While there's a synergy between iOS and Apple TV, the two interfaces couldn't be any more different. Put them side by side and they barely resemble each other; if anything, they've gotten further apart with their latest respective updates. Apple has designed each interface to work in its respective environment — we're never going be tapping our televisions to play a movie, and we won't be navigating our iPads with a remote anytime soon.
But there might be a way to bring it all together. At Apple's quarterly results conference call, Tim Cook divulged a bit more about the mysterious iOS in the Car initiative, calling it a "key part of the ecosystem."
Every baseball fan who owned an iPad in 2011 made a spot on their home screen for Pennant. No longer did we have to stare at tiny boxes full of tabulated numbers to see how many hits, runs and errors were recorded on a given night; more than 60 years of games, standings and stats were presented as stunning, animated infographics that responded to our every touch and swipe.
There was no learning curve, mainly because there was no labored interface to get in the way. Creator Steve Varga built Pennant as OS-agnostic, and it showed; everything felt natural and logical, from the carousel of teams and games to the floating navigation bar that paid little mind to Apple's design guidelines.
Call me crazy, but I'm just not sold on the whole iWatch thing.
Of course, that's not to say Apple isn't building one, or that it won't be an unfathomable success, or even that I won't rush out to buy one if and when it releases. But from where I'm standing, I just don't see the reason for it.
For the past 12 years, we've been dreaming about OS XI. Based on Apple's relatively unconventional roadmap--point releases are tied to major changes, a break from the classic system of whole numbers--conventional wisdom assumed that Mac OS X 10.10 just wouldn't fly, and Apple would be forced to overhaul the whole system and rebrand things accordingly.
The upcoming release of iOS 7 seems to lend even more credence to that theory. Presumably, Jony Ive just didn’t have the time to apply his pixel hammer to OS X, and the next 12 months will be spent flattening icons and adding translucency until our Macs mirror our iPads and iPhones as much as possible.
When millions of users hit the download button once iOS 7 becomes available this fall, it's going to take some time to get acclimated to all the new accoutrements. New buttons, fonts, shapes and colors are hiding around every corner, and just about every little detail has been refreshed, from the battery icon to the semi-translucent folders.
Still, there's a certain familiarity to iOS 7. Wildly different as it may be, it retains the simplicity and intuitiveness that we've enjoyed for years. Icons still adhere to a neat grid, navigation uses the same swipes and taps; essentially, the interface changes in iOS are superficial, focusing on design rather than changing what we know.
For the past six years, Jony Ive and his team of designers have churned out gorgeous design after gorgeous design--tablets and handsets that people need to touch and want to hold. Every line and curve has been impeccably crafted down to the finest detail, and the results have been nothing less than staggering: metal-and-glass works of art that fit as comfortably in our hands as they do in our pockets.
So, it seems as though Tim Cook was serious when he declared Apple was doubling down on secrecy. For the first time in years, we were actually surprised by the bulk of a WWDC keynote, from the audacious Mac Pro to the transcendent iOS 7.
To the surprise of approximately no one, however, was the lack of new hardware to run the shiny new operating system. Any iOS release--particularly one with so many radical changes--is going to need a fair amount of beta time before it's unleashed on the public, and there was absolutely no way Apple was going to announce a new iPhone for an old operating system.
So, autumn it is. But if you're hoping for a redesigned iPhone 6, I have some bad news for you: This year's iPhone won't look any different than last year's.
Like last year, Apple started this year's WWDC keynote with a clever video. But this time it wasn't a cheap shot at Android or a silly swipe at Samsung. It was a peek into Apple's design philosophy, a beautifully crafted response to anyone who has been questioning its commitment to innovation:
"If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask is, what do we want people to feel? Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. Then we begin to craft around our intention. It takes time ... there are a thousand no's for every yes. We simplify. We perfect. We start over. Until every thing we touch enhances each life it touches. Only then do we sign our work: Designed by Apple in California."
It was barely a minute, but it stuck with me throughout the two hours of pomp and circumstance that followed. Apple hasn't been dragging its heels or taking its eye off the ball. On the contrary, it's more focused than it's ever been.
The days leading up to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference are always a frenzied affair, a bundled mass of nerves and anticipation filled with rumors, spy shots and black-draped banners. It's only natural to expect big things from this year's keynote, but like any Apple event, people are sure to be disappointed. So before the big day arrives, I thought I'd help temper expectations a bit by breaking down the odds — with an emphasis on design, of course.
After six years of cases, keyboards and camera lenses, I figured I had seen every iPhone accessory there is. Over the years, I've tried more stands, cable organizers and styluses than I care to remember, but I've pretty much abandoned them all. It's not that they didn't perform as advertised, they just never seemed to be around when I actually needed them. I tend to travel light — my favorite "case" for the iPhone is AppleCare+ — so I've never really cared enough about any iPhone accessory to let it take up precious pocket space, no matter how well designed. But XiStera might be the first.