So I was browsing through the Apple archives yesterday...

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by kunai, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. kunai macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2013
    ... and came across this little morsel in the OS X HIG.


    I miss this Apple. The one that focused on user-friendliness, but also the Apple that cared about professional users. Aqua was by far one of the most innovative user interfaces ever made. Sure, it wasn't as "clean" as some flat UIs are today... but it was so inviting, warm, and friendly, coming from Windows or even Linux (which had a darn good UI for such a new and relatively alien OS). There were so many great features for power users that Apple removed in later iterations. AppleScripting, full Exposé, and 2D Spaces! Not to mention iWork's stunning new inspector-based UI that was incredibly powerful but so easy to use.

    I loved Apple's esthetic during the 2007-2008 time period. The great, bold-set Myriad headings, subtle grey gradients, the little glossy accents thrown around here and there in product illustrations, and the black, white, silver theme of the website kind of illustrates this perfectly. Everything is friendly and readable.



    Compare that to the new Apple website, which is just pretty much "Designers Gone Wild," with this ridiculous obsession with supposedly "modern" (read: hard to see and ugly) typefaces, and the overuse of blinding whitespace that takes up way too much space and shifts everything down on the page; making it less efficient with space. Is this a step forward or a step back? Whereas on the 2008 site, I could see everything without having to scroll, more than HALF the page is underneath the "MacBook Pro" headliner.



    Combine that with the recent changes to all of the great apps we used to love, which have now been crippled to provide "feature parity" with iOS versions, and it just adds up into a big bag of hurt. I mean, Apple is still a company, but it just feels so... cold now. It's more about profits and money than trying to make great computers that both my grandma AND a teenager AND a movie producer AND a professional web developer AND a 3D modeler AND a physics researcher AND a programmer could use. The ads are no longer even whimsical or imaginative; they're boring and too "emotional," because that's the only thing that sells nowadays after Google started doing it with their Nexus commercials.

    Apple just seems so contrived and unoriginal now. With no Steve Jobs to rein in Jony Ive, he's going on a rampage.

    So, what is the key takeaway from all of this? HARDWARE DESIGNERS SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO DO SOFTWARE. Ever. Period. There are a completely different set of rules for software when compared to hardware; and applying the same techniques of "minimalism" (read: making the hardware so cold it doesn't tell you anything about what it's doing, so when something goes wrong, you don't know what the heck is going on) to software will result in disaster. Minimalism in software is a set of code and UI principles that reduces clutter; it has NOTHING to do with whitespace or Helvetica Neue Ultra Light (who the heck approved that?!).

    A year or two ago, I would have never said this, but Scott Forstall, we need you back. Badly. Just don't make my calendar leather again.
  2. kunai thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2013
    Oh, and another thing: 10.9 itself isn't bad. I just hope they keep it that way for future releases; instead of going the iOS 7 way.

    I still miss Aqua, though.
  3. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    As S.J. might have commented:“The background needs more texture” ;)
  4. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
  5. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I completely agree, I think the G5 era was the best, with the PowerBook that had feeling and wasn't just a hunk of aluminum, and the iPod with tactile feedback.
  6. petsounds macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    I took a quick skim through the history of your posts, because I had just seen your silly comment about Henri Lamiraux retiring because of iOS 7, and it's hard to believe anyone would come to an Apple fan site just to constantly say how much Apple sucks (aside from people being paid to do so). It's tiring just to read such negativity all the time.

    I think you're stuck in the past. Disco is over, new wave is in. The days of textures and shadows everywhere is gone, for now. Design trends change, and I'm sure all that will come back again a few years from now. But for now, grab a synthesizer and some hairspray because polyester and guitar solos are out.

    Scott Forstall never should have been in charge of design at that level. He seemed to be a decent mid-level technical manager that could Get Things Done, but he took design on iOS from elegant to tacky, and from whimsical to beat-you-over-the-head-with-a-paper-shredder-jokes.

    The one thing I'll say has been lost is the whimsy of Mac OS. But that started with 10.0, not Mavericks. It started when Jobs brought NeXTSTEP over, with its professional workstation icons and graphics, and renamed it OS X. Not putting the whimsy back in was a mistake, and that was mistake was on Jobs, over a decade ago. He should have hired Susan Kare to design new icons, but perhaps he wanted the Mac to be taken more seriously. And the loss of coloring in the OS, that's also on Jobs.
  7. kunai thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2013
    I don't come here to bash Apple... I'm just expressing my sadness at some of the things that were lost. I understand design trends change, but Apple really never felt the need to follow them; always treading their own path whenever something new arrived. Especially in this case where the design trends reduce usability and human interface efficiency... something you clearly overlooked.

    And my comment about Henri was quite clearly tongue in cheek... hence the rolleyes.
  8. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    "The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be."

    A few years from now, someone will be comparing the new generation Apple to the Apple of now and say the exact same things.
  9. KoolAid-Drink macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    I agree that things always seem worse in the present than in the past, when in reality, we have things much better nowadays in many aspects. Yes, some has been lost, but that's to be expected as time marches on.

    We all gush over how Tiger and Snow Leopard were the best versions of Mac OS X ever to hit the world, how the UI was so simple and clean, how everything just worked. In reality, Tiger and SL both were released with bugs, too (think of the Guest account deleting data in SL 10.6.2), and the UI actually was a hodgepatch in Tiger (remember Mail 2.0 with the "bubble icons" on the toolbar?). Some prefer the sleek grey of today's UI over the colorful, glossy UI of Mac OS X years past. I'm sure in 2005-2010, people were complaining about Apple and how it was going downhill, how Apple had lost its' whimsy and its' spirit. They were recalling the old days of 2000-2005, when in 2000-2005, people back then were complaining about Apple's downhill march. Got my drift? It's a neverending cycle.

    Yes, Mavericks has its' issues. (Time Machine UI, I'm looking at you.) iOS 7 could be better. Hardware could be more customizable. But, when you really look at it, not all is bad. I promise you, people in 4-6 years WILL be moaning in agony about Apple and looking back to today as "the good old days." And so on.
  10. laurihoefs macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2013
    What is the major difference between the first website image, and the last two? A large image takes most of the visible area, then a lot of whitespace all over. Not even changes in typeface are really evident. Generally I don't see a major change there.

    What I do see though, is that the second image has some white text on dark background, which I have trouble reading. I have no trouble reading Helvetica Neue Ultra Light.

    In the current site everything is readable, and the pages don't contain a bunch of boxes that have nothing to do with the main content, or each other. So if anything, the website has improved with the removal of those dark backgrounds and gradients, and clutter. Only the current top menu is too dark, but the text size makes it clear enough to read comfortably.

    I prefer Apple's current esthetic over the 2007-2008 period, or any period before that. In many cases I liked the esthetic back then when it was current, but might not like it anymore. Designs age, some well, some not that well, and fads come and go. I don't see any single period to be some sort of 'golden era' in Apple's esthetic.

    Tastes also differ and change. We'll see what I think of the current esthetic in five years.

Share This Page