What happened to Apple’s faultless design?

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Are these signs of a larger design problem?
Are these things signs of a larger design problem?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Unlike any other consumer electronics company, Apple has been nailing product design for decades. Jony Ive and his incredibly talented team have produced countless iconic gadgets that rivals can only dream of, and it’s the biggest reason why the company is so successful today.

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2But there are suggestions that Apple’s design prowess is beginning to slip away. Under new leadership, Apple has rolled out a number of products — most recently the butt-ugly Smart Battery Case — that have led some fans to question various design decisions.

Are those fans right to be concerned? Is it downhill from here for Apple’s design team, or is this a whole lot of fuss over nothing?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over those questions and more — and weigh in with your thoughts down in the comments section!

5 Apple accessories every bit as crappy as the iPhone battery case

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The iPhone Smart Battery Case stunned us with its unsexy curves.
Help! My iPhone 6s has eaten my iPhone 4.
Photo: Apple

The consensus view of Apple’s newly launched hunchback iPhone battery case is that it should ideally be hidden from human view, spending its life in isolation ringing bells in Notre Dame.

Immediately upon release, the Internet filled with loud, angry protesters saying this kind of thing would never have happened in Steve Jobs’ day (and accusing Jony Ive of snoozing on the job). While I’m definitely no fan of Apple’s $99 Smart Battery Case, this isn’t the first time the company has released a less-than-stellar piece of design work amidst its usually gorgeous offerings.

Check out the list below for five of the worst pieces of design to come out of Cupertino since … well, yesterday, actually.

Bing’s redesigned iPhone app focuses on instant answers

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Bing's new app is both pretty and powerful.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft released a completely revamped Bing app for iPhone today with a redesigned home page and a much larger emphasis on instant answers to search queries. Finding what you’re looking for now takes much less time.  It’s possible that this release is a stepping stone to the iOS debut of Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now.

Top tools and tips for mastering the modern design landscape [Deals]

Macaw's Web Design Tool makes coding an simple matter of moving visual elements around on the screen.
Macaw's Web Design Tool makes coding an simple matter of moving visual elements around on the screen.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The way we use technology to communicate is transforming, and design is changing right along with it. Being caught up with the tools and techniques of web, visual and interactive design is key to being effective in the field of technology, which makes these deals especially exciting and useful.

Got wood? You will after checking out this Macintosh replica

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A wooden Macintosh with gold keys? Yes please.
Photo: Love Hultén

Love Hultén has created a beautiful replica of the original 128k Macintosh made almost entirely out of American walnut. Known for his craftsmanship in building replicas and concepts of gaming consoles among other gadgets, Hultén has taken that love and applied it to one of Apple’s most beloved products to date. He calls it the Golden Apple.