Most of its products from the last 15 years have defined both the industries they compete in and the chapters on iconic design in weighty coffee table literature.
Compared to the majority of their obsessively feature-check-box driven competitors, Apple is a beacon of technological minimalism and beauty. If Apple references various modernist checkpoints in their design, other companies (and I’m REALLY looking at you Motorola) base their entire catalogue on the grotesque interior of a teenage boy’s bedroom.
This is one of the reasons why so many obsess about Apples design choices and interface decisions. There really is no one else in technology that seems to take so much care and attention with their top-of the-range but still mass-market consumer orientated products. So many companies seem to simply blind buyers with faux-science and marketing; or even attempt to blatantly scam them to part with their cash. Nice.
Even today, in 2012, Apple buyers are accused of stupidity and blind devotion by choosing to buy a particular product with their own money. “You could have saved at least £2.50 if you had bought a build-your-own cheap arsed plastic netbook” or something. Thanks for that, internet!
So it’s particularly ironic that most Apple watchers are actually highly critical of Apples design decisions. If they do something stupid or unfathomable, boy will we point it out.
And the weird thing is that most of the time no one pays a blind bit of attention to these glaring blotches on Apples design copybook. Unless a shit-fit has anything to do with Google services or Samsung knock-offs, no one notices. Odd.
And yet there are so many things that Apple watchers see that are wrong or bizarre about Apples choices. Let’ take a whistlestop tour of the things currently bugging me:
The iPad Music App
This is a frustrating and obtuse way to play your music. It seems handicapped with having to load all the artwork in to every view… so it just hangs and stutters pretty much all the time (on iPads old and new). You are constantly moving back and forth through menus and playlists in the single viewing pane while waiting for the artwork to populate each view. Testing.
And then, if you have the iOS6 Podcast App, all podcasts and podcast playlists simple disappear from the Music App. So no podcast playlists for you if you want to download podcasts on the go! Hmmm.
It is even more unfathomable if you remember the highly optimised Music app in iOS3.2. It was clear, fast and simple; with list views and a sidebar to make navigation quick and easy.
The iOS Podcast App
Talking of the pod-cast App, this is a stark example of the sort of design some fear Apple is turning to more and more. The fake reels and pretend tape-player could just be OK (perhaps) if they actually served a purpose.
If you pressed or swiped the moving tape to go forward and back, this design conceit would be more like an enjoyable Easter egg. It would be something you discovered and thought, “wow, that’s cool”. You would probably still use the buttons, but it would be an innovative use of the touch interface.
But no. The tape just spins with no purpose, and worse, the graphics make it hard to navigate and see how you get the pod-cast information tab back. But with the information showing, selecting a time point in the pod-cast becomes impossible. Stupid-headed and a skeuomorphic step too far! (to use the suddenly hipster discovered annoying word of the year) .
More annoyances to come…