Apple seems to have bucked the trend towards “more male” design that organizers claim is noticeable “post-September 11”:

“Perhaps of most significance, the aesthetic sensibility of American culture is shifting. The rounded, biomorphic, soft shapes and translucent plastic see-through openness that defined so many products in the 1990s is out. What's in is a new modernism of sharp edges, tight corners, and straight lines.

“Colours are darker, packaging more opaque. If '90s product design reflected a female organic sensibility, today's is distinctly harder, edgier, more military, more male. Awards went to the black, angular IBM Net Vista flat-panel PC that is suspended in the air by an articulated arm; black-and-white body armour for Lacrosse; and a mouse that is metallic and all edges”.

While the G4 PowerBook – which didn’t win one of the awards – fits these descriptions, Apple’s award winners weren’t black or metallic, and have few hard lines.

Apple strikes gold In the “Computer equipment” category, Apple won a Gold award for its flat-panel iMac, as well as a silver for its iBook consumer laptop. Other winners in this category included Handspring’s Treo mobile-phone/PDA and Visor Edge PDA.

In the “Environment” category, Apple won two Gold awards for its retail stores and presence at Macworld Expo San Francisco 2002.

The company also won a Gold award for its iPod digital-music player in the “Consumer Products” category.

Other winners included the BMW-designed Streetcarver skateboard, the Bearhug snowshoe binding by Helix Design, Dilbert's Ultimate Cubicle, Hewlett-Packard’s Photosmart 100 printer that works directly with digital cameras, the Spyfish miniature remote-controlled submarine for exploring reefs, and the Segway Human Transporter.

Samsung tied with Apple for most prizes won. Organizers said that the South Korean company “is becoming a design powerhouse on the world scene”.

In 2002, there were 1,265 entries from around the world, including many from Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Denmark, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Canada. The 174 winners took in 41 golds, 60 silvers, and 73 bronzes.