As we reported in April, Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive has been leading a thorough overhaul for iOS 7 that focuses on the look and feel of the iOS device software rather than on several new features.
Sources have described iOS 7 as “black, white, and flat all over.” This refers to the dropping of heavy textures and the addition of several new black and white user interface elements.
Sources say that over the past few months, Apple has re-architected iOS 7′s new interface several times, so until the new software is announced at WWDC, interface elements could dramatically change from what Apple has been testing internally in recent weeks.
Nonetheless, you can find what we have been hearing about iOS 7′s new user experience below:
We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.
He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost: Read more
“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,” said Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer (no relation to Sony’s ex-CEO Howard Stringer), who has been a part of every design since 1995, when he testified today in court as part of the Apple vs. Samsung trial.
Who helps imagine those products that come to life? Stringer told the court that Apple has a small team of only 15 or 16 people who design the original idea for the company’s key products, from the iPhone to the MacBook Pro, AllThingsD first reported. Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jonny Ive, is of the group.
Interestingly, he added the design process begins around a kitchen table, where the intimate team hashes out ideas to someday come to light. If the team believes an idea is good enough, the idea will be made into a physical model. In typical Apple design fashion, the group pays so much attention to detail that there can be up to 50 drawings for one button. What a crazy look into the start of the products we use everyday.
Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller is set to take stand next in the case, where both parties are seeking damages over a slew of patents. What a treasure trove of information this case is turning out to be.
In a rare Q&A with the Evening Standard‘s Mark Prigg from the firm’s headquarters, Apple’s design guru talks about Apple’s design process and of course the competition.
When asked what made design different at Apple, Ive responded:
A: We struggle with the right words to describe the design process at Apple, but it is very much about designing and prototyping and making. When you separate those, I think the final result suffers. If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. To solve and address those requires a remarkable focus. There’s a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don’t see those in combination very often.
On the genesis of new products:
A: What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. Where you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you make a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea and everything changes — the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It’s a remarkable process.
Apple’s goal when building a new product:
A: Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.
Why is the competition seemingly unable to keep pace with Apple?:
A:Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different, or want to appear new — I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us — a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.
One particularly interesting comment regarded the praise Ive has for Apple’s iOS iPhoto team (which I do not believe Ive is involved with). He gushed, “The iPhoto app we created for the new iPad completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.”