For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong. Former Apple designers Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini on how Apple has sacrificed core principles of usability and good interface design on the altar of visual simplicity and prettiness.
Ian Parker from the New Yorker managed to secure time with and access to Apple's chief designer, Sir Jonathan Ive so as to write this extended profile of the man, his obsessively secretive workplace - and his dislike of orangey-brown..
Stephen Fry announces in an exclusive interview that Jony Ive has been promoted to Apple's Chief Design Officer (CDO). Ive becomes the third C-level executive at the company, a step up from his former position as Senior Vice President of Design. Tim Cook followed up on Fry's announcement with a company-wide email detailing all of the changes to the management structure of the design department.
The pointe shoe in ballet is a piece of technology critical to the performance of dance. While mechanically tough, its design is simple and flexible enough for personal modification and tailoring to the individual dancer's needs. Spanish artist Lesia Trubat has taken the pointe shoe into the 21st century, sewing in LilyPad Arduino controllers and sensors and integrating their operation with iOS, allowing the dancer to turn pressure and motion into a dynamic and novel expression of this centuries-old art form.
Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
Ettore Sottsass was an industrial designer who was born in Innsbruck, Austria. Famous for his My Valentine typewriter design and his geometric enamel designs. [more inside]
At Apple's keynote presentation at the WWDC yesterday, scorn for Scott Forstall – their recently-fired VP of iOS software – ran rampant. His preference for skeuomorphic design (calendars that look like leather and so-on) was mocked repeatedly by Craig Federighi: “Look! Even without all that stitching, everything just stays in place.” But the real shocker was the completely redesigned iOS 7, created under the supervision of Jonathan Ive, who prior handled all of Apple's hardware design and none of its software. Previously Ive and Forstall were much at odds, reportedly refusing to even meet with each other—and it should be noted that Ives' famous idol, the legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams, famously rejected artificial wooden furnishings with his breakout design, the record player that was nicknamed "Snow White's Coffin" for its transparent lid. Forstall's ousting placed Ive in charge of interface as well as industrial design, and it was expected that the shift would lead to a change in iOS design philosophy. But the change was perhaps more radical than expected—a complete overhaul that looks simple to the point of cartoonishness, with abstracted icons and stark layouts. Some critics are already complaining that iOS 7 goes too far in the other direction; others note the deep rigor of its new rules-based design. You can hear Ive talk about his design here [warning: obnoxious Apple promo video]. And Apple threw its support behind Ive with an unexpectedly lovely short video about the design process [warning: possibly also obnoxious]: "We start to confuse convenience for joy, abundance with choice. There are a thousand no's for every yes."
A jury has ruled for Apple in its huge smartphone patent infringement case involving Samsung and ordered Samsung to pay $1.5 billion.
After a year of scorched-earth litigation, a jury decided Friday that Samsung ripped off the innovative technology used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion. An appeal is expected. [more inside]
iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo) “Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.” Complete text of the internal memo submitted in the Apple vs Samsung case. Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case. And the memo is rife with ammunition.
Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
Start Ups: This is how Design works.. A guide for non-designers by designer Wells Riley. [more inside]
The idea that the form of a product should correspond to its essence does not simply mean that products should be designed with their intended use in mind. That a knife needs to be sharp so as to cut things is a non-controversial point accepted by most designers. The notion of essence as invoked by Jobs and Ive is more interesting and significant—more intellectually ambitious—because it is linked to the ideal of purity. No matter how trivial the object, there is nothing trivial about the pursuit of perfection. On closer analysis, the testimonies of both Jobs and Ive suggest that they did see essences existing independently of the designer—a position that is hard for a modern secular mind to accept, because it is, if not religious, then, as I say, startlingly Platonic.— Form and Fortune is an essay about Steve Jobs and Apple's design philosophy by Evgeny Morozov.
