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Eclecticist: Apple Design

Show Notes & Research

Introduction

Overview

Noverview

Talking Points

Design DNA

Software

Desktop software

iOS

Hardware

Desktop Hardware

iMac

Mac Mini

New mac pro

Portable Hardware

Stores, Web Site & Marketing

Site

Stores

Marketing

Reception

The Future

Wrap Up

Show Notes

Recorded: 6th August, 2013

Last update: 7th August, 2013

Introduction

  1. Intro music
  2. Introduction and description of the podcast, goals, modus operandi
  1. What An investigation of everything from a British perspective by two brothers who consider themselves to be normal chaps, one topic at a time
  2. How Choose a topic of interest, spend a little time researching it, have a discussion, publish the notes
  3. Why The chief benefit is the fostering of a greater understanding of the world before death and to hopefully prompt further thought and discussion
  4. Who Benjamin de-Campos (designer, believer), Geoffrey Campos (engineer, devil’s advocate)

Overview

Apple Incorporated is a Californian computer hardware and software manufacturer founded in 1976. It produces higher end computing products including desktop and laptop PCs, mobile phones and portable music players along with an exclusive spectrum of software. Having experienced highs and lows throughout it’s lifetime, design has remained its principal attribute and core motivator. Today it is the world’s most valuable company in terms of market capitalisation and responsible for much of the excitement and innovation in the tech world. In this show we will discuss Apple design, it’s influence and effect, completely from our point of view.

From it’s 2012 ‘10-K’ form (PDF):

‘The Company designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and sells a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications.’

Note: http://www.apple.com/design doesn’t exist.

Noverview

(What we’re not talking about.)

  1. Windows
  2. Parc/Xerox
  3. Apple financials
  4. Hardware technology (much)
  5. Manufacturing politics

Talking Points

Design DNA

  1. What is good design?
  2. Define industrial design, minimalism, Bauhaus
  3. What makes something well designed? On whose authority?
  4. The danger of form over function or utility. Non-standard, composite cabling
  1. minimalism
  2. simplicity of function KISS
  1. Steve Jobs
  1. micro-manager
  2. perfectionist
  3. consistantist
  4. Passionist
  1. Jony Ive
  1. minimalist
  2. Dieter Rams (Braun designer) acolyte
  3. purist
  1. Influence of dieter rams “Apple take design seriously” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaLMOSWAwdw

Speaker design by dieter rams

‘Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.’ - Wikipedia (2/207/13)

https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/about/good-design Dieter Rams 10 principles for good design:

  1. Innovative
  2. Useful
  3. Aesthetic
  4. Understandable
  5. Unobtrusive
  6. Honest
  7. Long-lasting
  8. Consistent
  9. Environmentally friendly
  10. Minimal

  1. Steve Jobs once said that he’s as proud of the things [we] didn’t do as for those [we] have - not throwing everything in
  2. Telling the customer what he wants
  3. Human–computer Interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people (users) and computers.
  4. We’re talking about Apple’s approach to design in general, the ethos or ‘DNA’ and how it’s changed over the years-or not.
  5. The logo - Prefer the colour stripes? Resurrected this with a white iBook once.
  6. iOS Human Interface Guidelines

‘The display of an iOS device is at the heart of the user’s experience. Not only do people view beautiful text, graphics, and media on the display, they also physically interact with the Multi-Touch screen to drive their experience (even when they can’t see the screen).’

  1. glossy colour giving way to muted greys - staid? Tech not getting in the way?
  2. use of shadows
  3. photography - infinite white background, shadows cast on non-existent surfaces

  1. Form over function
  2. Skeuomorphism

  1. ibooks app for iOS - looks real enough to touch - and you can!

Software

Desktop software

  1. Desktop metaphor - how did desk jockeys work before computers?
  2. Drop shadows
  3. Favouring fewer functions (or hidden functions) if preference to simplicity
  4. customisability

System 4.2

OS8.5

  1. Lots of physical cues. The skeuomorphism here is completely justified. the title bar looks grippy and indeed, you can click, hold and drag the window by it.
  2. Resizer similarly grippy

A recent release of OSX

  1. 10 years of evolution
  2. transparency, lots of real world physics-based aspects
  3. Still mouse and keyboard - no touch screen support
  4. Aqua shiny, liquid like widgets

An early Aqua non-Apple design application

iOS

  1. Different dynamic presented by pocket size display, had to differ with Aqua
  2. Helvetica Neue or Neue Helvetica
  3. Fonts in ios7 are a headline design imperative
  1. ‘Text Kit is a fast, modern layout- and text-rendering engine, easy to maintain through settings integrated into the User Interface Kit.’
  1. Overall smoothness
  2. non-dynamic home screen
  1. Static icons, no widgets
  1. theft from other platforms
  1. notifications
  1. theft by other manufacturers
  1. Samsung - shameless
  1. iOS 7 and the first major design shift

