Apple continues website redesign, flattens support pages

Downloads-Support-Pages-July2013

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

From beta 1 to release: how each major iOS version has transformed

Beta

Following its introduction earlier this month, Apple’s newest operating system has fallen under criticism and scrutiny from both designers and casual users alike. Due to both the tight development timetable and the new design direction under Jony Ive, following the removal of former iOS SVP Scott Forstall last fall, iOS 7 is, understandably, the most controversial and intriguing iOS version yet.

In response to much of the negative criticism directed towards iOS 7, some have suggested that iOS 7 will change substantially before it is released to the general public. Looking back at previous versions of iOS reveals a long trend of subtle refinements to the operating system during beta periods, not dramatic changes. Let’s take a look at how each version of iOS has transformed:

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Bloomberg: Apple to release its iWatch within 9 months

iWatch-Concept-slap-bracelet

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:

Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.

The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:

Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.

Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” Read more

Full Jony Ive BBC video reveals ‘out of the box’ thinking on product naming, David Beckham connection

9to5Mac showed you a clip just last week from a recent BBC special of Sir Jony Ive receiving the prestigious gold Blue Peter badge (known as the highest accolade given out by the BBC’s Blue Peter program). We got our hands on the full Jony Ive clip from the technology special today, where we learn, among other things, about Apple’s ‘out of the box’ thinking on product naming and a little-known connection to David Beckham.

If we’re thinking of a lunchbox, we’d be really careful about not having the word ‘box’… already give you bunch of ideas that could be quite narrow. Because you think of a box being a square and like a cube. And so we’re quite careful with the words we use because those can sort of determine the path that you go down.

Perhaps you could replace ‘Box’ with ‘watch’ and be on to something.

Earlier this year, Apple’s design guru assumed software design responsibilities from former longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall. CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that Ive “has the best taste of anyone in the world” and looks forward to his new role designing the “look and feel of the software.” Read more

Report: Scott Forstall wouldn’t participate in Jony Ive’s iPhone design meetings

Earlier this week, we learned iOS chief Scott Forstall will leave Apple at the end of this year and has been moved to an advisory role to CEO Tim Cook until then. Giving us a look into the closed doors of Apple, Bloomberg noted this morning that Forstall and famed-Apple designer Jony Ive had a fiery relationship and couldn’t work together in the same room—nor be together during meetings. During the beginning design phases, Forstall was present in Ive’s iPhone meetings:

Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn’t participate in the meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because the meetings were private. Ive and Forstall were rarely in the same room, the people said.

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Covering the Apple Exec Shakeup: Mansfield lured back by Forstall departure, Ive will clean UI, eliminate skeuomorphic design

Since Apple announced late last month that longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall and newly appointed head of retail John Browett would soon leave the company, there has been much talk about CEO Tim Cook’s direction at the executive level going forward.

The departure of Forstall saw bigger responsibilities and new roles given to executives Craig Federighi, Bob Mansfield, and Jony Ive, leading to rumors Forstall didn’t see eye to eye with the other executives. Bob Mansfield’s return after announcing retirement is also interesting, as it is something new sources said was directly influenced by Forstall leaving. Some even said Forstall’s refusal to sign the Maps apology lead to Cook’s decision. There are a few in-depth reports today, with many citing people close to the company, speculating on what these changes might actually mean for the company and for iOS in the months and years to come.

AllThingsD is out with a new report, claiming Mansfield’s return might have been directly influenced by Forstall’s departure:

All Things D:

Sources said that Mansfield was actually very serious about retiring, which makes his quick return to Apple all the more curious… As one source close to the company told AllThingsD, “The timing of Bob’s return is notcoincidental.” To begin, Mansfield was not a fan of Forstall’s confrontational management style, and sources said he generally tried to avoid the iOS exec.

“It wasn’t a him-or-me situation,” one source said of Mansfield’s return and Forstall’s ouster. “But, put it this way, I think Bob was much more willing to commit to two more years once he knew Scott was on his way out.”

Many of the reports speculated Jony Ive’s new role picking up Forstall’s Human Interface responsibilities would lead to major changes in iOS’ visual design:

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