Graphic designer Susan Kare was responsible for much of the look of the original Mac operating system. Now, you can take a peek inside the notebook where she sketched out on graph paper the icons for cut and paste. (previously)
What touchscreens lack is something called affordance. It’s a lofty term for an object’s built-in ability to tell you how it works. A doorknob affords turning. The button on a car stereo affords pushing. A touchscreen affords nothing. It relies on software for any affordance, which in turn relies on total immersion for the user.... The days of analog affordance are gone. What we want, apparently, is to surround ourselves with touchscreens of varying size—tiny ones in our pockets, medium-size models for our laps and dashboards, and massive versions for our walls. We want tomorrow’s vintage shops to be lined with identical, blank, anonymous slabs. We want things to be vessels for software, and nothing more. - A Slate piece asks if touchscreens are becoming too ubiquitous
The Shrine of Apple--a (sill in progress) archive of photos and specs for Apple's complete product history.
This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
Apple’s Tablet Computer History - A collection of beautiful prototype designs for some of Apple's early tablet computers from the 1980s and 90s, including the famed Newton [ related | via ]
"[T]he most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do."
"He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. It’s not simplistic. It’s simplified. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity." John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview [via]
Poolga: iPhone and iPod Touch wallpapers from a selection of designers and illustrators from around the world.
Huh. Not the only time it's been noted, but still,Dieter Rams did make it look good first. An interesting guy who's basic design precepts Jonathan Ive has been very successful at emulating. For which I am only happy. [more inside]
The son of industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (creator of the distinct styling of the Apple IIc and subsequent products, as well as founder of frog design) shares memories and photographs (auf Deutsch; Google cache) of Apple's early attempts at an iPhone.
Innovation, originality, revolution... Oh.
"The difference between BJ and AJ, Before and After Jobs, is not the process," [Don Norman] continues. "It is the person. Never before did Apple have such focus and dedication. Apple used to wobble, moving this way and that. No more."
What if Apple is bad for design? Or at least not good?
If you wanted to spend $100 on a 512 mb capacity mp3 player with no screen, you could buy an iPod shuffle, or you could get a player in the form of a PEZ dispenser. Developed by a stay-at-home dad who documented the design process on a sadly defunct blog, the only drawback is that it doesn't dispense candy.
The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme.
Is Mac OS X Becoming Crufty? I definitely think so.
iPod Coffee Table created by a Toronto design student
Following a long history of innovative designs Apple has created a loyal following. Today they released their newest iMac into the wild.
Lick Me, I'm A Mackintosh. One columnist's ode/rant re: Apple's design ethos.
The construction of Memphis area Apple Store held-up by sign ordinance prohibiting the display of food products on signage. Sweet Gods of Commerce: What would Orange Julius do?! [via MacNN]
Clean and of things to come. My stationery fetish reaches new heights. Cute pads 2cm by 5cm I must have. 1B pencils and thickly nibbed felts in a black rubber coated organiser shaped like a pyramid. This dispenser will go to the left.
Grrrlz R the future of computerz! A suprisingly warm-hearted and atypically unguyish analysis of the “ridiculous” new iMac colours and what they represent for future computer use. If Apple blew it by not letting teenage boys play games, are they smart to make iMacs attractive to sensitive, design-focused people (including grrrlz) as so-called digital hubs? Or will the boyz shoot ’em up on Wintel while the grrrlz rip boy-band MP3s on groovy iMacs? (My claim: Bondi blue remains the bestest iMac shade ever. Discuss.)
Roger Black on Design. MacAddict put up an interview with Roger Black from their August 2000 issue. There are a couple of interesting points as in his take on transitioning from print to web:
"I think that the main thing is pretty much to work as you would in print design. A good designer always focuses on the reader or the customer, the viewer, whatever the end-user is. You just have to do that on the Net the same way you do in print.... I do not believe that the technological hurdles are that big. It doesn't seem to me that big of a deal.... Most of the stuff we do on the Web is not particularly difficult. Almost anybody, particularly anybody under thirty growing up in our society has enough technological culture to work with it. Don't get scared. It’s not that big of a deal."
Apple mergers with amazon.com Well not really but why is everyone copying the tab based interface... it is ugly, not expandable and assumes the end user is a complete moron.