  1. This is a beta so things could change
  2. Lots of space
  3. omni-directional colour gradients
  4. grid-based icon construction - systemisation?
  5. the great flattening

to

  1. flat but really 3d
  2. physics engine
  3. low informational density
  4. the problems with light rather than dark on a phone gui

Hardware

  1. Jony Ive - lower the part count http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaLMOSWAwdw

Desktop Hardware

  1. First to ditch beige boxes
  2. infamous puck mouse - example of form over function
  3. Magic mouse – if your batteries run out you’re screwed
  4. no ‘wired’ version of the magic mouse. Does that suck arse?
  5. Mouse with the ball in the top is downright dumb design as the ball gets clogged with crap and quickly renders the mouse frustrating to use.

iMac

  1. Friendly, easy
  2. Original was all about the cathode ray tube
  3. As the technology became available, Apple works hard to make it invisible. The 2013 iMac is just a screen. Wires mostly gone, moving parts gone.
  4. When designing the first flat screen iMac, Steve didn’t want to put the guts behind the screen because that would defeat the purpose of having a thin screen. wanted the whole machine to look like a sunflower. A issue I always had with the new iMacs is that the thinness of the screen is irrelevant in terms of desk space because you can’t remove the stand and there’s no wall fitting - so it still takes up loads of room!

Mac Mini

  1. Clearly after the ultimate minimalism

New mac pro

  1. Height: 24.1cm, diameter: 16.8cm
  2. Old Mac:  Height: 51.1cm, width (head on) 20.6cm

  1. A lot smaller than the current behemoth
  2. Painted aluminium. Previous hardware has been black but not often.
  3. Not rack mountable

Portable Hardware

  1. overheating and cracking on polycarbonate laptops - especially during the IBM/Motorola days
  2. aluminium unibodies - major leap forward in terms of build quality
  3. Loss of superdrive
  4. quest for thinness, tapered edges
  5. Rotating the logo on laptop lids, now backlit and huge
  6. iPods, started it all
  7. early laptops, blackpowerbook
  8. iphones are dumb. Apple makes a handheld device slippery and made of glass.

PowerBook G4

  1. Separated keys
  2. Apple keyboard layout
  3. Strange symbols

iPhone

  1. Light years ahead at launch
  2. Simple but with the sophistication smoke and mirrors behind the scenes to make it simple
  3. iphone 4-5 flat sides, no wobbly curves
  4. home button symbol

Stores, Web Site & Marketing

Site

  1. Desktops and monitors operate on wireless power
  2. Shiny white plains

Stores

  1. Ikea look/effect - no soft furnishings!
  2. Scheduled t-shirt wearing
  3. Cathedralesque
  4. Staff not in your face but everywhere
  5. Isaacson’s book: It was suggested to Steve that he shouldn’t focus on product categories in the prototype store but on activities. Steve took that on board and delayed the launch to make the changes.
  6. clean, simple, spacious, uncluttered excepting the third-party ugly corner
  7. happy, shiny young people - although beauty shots of their hardware take precedence over the ubiquitous Tippex white smiles of the beautiful. Currently, there are no photos of faces on the main pages of the site
  8. Able to fully play with the products

Apple store Covent Garden - the biggest?

Marketing

  1. Television commercials: colourful, youthful, sometimes sickly, large focus on the activity e.g. music/ipod/iphone

Reception

  1. Apple is often made reference to when citing wonderful and thoughtful examples of design.
  2. The Apple backlash which includes harsh noise levelled at iOS 7 among others.
  3. Some grumblings in the tech community about how Apple may be losing some distance in its lead in the design stakes since the death of Jobs. A lot of design cues taken from other platforms in IOS7 e.g. flat style (Android ‘Holo’, Windows phone 8, notifications (android), multitasking (WebOS), lockscreen (Blackberry 10)

The Future

  1. displays thinner, more robust, everything vector-like scaling - no more pixels
  2. Liquid metal
  3. touch friendly throughout?
  4. Onion-like layered apps throughout
  5. Unification of platform software?

Wrap Up

  1. General feelings about the topic, what stood out, revelations, discoveries etcetera
  2. Notes on the web site: eclecticist.co.uk/notes/appledesign/
  3. Topic for next show: To be decided (Please check the web site)
  4. Outro music: ‘Black Swan’ by texasradiofish featuring Kae Furious. (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Show Notes

  1. Skeuomorph fan who was fired from Apple: Scott Forstall
  2. Discussion between Don Bluth, Larry Elin and Ralph Bakshi: YouTube
  3. The largest Apple store currently is in Amsterdam: Store page
  4. Thunderbolt 2 bandwidth: 2x 10Gbps channel (aggregated): Anandtech technical breakdown
  5. ‘Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display’ option currently available on the non-retina 15” Macbook Pro in the UK
  6. Chiclets http://www.oldtimecandy.com/chiclets.htm