There was an interesting post this morning in Daring Fireball about yesterday’s iPhone 5 and Music Event. As a designer, it’s hard not to love a company that cares this much about design.
When Schiller unveiled the iPhone 5, it rose from the stage floor on a smoothly-rising and rotating pedestal, pinpoint spotlights hitting the phone and only the phone. The rotation of the iPhone atop the pedestal was in perfect sync with the rotation of the iPhone projected on the big screen at the back of the stage. There’s no store where you buy such pedestals; Apple designed and engineered it specifically for this event. It was on stage for about a minute.
Despite their size, and the loss of a visionary leader, Apple continues to value design. I find that quite heartening.
“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.”
— Steve Jobs
I often feel there are many similarities between music and the work I do on a computer. One such similarity is my concern over the tools I use. I figure if you’re going to use something often, you should take the time to really play around with your options, and get the best out there, because the difference in price can be surprisingly negligible.
Having spent time both working on computers and making music without having a lot of money to spare, I’ve often settled—and gotten quite comfortable—with subpar gear. My first computer was an Atari 400, a computer which had a “membrane keyboard” which was basically like typing on an iPad, but worse. My first musical keyboard was no better.
In fact, when I think about it, even the gear I’m using now feels rather anemic. Modern Apple keyboards are fashionable and functional, but force your fingers to do all the work. They’re like these small keyboards that only cover half the range of a piano, and have a flat feeling, leaving you wondering when you’ve actually struck the note. Continue reading
I’ve noticed this subtle touch in Photos on iPad (and iPhone) before, but I guess it never really registered. I was thinking about it last night, and I realized it’s just the kind of thing that Apple pays attention to and does well.
When you’re flipping between pictures, notice that there’s a gap between them. It’s deliberate—and most people wouldn’t think to add a space there. Continue reading
In the short period of time since the release of the new iPads, we’ve been looking at many of our past web projects with curious eyes, to see how they hold up. The new iPad has a retina display, like the iPhone 4 series, which means that it packs 4 pixels into the space of 1, giving it four times the resolution and far more detail. It’s been 10 days now, and we’ve got some suggestions to share.
First of all, be sure to just open your site and play around with it on the iPad. This certainly isn’t a new concept, but we were surprised to find that some of our sites actually crashed the web browser! This was likely due, in our case, to images that were taking up way too much memory at retina resolution, but I expect to see the problem elsewhere.
When loading in a website, often the very first graphic shown is a logo. And since these are typically rendered as images, the first things visitors see on a new iPad—your logo, the centerpiece of your identity—is going to look blocky. That’s a relatively easy fix. Logo graphics are often very small files, so you may be able to replace yours with an image that’s twice the width and height, and tell the browser to show it at the old (smaller) size. On normal browsers, it will look the same, but on the new iPad it will look terrific.
“Obsessing over details and bringing a Buddhist level of focus to a narrow assortment of offerings sets Apple apart from its competitors. Buddhism—a faith Jobs studied intensely—teaches that if you are going to prepare a cup of tea, the making of the cup of tea should command all your attention; even this insignificant task should be completed with all the mastery you can bring to it.”
From Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky
There is a brief but insightful interview with Jonathan Ive of Apple in The London Evening Standard today. My favorite part:
Q: Users have become obsessively attached to Apple products. Why?
A: When I used a Mac I had a keen awareness of the values of those who made it. I think people’s emotional connection to our product is that they sense our care, and the amount of work that has gone into creating it.
One of our highest goals as a design agency is to communicate the values of our clients to their audience. When we achieve that, we feel the most successful.
Saw this old screenshot from Word on a Mac back in the 80s, and I thought the contrast was quite striking.
User interface on an Apple device, 25 years ago:
User interface on an Apple device, today:
So Alfred 1.0 is finally out today.
For those who haven’t heard of it, Alfred is a Mac app that lets you use powerful keyboard shortcuts to get your work done faster. It’s kind of like a much-improved version of Apple’s Spotlight utility. But it does a lot more.
I’ve been using it for months now, and even purchased the full version a while back, making a rare exception to my policy of not paying for software until it hits a 1.0 version. It’s that good.
However, you can download a free version and use it right now. It’s great even if you don’t pay for it, but you might find yourself wanting some of the more powerful features, which is fine, since it’s also very affordable. Continue reading
For years – since 2007, at least – we’ve been encouraging people to drop Flash. We haven’t built a Flash site in the last five years, and several of our projects have involved rebuilding websites we’ve already designed in Flash, long ago, so that they’re friendlier to modern web browsing expectations. (Our redesign of Masu Sushi‘s website is a good example.)
So the news was not much of a surprise to us today: Adobe Flash Meets Its End. Adobe officially announced today that they’re no longer developing Flash for mobile devices. You could argue that Steve won, but we think everybody won. We doubt it will be long before Adobe stops developing Flash altogether. The writing has been on the wall for years.