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

Redesigned iPhoto & Garageband iOS icons appear, indicate likely makeovers next week

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Redesigned icons for iPhoto for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and Garageband have appeared in the iCloud Storage Management function in the iOS Settings app. The new icons are simpler, flatter, and is designed with iOS 7’s new icon grid system in mind. They are a stark contrast from the colorful, 3D-like icons used in the current versions of the apps.

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In line with the app redesigns for all of Apple’s bundled iOS 7 apps, it is likely that the new icon will come as a complement to a completely redesigned version of the iPhoto app. When Apple released iOS 7 last month, the designs to Apple’s App Store apps went noticeably unchanged. Besides iPhoto, Apple has a slew of other App Store apps (like iWork’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote & iLife’s iMovie). However, there are yet to be any solid indications of redesigns for the other apps…

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Apple hires one of Nike’s top Fuel Band designers to work on wearable devices

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Apple has lured away top Nike design director Ben Shaffer, according to a source at Nike with knowledge of the details behind Shaffer’s departure. At Nike, Shaffer was the Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen. This is Nike’s research and development lab where new product designs are created. Under Shaffer’s lead, Nike was named the most innovative company in 2013 by Fast Company. Nike’s Innovation Kitchen has been connected to wearable products like the popular Nike Fuel Band, and most recently, the Flyknit shoe.

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With Apple’s continued development of its own wearable watch-like device, Shaffer’s experience in working on the wearables with Nike will be critical. The Nike Fuel Band is a popular product amongst Apple executives, including Apple CEO (and Nike Board member) Tim Cook and former Hardware lead Bob Mansfield. Based on Apple’s experience and usage of the Fuel Band product, it seems like that Apple’s own wearable computer will have similar fitness-tracking abilities. Furthermore, we recently reported that Apple hired the top fitness-expert (and Nike consultant) for the Fuel Band, Jay Blahnik...

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A look at what an iOS 7-inspired OS X could look like [Gallery]

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In light of the upcoming launch of iOS 7, designer Stu Crew and other designers have imagined what a version of the OS X operating system with iOS 7 design principles could look like. Crew’s design matches iOS 7 by removing the heavy, metaphoric textures from OS X. The image above showcases a look at a desktop with many of the apps, and you can see how Finder, Calculator, Contacts, and iTunes received inspiration from iOS 7.

With iOS 5, iOS 6 and OS X Lion, OS X Mountain Lion, Apple moved to unify both the feature-sets and user-interfaces of its mobile and desktop operating systems. This fall, due to a leadership change at Apple, iOS and OS X will see different design philosophies. iOS 7 is “flat,” lacks heavy textures, while OS X retains its long-existing silver/metal design, keeps the green felt in Game Center, but drops the leather in Calendar and Contacts.

With integrated experiences and uniformity embedded into Apple’s DNA, it would not be surprising to see OS X look like iOS again in coming years. Below is a full gallery from Crew (in addition to some more mockups from other designers) of what an iOS 7-inspired OS X could look like.

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Apple continues website redesign, flattens support pages

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As noted by several 9to5 readers, Apple has just recently updated its Support pages through Apple.com to better reflect the redesign the rest of the site has been receiving in recent months.  Today’s update provides a new design for the majority of support pages available through Apple.com/support, including: Videos, Manuals, Tech Specs, and Downloads.

Apple used to present these pages using a design that was a few generations behind the rest of the site and displayed links in a search result style list. Today’s update brings a flat grid style layout that allows users to select or search for a product in order to find related manuals, videos, tech specs, etc, but also displays search results by product in the grid layout.

Apple.com’s search result pages also get a cleaner look today to match the recent Apple online store design (pictured below). Read more

In an iOS 7 world, here’s how Apple’s iLife, iWork, iBooks and other apps could look

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The introduction of iOS 7 brought forth a new era of iOS design: one that discards old thinking and draws little inspiration from past designs. While Apple’s included applications in iOS 7 have all been updated for the new design aesthetic, their App Store apps haven’t. Installing any of Apple’s other applications alongside iOS 7 reveals a huge discrepancy between the old, skeuomorphic design, and the new, flatter look. Obviously, Apple will have to redesign all of their App Store applications. So, what will they look like?

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