Some time later, I worked on a twitter client with my pal Buzz. Afriend of his who worked at Apple told us this little story. Oneday while riding the elevator at Infinite Loop, he found himselfin the freakiest scenario any Apple employee can imagine: alone,with the elevator door opening to let Steve in. Being awell-adjusted individual, Buzz?s friend promptly disappearedinto the tap-world of his iPhone, lest he say or do somethingwrong in Steve?s presence. It was still the early days of iPhoneapps, and Steve did something that had apparently become a habitwith him. He reached for the iPhone and asked,
?What app is that??
?Birdfeed?, came the reply.
Steve tapped here and there, flicked the scrollview a bit, thenhanded the phone back. ?The background needs more texture,?he said.
I’ve heard similar stories regarding other apps, particularly within Apple. This is why Aqua debuted with those horizontal stripes. This is why Brushed Metal became a rock star. This is why iOS’s default UI theme features those vertical background stripes. This explains the proliferation of dark linen. And I’m definitely not saying it was Steve Jobs alone who held this opinion.
I’m just saying there’s a very strong line of thought within Apple, which came (and I’ll bet still comes) from the top, that distinctive in-app textures are important.?
From Richard Stallman’s 9000-ish-word rider for speaking engagements:
I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions aboutwhat I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up.
James Higgs, on the stark contrast between Apple’s minimalist hardware and often exuberantly-decorative software:
It should probably be obvious that my own preference is for designwithout ornamentation, certainly without a hint of sentimentality,and that I detest these new apps. Why?
Simply put: it’s because they are lies. They attempt to comfort us(to patronise us) by trying to show how they relate to physicalobjects in the real world when there is no need. How are we helpedto understand what Find My Friends does by the addition of“leather” trim? And how difficult can it be for someone, even arelative digital newcomer, to understand a list of books?Difficult enough that the only possible way they could understandit is to present them in a “wooden” bookshelf format?
My record as a critic of Apple’s use of over-the-top UI textures speaks for itself. And I’ve long noted something that Higgs emphasizes: that the use of these software skins today —rich Corinthian leather, dark linen, etc. — seems in contrast with the minimalism and truth of Apple’s hardware. The iPhone 4 and iPad are made of glass and aluminum, and they look like glass and aluminum. That’s truth. A decade ago, Apple’s exuberant software skins — candy-colored Aqua and brushed metal — always struck me as being designed as natural counterparts to Apple’s hardware of the day. Aqua was like the candy-colored iMacs, brushed metal the PowerBooks and Mac Pros.
I think Higgs is overthinking this, though. These themes aren’t lies. They’re not designed to help users understand how these apps work. They’re just decoration. They’re per-app branding. Apple no longer endorses system-wide visual uniformity. Special apps are supposed to look special. Why is Find My Friends wrapped in rich Corinthian leather? Because someone at Apple likes (and, sadly, if my guess is right, better said liked, past tense) how it looks.
And as for the dichotomy between Apple’s hardware and software designs: I think Apple sees the hardware as the universal frame, the software as dozens of diverse pictures.?
Sinead Carew and Yinka Adegoke, reporting for Reuters:
Sprint, which started taking iPhone orders on October 7, said itwould pay Apple a subsidy that is 40 percent higher, or $200 moreper device, than what it pays for other phones.
Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse told analysts on a conferencecall that the iPhone would be worth the extra cost as it hasalready lured record numbers of new customers to Sprint.
I’ll bet that’s true for all iPhone carriers, not just Sprint. This is how Apple soaks up a majority share of the industry’s profits while only selling 3 percent or so of the total handsets.?
The Lumia 800 looks like the Windows Phone Mango device to get.?
Seth Weintraub, last month:
But as part of the testimony, Creighton said briefly (before shewas cut off) that 2/3rds of mobile search comes from Apple iOSdevices. That?s pretty interesting considering the share ofAndroid devices in the market.
Keep this in mind, both regarding Siri as a threat to Google, and with the whole “Android is winning because there are more Android handsets than iPhones” thing.
I’ve speculated for years that by making Apple into an enemy, Google could wind up losing money with Android, long-term, compared to a hypothetical world where they’d kept Android as a BlackBerry-ish OS rather than an iPhone-ish one. iPhone users are the cream of the crop, demographically.?
Go to the ?thermostats? page on the Home Depot website —I?ve sorted the results to put the most expensive ones at thetop of the page — and see a bunch of white plastic boxes withblack-and-green LCD displays. And now you see why the Nestthermostat is exciting people today.
More than anything, this reminds me of the slide of 2006-erasmartphones — Motorola Q, BlackBerry Pearl, Palm Treo, NokiaE-something-something — that Steve Jobs displayed before heintroduced the iPhone for the first time. Night and day.
Apple’s priorities — simplicity, beauty, excellence — are becoming the industry’s priorities. You don’t have to be a former Apple employee to get on board this train, though.?
Appkruti is pleased to announce release of its new fun filled iPhone iPod application Video Squeak 1.0. This will make you squeak you with joy and keep you entertained for hours. This is no simple video recording app. With this application you can record video with funny voices. Try this record your favorite star singing a song and play it back (this can make even a sad song so hilarious). Download this application now and start having fun with your creativity.
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Fabulous book trailer for John Hodgman’s That Is All, the finale in his trilogy of complete world knowledge.?
Jonah Lehrer, writing for The New Yorker on Daniel Kahneman’s new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow:
It?s impossible to overstate the influence of Kahneman andTversky. Like Darwin, they helped to dismantle a longstanding mythof human exceptionalism. Although we?d always seen ourselves asrational creatures — this was our Promethean gift — it turns outthat human reason is rather feeble, easily overwhelmed by ancientinstincts and lazy biases. The mind is a deeply flawed machine.
Depressing, in a way, but it explains so much of our collective behavior. (Via Kontra.)?