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."
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]
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 ]
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.
"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."