Just when the rumor mill was poised to start churning out reports of thinner, lighter, more powerful iPads, Apple had to go and throw a big bucket of cold water on our hopes for a spring refresh. Instead of teasing us with an invitation to a press event, Apple rather unceremoniously added a top-of-the-line model to the existing catalogue, likely signaling at least six more months of the current design.
Perhaps we've all been a little too spoiled by iOS.
Our iPhones are filled with gorgeous, hand-crafted apps that give us years of refinements and upgrades for less than the cost of a latte. We expect every interface to be refined and elegant without giving much thought to the time or energy that goes into it; and thanks to the relative ease of developing for iOS and its multitude of users, developers can mostly afford to do so.
The App Store is filled with ways to write on the iPhone. Some are clean and quick, others are overly designed digital notebooks with features that mostly get in the way. None of them are perfect. I use several writing apps throughout the day depending on my mood and need, and judging by the overlapping reviews in the App Store, it would seem I'm not alone. At least one iPhone developer was fed up enough to do something about it.
Now that the booths have been broken down, the awards have been handed out and the last bit of per diem has been fed into a slot machine at McCarran International Airport, there's a general sense that something was missing from CES. Somehow, among the thousands of exhibitors, products and prototypes, the biggest splash was a television that few consumers could afford and a keynote presentation that the greatest minds in tech journalism are still trying to figure out.
CES is always a big show every year, even if it doesn't always produce much in the way of Apple or iOS news, but there was more than enough going on with Apple and its competitors. Amazon did a little something new with downloadable music, Russia made a giant iPhone model, and there was some confusion about cheap iPhones. Plenty more where this came from.
You've probably read a bunch of "best of" lists over the past few weeks, but I couldn't let 2012 go by without honoring some of the best-designed apps in the App Store. So, without further ado, I present my picks for the 2012 Rounded Rectangles iOS Design Awards. It seemed like all the good categories were taken, so I had to come up with a few of my own...
Rounded Rectangles is a design column that runs every Tuesday on MacLife.com. This week's Tuesday is Christmas, however, the one day of the year when nobody wants to read about awesome technology and the ways Apple finds to make it special. So while we aren't normally in the habit of publishing poetry, we humbly present the following for your consideration.
All-in-ones are meant to be seen. From the Twentieth Anniversary Mac to whatever Dell's selling these days, all-in-one computers are built to embrace their top-of-the-desk status, beckoning users with sleek curves and handsome enclosures. Nowhere is this more true than with the iMac. From the early days of Bondi Blue to the newest aluminum-and-glass marvel, the iMac has always represented Apple's unabashed pursuit of physical perfection. In a sense, it could be the ultimate representation of form over function; every sacrifice has been made for the sake of design, every decision has been made for aesthetics.
When The Daily launched in February 2011, it had everyone's attention. At a very publicized event in New York City, Rupert Murdoch announced a venture to "give readers everywhere the engaging experience of a magazine combined with the need-to-know content of a newspaper and the immediacy of the Internet." With The Daily's final issue due out on Dec. 15, it might be easy to dismiss the young publication as a failure. This is a mistake.
I still remember my first visit to an Apple Store. Several years later, I would live close enough to walk to one, but back then there were barely 15 of them, so as soon as one opened within rational driving distance, I made sure to get there. Roughly 65 miles away, I set my sights on Woodcliff Lake, N.J., where Apple had targeted a new shopping center for its first store in the tri-state area.