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.
The average Apple user doesn't know Sir Jonathan Ive. When the subtle diamond-cut bezel of the iPhone's unibody construction rests in their hand, they don't consider the prototypes that didn't make the grade, or the long nights spent poring over every detail. But they do, of course, know Steve Jobs. Even among Apple diehards, Jony Ive was always positioned as Jobs’ dutiful sidekick, the one who turned his fantasies into reality.
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.
When Apple released the iPad, iOS developers had a choice.
While touting the ability to run "almost all of the over 140,000 apps on the App Store, including apps already purchased for your iPhone or iPod touch," Apple clearly wanted its tablet to inspire developers to create bigger and better interfaces that took advantage of all 9.7 inches. But things are trickier with the mini.
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.