waffle

Waffle is a weblog.
The author of Waffle, some guy in Sweden, also occasionally writes stmts.net.

Lately on Waffle

Ad Absurdum

Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

—Steve Jobs

We have always thought about design as being so much more than just the way something looks. It’s the whole thing: the way something works on so many different levels.

—Jony Ive, about iOS 7.

The recent Apple TV update (7.0) looks like iOS 7/8. Looks like. In fact, there was a beta where the only noticeable change was that before, it looked like iOS 6 and after, it looked like iOS 7/8. Even Apple’s change notes say it’s a “fresh new look“.

Every button is where it were and every list behaves the same. All the animations, all of the timings and all of the physics are the same, despite ostensibly the elements on the screen being made up of different materials.

On a ~4″ screen, it makes sense to keep clutter and transparent layers to a minimum. On the other hand, a 40″+ flat panel screen is where you could use some transparency to show information transiently and concurrently with video. In a phone containing many apps, having the same utilitarian design language including simple (too simple) icons is constricting and confusing. On the edge of a TV, it’s a reasonable way to distinguish the tone and vibrancy of a program from the user interface popping up every now and then.

iOS 7/8-style could make Apple TV fly. What we have now is a skin job, no different in theory or execution from a Winamp skin — swap all the graphics and all the fonts and call it a day. Maybe it’s not worth getting upset about, but as an idea and an expectation, it’s probably worth putting out there. Sometimes, even hobbies deserve more.

Them Too

Peter Cohen:

I have trouble thinking of a more self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this free new album I’ve been given.”

Yes, it’s a generous deal, if you happen to like it. But there’s no reason to not ask me. Peter offers that the vast majority of the people complaining know that it can “trivially” be hidden. So vast, apparently, that Apple has had to made a removal tool to make that findable. A simple action no one knows to take isn’t simple.

Imagine if you got what you think is the world’s ugliest shirt for your birthday present. Fine, that happens. Smile and get on with it. The person that gave you the shirt didn’t mean any offense and you don’t have to wear it.

Now imagine knowing that shirt will always be in your wardrobe right in the middle of your usual clothes and you don’t know how to get rid of it – you try removing it and throwing it away, but it keeps reappearing. Now imagine you change your clothes tens of times per day. As is true for nearly every problem, you can have worse problems, but it would grate on me.

And it’s not about the physical effort of having to scroll through another row. It’s about what’s in there going from being your choice to being your choice + what Apple thinks is a good idea. This was a problem when Twitter did this last month, and it’s a problem now.

Apple knows that music is both powerful and personal, they have highlighted that they think both customization and privacy are important and they have made a big fucking deal about their services to the user being in service of the user and not for some other ulterior motive. Apple could have asked “do you want this?”, but they didn’t, and the reason they didn’t was exactly because then they couldn’t help their friends chase a bogus world record. I’m not saying those values aren’t there, but they let them be overridden for the sake of marketing. Values that don’t always hold aren’t values. They should have asked.

September 9th Apple Event Achievements

Forgot About Dre
Beats not mentioned.

Who Watches the Watchmen? happened
Wearable device first shown during event and not before, as leak.

Tireless
Moto 360 mocked for not having full circle display.

Daring Tireball
Moto 360 mocked for not having full circle display using explicit John Gruber quote or reference.

Left Field
iPhone, iPod, iPad or wearable device with tactile display.

Big Walleted happened *
Only new iPhones compatible with payment solution.

Excavation
New iPod models that are not iPod touch.

Really Forgot About Dre
More time spent demoing third-party keyboards than talking about Beats.

One of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Method of iOS app distribution not controlled by Apple and usable for wide distribution announced.

Trainee
Apple Maps Transit support announced in beta.

Missed Me
New iPhone or iPad model that parts haven’t leaked for.

The Revolution Will be Televised
Apple TV app SDK announced.

* Apple Pay is also supported in Apple Watch, but it’s not supported in any iOS device already in the hands of customers at the beginning of the event.

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