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