Is Apple Pencil a harbinger of the designapocalypse? [Friday Night Fights]

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Apple Pencil FNF
Is Apple's design team losing its way?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is famous for its iconic designs, but is the company slowly losing its way?

Friday Night Fights bug Products like the Apple Pencil and Smart Battery Case suggest that Apple’s design team might be missing a certain spark. Even the iPhone, once the prettiest smartphone by a long shot, is now being outshone by rivals from the likes of Samsung and LG.

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we battle it out over whether Apple design has become lazy and boring. And be sure to have your say!

The inside story of the iconic ‘rubber band’ effect that launched the iPhone

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Bas Ording Apple interface designer
Former Apple designer Bas Ording created the rubber band effect, which convinced Steve Jobs to build the iPhone.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 One day in early 2005, interface designer Bas Ording was sitting in a secret, windowless lab at Apple HQ when the phone rang. It was Steve Jobs.

The first thing Jobs says is that the conversation is super-secret, and must not be repeated to anyone. Ording promises not to.

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, Bas, we’re going to do a phone,'” Ording told Cult of Mac, recalling that momentous call from long ago. “‘It’s not going to have any buttons and things on it, it’s just a screen. Can you build a demo that you can scroll through a list of names, so you could choose someone to call?’ That was the assignment I got, like pretty much directly from Steve.”

Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

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iPhone 2G prototype
iPhone 2G prototype
Photo: Jim Abeles/Flickr CC

iPhone turns 10 The world had never seen anything like the iPhone when Apple launched the device on June 29, 2007. But the touchscreen device that blew everyone’s minds immediately didn’t come about so easily.

The iPhone was the result of years of arduous work by Apple’s industrial designers. They labored over a long string of prototypes and CAD designs in their quest to produce the ultimate smartphone.

This excerpt from my book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products offers an inside account of the iPhone’s birth.

Relive 10 years of amazing iPhone innovation

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iPhone evolution GIF
The iPhone sure has changed over the years.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 The iPhone packed a lot into its first astonishing decade. Not only has the device itself evolved significantly since its promising-but-by-no-means-perfect beginnings, but it’s transformed Apple’s business — and many of our very lives — in the process.

All this week, Cult of Mac’s “iPhone Turns 10” series will look at the innovative device’s massive impact on worldwide culture. The iPhone, which launched on June 29, 2007, truly changed the world.

What iPhone milestones have passed since Steve Jobs introduced this stunning hybrid device, which combined a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device? Check out our handy guide to 10 years of iPhone history.

Today in Apple history: Power Mac G5 packs world’s first 64-bit CPU

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G5 computer
A 64-bit CPU powered Apple's stunning "cheese grater" Power Mac G5.
Photo: Bernie Kohl/Wikipedia CC

Jun 23 June 23, 2003: Apple launches its gorgeous Power Mac G5, a powerhouse desktop computer with a perforated aluminum chassis that earns it the affectionate nickname the “cheese grater.”

Starting at an affordable $1,999 ($2,650 in today’s terms), the Power Mac G5 is the world’s first 64-bit personal computer — and Apple’s fastest machine yet.

A visual overview of Apple’s essential design principles

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Apple design places a premium on simplicity in an effort to provide
Apple design places a premium on simplicity in an effort to provide "a delightful experience."
Photo: Andy McNally/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines have been the core of the company’s design philosophy ever since the Macintosh in 1978. Apple design evangelist Mike Stern gave an overview of the ever-evolving guidelines during a Wednesday session at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

The session, entitled “Essential Design Principles,” is one of my favorites, in large part because I’m a designer myself. I’ve distilled the essential Apple design principles he talked about in the sketchnotes above.

Apple Music for Android finally gets new iOS 10 design

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Apple Music
Apple gives Android users a tiny taste of the good life.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music subscribers on Android got some much-needed love from Apple today in the form of an update that brings a fresh UI to the streaming app.

It’s been nearly a year since Apple unveiled its Apple Music redesign as part of iOS 10 at WWDC 2016, but Android users are just now getting a taste of the interface’s bold, streamlined look.

Today in Apple history: Remember the ‘Flower Power’ and ‘Blue Dalmatian’ iMacs?

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imac
These were two of the wackier Macs in history.
Photo: Apple

Feb22February 22, 2001: The iMac Special Edition, sporting custom Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian designs, puts a wacky face on the iMac G3 computer that saved Apple’s bacon at the turn of the century.

A far cry from the super-serious, aluminum-heavy industrial design that will come to define Apple, these colorfully patterned Macs are some of the most irreverent computers Cupertino ever dreamed up (c’mon, when was a real Dalmatian blue?).

Under the consciously tacky exterior hummed a pretty darn great Mac, though.

Why a 10.5-inch iPad Pro isn’t totally crazy

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A 10.5-inch piece of paper on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
A 10.5-inch piece of paper on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Photo: Dan Provost

Apple’s rumored plans to launch three different-size iPads this spring has fans a bit confused as to why creating a new 10.5-inch model is a good idea. But according to Dan Provost, the co-founder of Studio Neat, it actually wouldn’t be crazy for Apple to change the screen size when you look at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Today in Apple history: Apple invents ‘slide to unlock’

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Apple didn't invent the Slide to Unlock gesture.
"Slide to unlock" drew audible gasps from the audience when Steve Jobs first showed it off.
Photo: Jared Earle/Flickr

Dec23 December 23, 2005: Apple files a patent application for its iconic “slide to unlock” gesture for the iPhone.

Although the iPhone is still a secret research project at the time, the ability to unlock the device by sliding your finger across it signifies everything Apple wants the iPhone to be: easy to use, intuitive and technologically miles ahead of the competition.