The new philosopher

30 08 2013

Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. He made Apple to what it is today.
With his death rumors at stock exchanges predicted that the company from now on would loose essential parts of it’s reputation in the market. Many people thought that Tim Cook, the new CEO, wouldn’t be capable to ensure the companies success and ongoing growth.

The public doesn’t hear much of Tim but what we can say is that Steve’s words ‘Sell dreams not products‘ are still valid (btw for all companies) engaged in the fast growing market of electronic devices which are still seen as gadgets for entertainment by the majority of customers. This can be validated e.g. by looking on the related communities on Google+ or everywhere else.

An essential property of a smartphone as well as a tablet is the HI (Human Interface). With this part of the operating system all users are confronted with the overwhelming time they use their ‘dream’.

So designers play the essential role in the development of successful products. Let’s have a look on the man who is responsible for design at Apple, Inc.

Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, KBE RDI (born 27 February 1967) is an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. He has the overall responsibility for Industrial Design and also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) software teams across the company. He is the lead designer of many of Apple’s products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7.

KNE (Knight Commander)
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order is composed of five classes in civil and military divisions.

RDI (Royal Designer for Industry)
Royal Designer for Industry is a distinction established by the British Royal Society of Arts (or RSA) in 1936, to encourage a high standard of industrial design and enhance the status of designers. It is awarded to people who have achieved “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”. Those who are British citizens take the letters RDI after their names, while those who are not become Honorary RDIs (HonRDI). Everyone who holds the distinction is a Member of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (founded in 1938).

Designers are always like philosophers. Endless thinking about their product regarding uniqueness, acceptance of potential customers, usability, feasibility, and more is their daily task always with the risk to fail.

Here is the latest step forward?
Or backwards, or the first step into a period of stagnation?

20130830-072023.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Philosophers unveil their thoughts to let the people know why they did something in this way and didn’t go alternative ways. The philosophy might be unique but the market is inexorable and often doesn’t see the golden thread within design components.

At the time (iOS 6) it’s a mixture of design elements and in some cases near to reality.

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That’s not everyone’s gusto. Fashion of clothing changes every year but changes of operating systems have to be well-considered because people get familiarized with the UI and do not accept basic changes within a narrow timeframe.

See these announcements of Apple retrieved from it’s website to understand Jonathan Ive’s philosophy regarding iOS 7 and hardware products.

They are part of the mind map and added as notes not visible for those who do not use any mind mapping tool. So here is an outline of these statements.

  • Simplicity is actually quite complicated.
    Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.
  • iOS 7 is a pure representation of simplicity.
    It has a new structure, applied across the whole system, that brings clarity to the entire experience. The interface is purposely unobtrusive. Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away. Unnecessary bars and buttons have been removed. And in taking away design elements that don’t add value, suddenly there’s greater focus on what matters most: your content.
  • You know good design when you use it.
    We value utility above all else. We don’t add features simply because we can, because it’s technologically possible. We add features only when they’re truly useful. And we add them in a way that makes sense. The new Control Center in iOS 7 is a great example. It gives you one-swipe access to the things you often want to do on a moment’s notice.
    With iOS 7, we took something millions of people already love and refined the experience to make it even more effortless and useful. So the everyday things you need to do are the everyday things you want to do. And iOS 7 lets you work in ways that are instantly familiar, so there’s no need to relearn everything. Your Home screen is still your Home screen, for example. Only now, it takes even better advantage of your Retina display — and the space underneath the display. But you use it in exactly the same way.
  • Technology should never get in the way of humanity.
    When a product is designed properly — when you don’t have to adapt to the technology because it’s already designed around you — you develop a connection with it. It becomes more to you than just a device. iOS 7 invites that kind of connection. Interactions are dynamic. Animations are cinematic. And the experience is lively and spirited in so many unexpected yet perfectly natural ways. Open the Weather app, for example, and you’ll instantly understand. Hail bounces off text, and fog passes in front of it. Storm clouds come into view with a flash of lightning. And suddenly, checking the weather is like looking out a window.
  • It creates a sense of dimension. Several, in fact.
    iOS 7 takes full advantage of technologies in iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to push the iOS experience further. Distinct and functional layers help create depth and establish hierarchy and order. The use of translucency provides a sense of context and place. And new approaches to animation and motion make even the simplest tasks more engaging.
  • No detail is just a detail.
    There’s a gulf between functional and enjoyable. Between not particularly noticeable and pleasantly memorable. Details bridge this gap. Details are the little things that create delight. The effect is sometimes unperceived, but it is always there, adding up to a consistent experience. And that’s one of the things that makes Apple every bit Apple.
  • Everything has been thought through. And through.
    With iOS 7, every detail warranted the same rigor toward design. Like refining the typography down to the pixel. Redrawing every icon around a new grid system. And sticking to a precise color palette. On their own, these may not be details you consciously demand or even expect. But they all work together to create a more harmonious relationship between individual elements. And a better, more delightful experience overall.

Best practice regarding design is always almost based on purpose and function. Apple’s designs are fir solving a functional problem as simply and elegantly as possible. What we see is a timeless design when looking on the mobiles, the Macbook Air, the Mac Pro, or the new Airport Extreme.

Each of the ergonomic products is designed for seamless use, maximum comfort, a long serviceable life, and a minimal environmental footprint.

Simplicity is the key to success and in the line with Steve Job’s belief of saying NO to bells and whistles.

Simplicity leads to benefits for

  • … the User
    Simple designs with intuitive features and few manual controls are easier to use and force people to use nearly all features if their devices and not just 40% as it is the case with e.g. Microsoft Office products.
  • … the Organization
    Seamless-to-use products limit the need for training for both today’s and tomorrow’s employees.

It will be exciting to see what happens on and after Apple’s event on September 20, 2013.

Remark …

Sometimes I think about Tim’s situation.
How does a man feel, being the actual CEO of the most valuable company of the world, if he looks at all the publications where just Steve is mentioned?
A human reaction is to feel sad. So let’s give him a chance to get the credits he deserves.

Thanks for dropping by.


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