I hate that Music.app is all-white.
It’s designed after Dieter Rams’ aesthetic style more than his overall design principles. This is exactly why people “hate skeuemorphism.” They misunderstand it as a battle between user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) over who owns the Product Team, UX being more incline towards a flatter simpler aesthetic.
Music.app is skeuemorphic in that it imitates a visual design aesthetic that Dieter Rams used for his physical products. This version of the app will be remembered as an ode to that visual design style. The imitation outshines the app’s new *digital* product design. In contrast, the *still physical* product design of Jony Ive and his Return of the Jedi team is iconic in its own right. Their work was an evolution of the work of Dieter Rams into 21st century personal digital products like the iPhone. Like PC’s but in your pants, more intimate. No kidding.
Music.app, however, does attempt to have its own visual identity. Every major app that people actually use has its own visual identity. Apple is losing market share for Camera.app and Photos.app to “competitor” apps like Instagram and Facebook. These apps are competing for the users attention against what I think Apple considers “system level functions” of playing music or capturing and browsing photos and videos. The problem, of course, is that these are not seen as system level tasks to users even if they might be rooted deeper into iOS technically for Apple’s engineering team. This dynamic is affecting iOS much more directly than it ever affected Apple native apps on Mac OSX. Maybe the aesthetic push was a sign that these teams were given more autonomy to really push forward with their app instead of thinking of it as a system level “task.”
This discussion normally deteriorates at some point into a “Flat vs Skeuemorphism” debate, but that’s missing the forest for the trees. Instead ask what it means for iOS if these system level functions, which the user perceives as basic things they hire their phone to do, are done better by competitors? This is already happening. Facebook and Google are already raking in tons of data on you through their app to serve you in the new data-driven world of digital product design.
If you don’t see Apple losing market share for iTunes on OSX, why would they consciously lose market share for Music.app? They know it, too. That’s why they tried Ping. They didn’t just buy the music social network Lala for shits and giggles. They recognized a user’s need for music to be social. But Ping failed and Apple retreated. Facebook is successfully serving exactly that need for 1B people. That’s why Facebook is starting to compete with Apple in the “digital product design” subdomain of OS design with Facebook Home for Android. Home wants to be for Android what Windows 3.0 was for IBM. You might not see it directly because their weak performance on Wall St., but their vision for people over tasks is as forward thinking as the idea of personal computer was to the mainframe computer industry dominated by IBM.
Music.app show’s signs that iOS under Forestall was going to be competitive in the way Apple had a competitive design team when hardware design mattered in the software design space. Apple might seem to be on top of it but in a world where apple design has already set the standard others follow, it must innovate in other dimensions or with new products to keep itself alive in the long term. Software Design in the form of web products like Facebook or Tumblr is that new frontier. That’s what Google does well with its cloud offering and big data voodoo. Thats what Facebook Home is doing with Mike Matas locked in a secret room. That’s why both companies ramped up their Design teams.
Music.app is really just skinned. Apple sees its own iOS apps as experiments to evolve iOS or exemplify a new feature in iOS retrospectively. Compass.app is purely an example app that everyone buries in an “Apple” folder somewhere on the last page d their home screen. It might have been made in a few weeks by a couple of people pulled from their regular work by direct order from Steve Jobs after the OS or something. This is in fact how Photos.app, Camera.app and even the first Maps.app was made. All coincidently the work of Mike Matas too. It can be argued that Music.app, just like Trailers.app, is an example of the UI theming feature new to iOS 5 (or was it 6?). But maybe it was more than that. Maybe the long-term design strategy changed in iOS that allowed the apps to be more autonomous to handle the real asymmetric competition Apple will be facing in their own backyards from people who helped build that backyard.
