Innovation and Vogue

by Drew Wilson


Apple just announced some amazing things at WWDC yesterday.

Truly inspiring to see all the hard work that company pumps out year after year. There was so much I loved about the products they announced during the keynote. But there was one thing in particular that disappointed me about the iOS 7 announcement: Vogue.

Apple absolutely does not need to win me over on everything they do, but I noticed something that hasn't been done since the revival of the brand in 1998 when Steve Jobs came back. Before I get to that thing let me clarify my exposure to the Apple platform. I've watched every single keynote since Steve came back to Apple in 1998. I grew up on Macs and my family has had Macs in the house since the late 80s. I was even teased on the school bus constantly during the mid 90s for liking "Macintrash" lol! This doesn't make me an expert in Apple the company, but it does make me an expert in discerning the impact the brand has had on the design industry over the last few decades.

The underlining disappointment concerning the iOS 7 announcement for me is this:

Previously Apple has always been a trend setter. Now they're basing the aesthetic for their most lucrative business, iOS, around a current trend that two other mobile device companies have already adopted. They're now two steps behind.

– Me

I think it's absolutely a great thing that they refreshed the look. Change is great and I look forward to the UX getting some much needed consistency in future version updates. But it's still odd to me that they didn't innovate with this new look. They innovated with the original iOS, and with the website years ago, and the color iMacs from 1998, and the metal MacBooks, and the iMac, and the iPod, iPhone, iPad; the list of styles they've invented goes on and on. Now they're adopting a very "old" and "overdone" look into their flagship product. I don't mind the "flat" aesthetic they've adopted, just look at this blog itself (which I designed) as proof. However it's still unfortunate they didn't innovate on the look and feel, but it's their deal you know. They're smart and I'm sure they will make it great. But I think it shows they've run out of ideas for the iOS interface design.

The new Mac Pro on the other hand. Wow! Stunning! It looks like TRON. Exactly like TRON. I love it. No one has done a computer like that, especially the internal design it showcases. Just amazing work all around. It's too bad they couldn't innovate in that way on iOS.

Strangely, the same guy who lead design for the Mac Pro also lead design for iOS 7. Weird.

Overall I love the fact Apple changed things up. Love it. Can't wait for the improvements, but love the fact that iOS is evolving. Apple has done this once before when they moved from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Except in that case, their take on the user interface was something no one had ever seen before. I wish that was the case here.