I’ve settled into Lion very well now, thank you. Happy as a clam.
I picked up a Magic Trackpad, which made a huge difference. I was so smitten by the log-in background, I made that my desktop image. (Download that here, if you’re interested.) Now everything looks gorgeous.
Except for iCal — which remains hideous.
Honestly, I feel bad complaining about such a detail when I’m so happy with Lion overall. It’s like telling the hostess who invited me to an elaborate dinner party that her shoes are ugly.
But I’m sorry: iCal is ugly. And Address Book is only slightly less ugly.
It’s not that these apps are literally unsightly or poorly crafted — they just don’t fit in with the rest of the dinner party. With most of Lion being so elegant, the metaphor of the old leather desk blotter feels embarrassingly out of place.
If, for some reason — and it’s a very big “if” — one felt compelled to dress up iCal like a physical calendar, one could easily find a more modern design. The idea of Mac OS X going “retro” is just unsettling on many levels.
I get that in the full-screen world of iPad, these types of rich graphics make sense. They add to the fun of it. A 27-inch iMac is a bit different. You don’t want to use every app full-screen. I like to keep iCal open on the side, and now it’s become an iSore.
It would have been different if Apple shipped a choice of iCal themes with Lion and opened a market for new themes. But they didn’t. They forced me into a design that has a specific and limited appeal.
(By the way, it is possible to go in and change the iCal theme if you’re the tinkering type. Instructions here.)
So what gives?
We know for a fact that Steve Jobs approves every last interface element. Yet it’s really hard to imagine Steve, champion of elegant design, approving this. It’s enough to make one think this might be a responsibility Steve has now passed off to others.
All in all, I do think the Lion team did an amazing job. I just have one request for the next version of OS X: please run it by Jony before you do anything rash.