For the German appliance manufacturer Miele, IFA 2013 was a kind of victory lap. The company had already revamped its entire lineup of kitchen appliances, and used its IFA press conference to unveil an all-new line of washers and dryers.
"This year has seen the biggest product offensive in the history of our company," said Dr. Markus Miele, a managing director whose great grandfather co-founded the appliance manufacturer back in 1899.
Dubbed Generation 6000, the new appliance lineup boasts sleek lines, simple touchscreen interfaces, and new technology inside and out. The washers and dryers alone took five years of research and development, at a cost of more than $131 million.
Speaking through a translator, Dr. Miele highlighted the technological advances: The washer uses dual pumps to better circulate water through a Power Wash to save time and energy, new detergent capsules ensure proper cleaning for all kinds of laundry and stains, and two TwinDos detergent reservoirs can hold separate cleaners for white and colored fabrics.
Users can buy prefilled detergent containers or refill reusable ones. As for the dryer, it's only available with an energy-efficient heat pump. Inside and out, everything has been reworked. In fact, only the appliances' adjustable feet were carried over from the previous generation.
Design-wise, both washer and dryer are available in white or chrome, and feature intuitive touchscreens alongside traditional buttons and knobs. We spent some time with one of the new washers on the show floor, and it only took about ten seconds to figure out how to set and customize a wash cycle.
The goal was to create "greater clarity, greater precision, and less clutter," while still applying "typical Miele characteristics," according to Dr. Reinhard Zinkann, another company managing director and grandson of Miele's other co-founder. For instance, the user operates the machine from left to right.
The result is a washer and dryer that are as elegant as they are easy to use. "It looks less like a machine and more like a piece of furniture," said Zinkann.
Whether they're available in the US remains to be seen, though if past product debuts are any indication it's likely that some version of the Generation 6000 washer and dryer will be on sale here in a few years. Even so, Miele only builds the 24-inch wide machines so popular in Europe, so if you're looking for a larger washer you'll be out of luck.