Is Apple becoming complacent with Mac UI?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by pad07, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. pad07 macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    Two significant upgrades to Mac software are due within the next month.

    10.6 Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard is arriving soon and despite a raft of under-the-hood changes and re-writes, features only minor adjustments to the dock, exposé and QuickTime. The candy-bar scrollbars that have long been obliterated from iTunes and recently iLife remain in all their out-of-place glory.

    Dock contextual menus feature a new inverted look that many, I'm sure, would have seen as the first step to the much anticipated "Marble" redesign. No.


    Many Apple apps are already ahead of Apple in switching to this new design now. Take Spotify, for example:


    I'm not saying ALL apps need to take the inverted look on - but the scrollbars and flattened buttons are a must. Take Xtorrent for example:


    All they needed to do was update the scrollbars and change the progress meters and all aqua elements to the new style. If they wanted to polish it (as Apple used to, but cares far less about now) they would have inverted the menu bar to match the dock menus, and revamp the dock to a more subtle, darker affair.

    Unfortunately, the wondrous work done under-the-hood with Snow Leopard is all we're going to enjoy. Here's hoping Mac OS X 10.7 sorts out this mess. It's distressing to see that the first major OS X update since the iPhone hit the big time has no UI changes - preferential treatment? :(

    iTunes 9

    iTunes is a great piece of kit. But it's bloated and confused. It will, if not changed, be the only Apple app in Snow Leopard not to be rewritten in Cocoa. Joke.

    The UI is also getting clumsy now and falling behind the times. Let's take a look at Spotify again:


    Everything is nice and logical. The artwork is displayed in the bottom left, the playback controls are comfortably down in the bottom taking up minimal space, and the sidebar contains handy links to everything relevant.

    It's simple, yes. And I'm not saying iTunes should remove any features. But a UI revamp to help consolidate all these features it now has is really overdue, I feel. That, and a rewrite in Cocoa.

    Unrelated to OS X, but Apple, do a Safari 4 with iTunes 9 and let it take on the Windows look-and-feel. Why should people running Windows get the OS X look? ;) Besides, it looks stupid and stunts development of the Mac version's UI.

    To summarise, I feel Apple has become complacent with UI. I can't help thing this is due to the lack of Steve Jobs' input - he is a stickler for perfection and beauty. Phil Schiller seems far more focussed on evolution and conservative changes to the UIs. It's criminal that the aqua elements are still around, and that it seems Mac OS X's "perfection" is being sidelined for the iPhone's OS "perfection".

    I just hope it's sorted by the next version and Apple returns to caring about the Mac's UI.
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Snow Leopard is about refinement, not redefining. I don't like the mock-ups here and hope Apple does go the route of Spotify. Personal opinion.
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Change for the sake of change is pointless.

    Give me the Illuminous scroll bars system-wide so that I don't have to modify them myself and I'll be happy. I'd rather the OS work better than look pretty. If you think otherwise, Windows is just around the corner.
  4. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Am I the only one here *not* confused by iTunes? I fail to see what's so bloated and confused about it. It plays and lets you buy music and video. It has a tonne of cool features built in, like genius. I'd rather than than load a seperate app which is essentially the same but with just an app store, no music, which links back to iTunes to get my iPhone to sync music, or a seperate app to create genius playlists. The name may not fit any more, it's about a lot more than just tunes, but it's evolved and adapted as the ipod has evolved into ipod video and the iPhone.
    iTunes, which has much the same layout as spotify btw, except playback controls are at the top where you can see them instead of hidden away. Artowrk bottom left, check, sidebar containing handy links to everything you need, check, content list main window, check.
  5. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    iTunes has one of the best interfaces IMO, however it is a rather heavy app.

  6. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Logical? I think not. Having the playback etc controls on the bottom and then the search and back/forward buttons on the top is anything but good usability. The larger the program window, the more you have to move back and forth between the top and bottom. They could easily fit all the controls to the top, like they're on most OSX programs. Spotify's search results on the top are also a huge mess that is hard to read.

    I doubt we'll ever see the dark background light text look on everything because typically that makes text harder to read. It works fine for something that doesn't have lots of text but on everything it might get weary to the ol' eyes, especially knowing how most people haven't got a clue how to adjust their monitors or TVs for accurate colors and reasonable brightness/contrast levels.

    While sure, the old aqua scrollbars etc should go, they're not distracting and who spends a lot of time looking at scrollbars anyway? The current OSX look is fine. It's not annoying or offensive and while it's not as pretty as Vista/Win7 it's quite uniform from program to program. The new Windowses had to have a new look because XP looks very dated at the moment, whereas OSX doesn't.

    I'd rather see Apple concentrate on things that actually improve usability rather than minor details in UI looks. The new Dock/Expose features are good usability improvements, I just wish there had been more. I would've liked to see better features for Finder, clickthru, better window management etc.
  7. fswmacguy macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2009
    I doubt Apple will change the UI from Leopard to Snow Leopard. With QuicktimeX, the black interface, I think was a stupid, stupid decision by Apple. To have one application look different from the whole OS... it's just not seamless! But perhaps the peek into the UI of QuicktimeX was a clue of a UI overhaul in the final version?

    I agree. Other music managers / stores have never been friendly with me as iTunes has. I also agree that it's heavy. If Apple wants to make SL "fast", optimize a flagship application: iTunes.
  8. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    Yeah well that's like your opinion man. I have not yet seen anything I would want to replace aqua with, including the app screenshot which looks like itunes sporting its dull primer gray boring buttons. Check out some Gnome theme websites. Users have 1000s of themes to choose from and the most popular are Aqua themes :)
  9. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    I'm definitely liking the inverted look and I hope that it does become the new UI for OS X. It takes time to build an entirely new UI, and I think after Snow Leopard which concentrates on performance and offers few new end user features, an entirely new UI for all apps will be the main selling point for 10.7.

    And, at least with the current theme, the Aqua scroll bars look way better than the iTunes scroll bars.
  10. pad07 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    People who bleat about "I'd rather have under-the-hood" blah blah like I'm saying I wouldn't need to pipe down; I am delighted with the under-the-hood improvements and would take them over UI any day.

    HOWEVER. Updating the scrollbars would not have taken much whatsoever. They found time to update the dock's context menus, why not that? What happened to the attention to detail? Why do iLife, iWork, iTunes and CoverFlow have these scrollbars in the first place? MADDENING!
  11. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    It's not the only app. Applications like Aperture, Quicklook etc have had the black look for a while and it works for those because typically you're viewing pictures and video, which generally benefit from a non-distracting, dark background. Quicktime 7 looks like crap.

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