If there's one advantage our Android brethren have over iOS users, it's customization. From widgets to launchers to custom ROMs, Galaxy and Nexus users have virtually unlimited control over their phones and tablets, and it's unlikely that Apple is going to change its philosophy anytime soon.
But developers are always pushing the boundaries of the iOS SDK to bring us new and better ways to use our iPhones and iPads. And one of them just so happens to be working to bring us one of Android's best features — just in time for the round of new fall goodies.
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.
Nearly four months into 2013, Apple finally designed something new and interesting. And as usual, people can't stop staring at it. The Worldwide Developers Conference logo isn't usually something to get too excited about, but this year is a little different. Not only has WWDC become Apple's biggest event of the year, in all likelihood, this year's keynote is going to bring the first bona fide update to Apple.com since last October.
Generally speaking, hybrids are good. Hybrid cars save us money on gas and help the environment. Genetic hybrids produce delicious fruits like the grapefruit and tangelo. Without hybrid experimentation in music, we wouldn't have such brilliant, groundbreaking records from Miles Davis and the Beastie Boys.
But hybrid PCs are another story. There are plenty of them out there — powerful tablets that connect to full-sized keyboards; laptops with screens that spin around or detach — but none are really making any noise. It's not for a lack of design; some of these machines are so, um, inspired by the MacBook Air, you'd think they were designed in Cupertino, but still, they come and go without much fanfare.
Apple's ads don't generally require explanation. From the iconic "1984" Super Bowl spot to the silhouette and "I'm a Mac" campaigns, Apple's commercials are designed according to three rules: simplicity, straightforwardness and recognizability.
Apple likes going small. Or, more specifically, Apple likes going smaller. The Power Mac G4 Cube crammed the power of a tower into a stunning lucite square. The iPod mini shrunk the already small iPod into an even slimmer, sleeker enclosure. The iBook carved a lightweight, attractive notebook out of the bulbous iMac. The Mac mini... well, you get the idea.
It takes years, often many of them, to turn a simple design element into an unmistakable part of a brand. Movado's midnight dot. Adidas' stripes. Audi's grille. Apple's home button.
These things don't happen accidentally. Teams of high-paid creative types gather in large rooms for months, poring over prototypes and brainstorming for just the right combination of simplicity and seduction. Sometimes the result is fresh and bold, like the iPod click wheel; others put a unique twist on an everyday item, like Coca-Cola's contoured soda bottle.