Posts Tagged: jony ive

Nov 12

The great skeuomorphism misunderstanding

No, I’m not quite ready to let the skeuomorphism thing die just yet. Humor me.

I was relieved that Tim Cook dismissed Scott Forstall and put Jony Ive in charge of Human Interface.

I was surprised when I read so many articles that seemed to misinterpret what had just happened.

I lost count of the articles proclaiming the death of skeuomorphism. Such as:

Skeuomorphism is (finally) dead: So what is Apple’s next move? and Jonathan Ive to rid skeumorphism in iOS and OS X.

News flash: skeuomorphism is not dead. What’s dead are cheesy, antiquated graphics — like the stitched leather look in Contacts and Calendar. These were aberrations in a world that had been built upon good taste. Continue reading →

Oct 12

Jony Ive to the rescue!

I’ve never been a fan of the cheesy leather stitching that’s crept into OS X and iOS 6.

Actually, let me rephrase that:

I loathe it.

It’s not like I’m alone. I’ve never had a problem finding people equally repelled. Many in the design community have openly expressed their contempt.

This is the “skeuomorphism” issue that has reportedly been a point of dissension inside Apple between the Scott Forstall and Jony Ive camps. Should apps be designed to look like their real-world counterparts?

It’s one thing to create a skeuomorphic theme for an app. It’s quite another to create one that dates back to ancient times. I’ve never had a “desk blotter” calendar. Maybe my father did. Certainly no one under 40 can relate to it.

And what is it about the Find My Friends app that deserves the leather stitched treatment? Continue reading →

Mar 12

Jony Ive nails the Apple difference

The London Evening Standard published an interview with Jony Ive yesterday. It was filled with Jony-speak (and I mean that in a positive way), but one section in particular stood out.

Jony pointed out that what separates Apple from many of its competitors is its motivation. Apple has “a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.”

He says that many are “interested in doing something different, or want to appear new.” They focus on “price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different… with scant regard for people who use the product.”


I’ve long believed this to be true. I made a similar point in a 2010 article about Google taking this approach with Android — going out of its way to be “different” even if that wasn’t better. Continue reading →

Jun 11

Jony Ive’s long-lost brother

Meet Marko Ahtisaari, fraternal twin of Jony Ive.

Interestingly, though Marko and Jony were separated at birth, Marko ended up working in the same line of business. He’s Senior VP of Design at Nokia, responsible for that company’s new N9 smartphone. DNA is a powerful thing.

But it gets even more interesting.

It turns out that everyone in Apple’s creative department has a twin sibling — and they all work at Nokia. That would include the launch video writer, the director and the entire video production crew…

It is absolutely true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the world of global commerce, however, it’s also a big, lazy ripoff.

It’s just not possible to create a video so uncannily similar to Apple’s unless you set out with the specific goal of duplicating their work. (With the obvious motive of trying to duplicate their success.)

We should keep in mind that this is the sad work of Nokia’s marketing department, not their engineering department. However, the guys who designed and built the N9 aren’t off the hook yet.

It was last April when Nokia announced their new partnership with Microsoft, which was to result in Windows Phone 7 replacing their Symbian and MeeGo OSes. Yet the N9 is a major new phone from Nokia — still running MeeGo.

A high-stakes double-cross? Playing both sides of the street? Or just a ploy to thoroughly confuse the investment community?

Whatever, all of the above shows that Nokia is one company who has much to learn about sending a simple message. Or an original one.

[Thanks, cbee, for the tip.]

Oct 09

The mouse completes its journey


Okay, it may not be the most spectacular part of the computing experience — but Apple has always had a special place in its heart for the l’il critter that helped launch Revolution #1.

Here’s a quick stroll down memory lane, starting with the very first Macintosh mouse (which clearly shared some DNA with the common chimney brick).

Savor for a moment one of Apple’s most wretched mistakes: the hockey-puck mouse that shipped with the original iMac. Having no obvious “up” or “down” by feel, it sent cursors flying in all the wrong directions. A classic case of over-design. For consumers it was a major annoyance, for pros (it also shipped with the Power Mac) it was an outright insult.

Fortunately, chief designer Jony Ive recovered from that one. Form and function then lived happily ever after as we got the multi-button mouse with no buttons, the innovative scroll wheel (on the questionably named Mighty Mouse), and now, fresh out of the oven, the Magic Mouse. Clearly, this is the mother of all mice — now standard with the new iMacs and also available separately.

I tried one the other day and, creepy as it may sound, it actually made me smile. The entire mouse is a button, the entire surface is touch sensitive. You scroll or flip through pages simply by sliding a finger or two. It really is one of those “what will they think of next” moments. And it gives you the feeling that Apple puts more thinking into their mouse than most computer makers put into their PCs.