Will the iPhone 6 include a reversible USB cable? Recent Apple patent makes it possible.

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The iPhone 6’s packaging might not only include a redesigned smartphone, but a redesigned USB to Lightning cable. While it’s unlikely that Apple will yet-again change the Lightning port introduced with the 2012 iPhone 5 anytime in the near future, a redesigned version of the USB plug could be ready for this fall. Sketchy photos of a reversible USB cable first surfaced on the web last week, and Sonny Dickson yesterday shared another shot of the cables via Twitter.

Like the Lightning connector, the benefit of a reversible USB connector is that it can be inserted into a USB port in either direction. This makes it easier to insert the connector in darkly lit or hard to reach places (like behind a desk). Due to uncertain sourcing, the first batch of photos did not seem completely believable, but digging a little deeper into the situation reveals that Apple readying a reversible USB iPhone cable is a real possibility…

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Will Apple also update the next iPads with rounded edges? (Poll)

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One of our favorite designers of Apple concepts, Martin Hajek, has put together this visual showing how a new iPad mini design might compare with the existing one if it were based on the design of the iPhone 6.

The existing design, top, has the familiar flat front and tapered, chamfered edge. The bottom one, Hajek’s concept, has the rounded edge now familiar from countless iPhone 6 renders, mockups and purported leaked parts

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These iPhone 6 renders show design details that physical mockups ignore [Gallery]

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For months, physical mockups, display components, front covers, and schematics for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 have leaked on the web. However, the physical reconstructions and diagrams simply do not do the potential design of the redesigned smartphone justice. Based on recent reports and earlier part leaks, designer Mark Pelin has created a set of iPhone 6 design renders that might just be the clearest and nicest looking view of the potential phone. You can see the full image gallery below from Pelin:

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Jony Ive on new materials, software design, Tim Cook’s leadership

Jony Ive via Telegraph.co.uk

Following a few quotes from a Jony Ive interview with The New York Times appearing in a longer piece about Tim Cook over the weekend, the publication has now published a longer transcript from the interview. In the interview, Ive was asked about working with Cook, how things have changed post Steve Jobs, and he also gave some insight into his daily work routine.  We meet on average three times a week. Sometimes those meetings are over in his space, sometimes here in the design studio. We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be.”

Ive described his new role leading software design at the company as “some leadership and direction in terms of user interface – a subset of software,” and most interestingly seemed to hint at using new materials for products that the company hasn’t worked with before. Naturally, Ive would have loved to say more but couldn’t: I would love to talk about future stuff – they’re materials we haven’t worked in before. I’ve been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials.” Read more

Another iPhone 6 mockup shown off in new photos, now in Space Gray

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More images of an iPhone 6 mockup have recently been published via NoWhereElse. At this point, publishing these dummy models has become somewhat of a daily ritual, but they are definitely interesting to look at.

If it means anything, these are definitely the most detailed iPhone 6 dummy models that we’ve seen to date. Like previous mockups, there’s nothing special to see here, but if these models are designed around the rumored specifications, it may give us an idea of what’s coming down the line later this year.

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Jony Ive shakes up Apple’s software design group, iPhone interface creator Greg Christie departing

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Following friction between top Apple Human Interface Vice President Greg Christie and Senior Vice President Jony Ive, Apple’s hardware and software design is being dramatically shaken up, according to sources familiar with the matter. After adding human interface design direction to his responsibilities in 2012, Ive will soon completely subsume Apple’s software design group, wresting control away from long-time human interface design chief Christie, according to sources briefed on the matter. Previous to this shakeup, all Apple software design has been led by Christie, who has reported to Craig Federighi, and Ive has been attending interface design meetings and providing instruction…

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Latest iPhone 6 concept based on Japanese sketches looks more persuasive

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Martin Hajek has been busy this week: after iPhoneclub commissioned him to create concept images of an iPod Nano-inspired design of the iPhone 6, French site Nowhereelse asked him to use the Japanese sketches mentioned in that piece to create something far closer to the existing iPhone 5s design.

With many of our commentators criticizing the square corners of the previous concept, this latest one returns us to the rounded corners we know and love. More controversially, perhaps, we also see a return to the glass back. More images below the fold …

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Sunday Times interviews Jonathan Ive on everything design, Apple, and much more

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The UK’s Sunday Timespublished a massive, five-page interview (paywall) with Apple SVP of Design Jonathan Ive today that takes a look at the history and future of Apple from the perspective of the man who designed some of the most iconic devices of the past decade.

In the interview, Ive discusses (among other things) his approach to designing new products, which allows a device’s function to dictate its form:

Ive starts a new project by imagining what a new kind of product should be and what it should do. Only once he’s answered those questions does he work out what it should look like. He seeks advice in unlikely places. He worked with confectionery manufacturers to perfect the translucent jelly-bean shades of his first big hit, the original iMac. He travelled to Niigata in northern Japan to see how metalworkers there beat metal so thin, to help him create the Titanium PowerBook, the first lightweight aluminum laptop in a world of hefty black plastic slabs.

With regard to manufacturers like Samsung “referencing” Apple’s design in their products, Ive called the practice “theft” of “thousands of hours of struggle.”  Read more

Retail section of Apple.com updated with new design inspired by iOS 7

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Apple quietly updated the retail section of its website today with a new look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Where the previous version of these pages used content boxes, borders, textured backgrounds, and gradients, the new page instead utilizes ample whitespace and thinner typefaces.

The change is probably best illustrated on the section’s home page, where images previously constrained by content boxes now fill the entire page. On the “Learn” page, buttons with heavy gradients have been replaced by thinly-outlined, lighter versions of the previous design. Gradient-filled headers have disappeared from every page, now replaced by unadorned text.

Oddly, the “Make a Reservation” button that allowed users to quickly create a Genius Bar appointment has been removed from the site’s navigation. Appointments can only be made by navigating to the Genius Bar page and clicking a link in the first paragraph of that page’s content. The Concierge page has not been updated to the new design yet.

You’ll find a bunch of before-and-after comparisons and take our poll on the new design below:

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Poll: Do you like the iOS 7.1 beta 3 interface tweaks?

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Yesterday, Apple issued the third beta of iOS 7.1 to developers for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Like the original beta track for iOS 7.0, these iOS 7.1 betas have slowly been introducing some user-interface tweaks to the iOS Device experience. While not significant, changes to the Phone application, system sliders, some icons, and the keyboard slightly alter the way Apple’s products are used. Many of you sounded off in the comments about the changes, but we’ve compiled a poll (below) for you to vote if you like each new change over the iterations in the current release of iOS 7:

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Mini review: Kerf Case wooden iPhone cases

As regular readers may have noted, I’m a great fan of wood as a material. The ifrogz case I reviewed earlier in the year was wonderful in terms of aesthetics and build quality, but was essentially designed as a semi-permanent enclosure, which isn’t always convenient.

Others, like the iWood cases reviewed in the same piece, are more convenient but don’t feel as special. The Kerf Case is designed to bridge the gap: a genuine, all-wood case with the convenience of slipping it on and off in a second or two. Cases are available for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5s …  Read more