Even though I don’t like the visual design direction Music.app took, I know it doesn’t define the product, the team that made it, or iOS generally, and neither should anyone else. The idea that iOS is somehow “dated” and “uninspiring” compared to the new new is a statement that people *still* understand design as how it looks and not “how it works.” This is why I can’t for the life of me fathom a stary-eyed Jony Ive leading a world-class design team he’s never led before in a completely opposite aesthetic that someone else invented. …To make iOS more “inspiring”.
No. iOS is fighting the battle of asymmetric competition from apps like Facebook and Instagram. Maybe Scott Forestall pushed to break the HIG because he wanted Apple’s iOS apps to be prepared philosophically to compete in a landscape that has been disrupted by apps like Instagram and Facebook.
- Point and Shoot Digital Cameras
- Portable Navigation Systems: Garmin, TomTom
- Satelitte Radio: XM, Sirius
- Home Phones
- Mp3 Players
- Long Distance Calling Fees
- Personal Digital Assistants: Palm
I know I’m missing a lot more…what else?
Because the iPhone (and other smartphones) are just computers, their capabilities are limitless. The use cases are thus also limitless enabling it to disrupt any consumer electronics market:
- Personal gaming devices like the PSP and Gameboy
- All Radio (not just satellite radio). I used to listen to Yankees games on the radio when I didn’t have the YES network. But that about defined my radio consumption. Now I listen to dozens of podcasts about software and design regularly, all of which utilize the radio talk show format.
- Ketan: both my machines here dont have any music on them
- Ketan: (sadface)
- Ketan: I'm listening on my iphone
- Ketan: muzzy for ipHONE!
- Pedro: LOL
- Pedro: no.
- Ketan: iPad?
- Pedro: hmm
- Pedro: no
- Ketan: Windows Phone?
- Pedro: maybe
- Ketan: Google Glass?
- Pedro: I like that
- Pedro: YES!
- Ketan: car!
- Pedro: already developing it
- Ketan: plane
- Pedro: no
- Ketan: Muzzy for Submarines
- Pedro: (facepalm)
- Pedro: that escalated quickly
the craigslist experience includes:
- an unusually philanthropic company mission and philosophy;
- an opportunity to work on one of the most used websites in the world;
- the prospect of imagining, designing, coding, and releasing a better CL;
- non-garden-variety tech challenges à la billions-of-page-views-per-day;
- a workplace free of VCs, MBAs, sales, marketing, biz dev, endless meetings;
- a continuous deployment environment — we ship code 2-20x a day;
- tens of millions of people experiencing the bugs features you develop;
- a chance to work with open source technologies at ridiculous scale;
- free love from CL users for making site improvements;
- laid-back, down-to-earth, non-corporate vibe;
- a small team of fun, smart, interesting, idealistic people;
- a San Francisco office location well served by transit;
- millions in company charitable giving each year to worthy causes;
- a small company culture with better benefits than most large companies;
- market rates for you — free classifieds for humanity.
A little girl possessed seems to snap out of it when she recognizes a face in the distance. She runs towards it. Abruptly she stops as if in horror and starts running back. Mumbling as you see her getting closer to you, she disappears completely.
• Drink lots of water
• Breathe deeply
• Exhale slowly
• Switch to Dvorak, spread the word
• Dissolve all forms of encountered adversity with compassion
• Question the nature of reality, consciousness, thought, the human experience, and recursive simulations
- Manager: We need feature X
- Worker: We need to reprioritize then
- Manager: OK, send me a prioritized list of stuff youre working on
- Worker: It's not immediately obvious what takes priority
- Manger: Fine, let's redeisgn our process to develop features. Write up a document on that new process.
- Worker: Is that really my job? I mean.. uh...
- Manager: Fine, I've scheduled a meeting with all the department heads to discuss team roles and responsibilites
- Worker: What?
- Ketan: what we really need is a Head of Software Specifications
- John: he can report to the Head of Software Specification Formats
- Ketan: Which all funnels into the Ministry of Information
- John: those specs are on a need to know basis...
- Ketan: We've obfuscated the code, all we need from you is the visuals