Why are Apple's products so confusing? They ignore design principles

Don Norman for LinkedIn Pulse:

Apple has gotten carried away by the slick, minimalist appearance of their products at the expense of ease of use, understandability, and the ability to do complex operations without ever looking at the manual.
Today, the products are beautiful, but for many of us, confusing. The fonts are pleasant to the eye, but difficult to read. The principle of "discoverability" has been lost. The only way to know what to do in many situations is to have memorized the action. The screens offer no assistance in remembering whether one should swipe left or right, up or down, one finger or two. Or three. One tap or two. I frequently have to "re-read the manual," which means going back to the control panel to review the multiple finger swipes -- which are not even the same for all devices: the magic mouse is different from the trackpad which is different from the iPad.

My only question: Shouldn't design principles change considering 8 years back we only had the desktop and the web that we interacted with a mouse/stylus and keyboard? 

What will the upcoming Apple TV be?

In the beginning of the year I wrote about my choice of Gadget update would be the TV. That being said, the rumor mills have started for the upcoming September event from Apple where there would announce annual upgrades to their iPhone spec and an improved Apple TV. According to Mark Gurman form 9 to 5 Mac

Source: 9 to 5 Mac

Source: 9 to 5 Mac

The files indicate that the new remote control will include both Bluetooth technology and an infrared sensor, which suggests superior control responsiveness as well as the potential for backward compatibility with non-Bluetooth home AV equipment. As our Jeremy Horwitz noted earlier this year, the introduction of a new remote control could help open up the door for improved gaming. With an integrated touchpad, in addition to the Apple TV SDK we’ll discuss later in this article, Apple could open up the remote to developers looking to bring gaming to the Apple TV box. Critically, this new remote will likely pack enough technology to deter users from losing the controller, which happens often with the older Apple TV remotes.

Looking at the image that Mark Gurman provided in his reports, reminds me of the early Nintendo Wii days. Looks like Apple is finally putting their acquisition of PrimeSense to work. This explains the flatter but wider Apple TV console and I won't be surprised if this will have to be placed in a clear vision of sight so that Apple TV could pick up those Gestures.

I got my music back. At least most of it

Jim Dalrymple on his trouble with Apple music:

So now I have the iTunes Match service that I pay for separately, and Apple Music, both of which use iCloud Music Library. There is really no way to get away from them if you want to use the latest and greatest from Apple.

I’ll admit, I’m still trying to get my head around how this works.

Apple said my music was never deleted and that it was in the cloud the entire time. Before Apple Music, iTunes Match would show me all of my songs—matched, uploaded, and purchased. However, if you turn off iCloud Music Library and Apple Music, iTunes Match will only show your purchased content now. There is no way to separate iTunes Match from the iCloud Music Library. Before, you would turn off iTunes Match—now you would turn off iCloud Music Library.

These are the challenges when you are integrating something new (or in this case existing) into an already established and widely used apps. There are way more advantages in keeping them separate, however I would argue and side with Apple's approach here in having one single app. Get the clutter out, one is way better then two. 

Hope these are early times and will get better in the future until then I wish I don't have to by my deleted files again. 

4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer

1.  Apple has the best designers.

It's actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that's what makes everything about the product so much better . . . much more than any individual designer or design team.

2.  Apple design team is infinite

For the most part, Apple didn't employ specialist designers. Every designer could hold their own in both creating icons and new interfaces, for instance. And thanks to the fact that Apple hires design-centric engineers, the relatively skeleton design team could rely on engineers to begin the build process on a new app interface, rather than having to initiate their own mock-up first.

3.  Apple crafts every details with Intention

Apple designers (and engineers!) will often come up with clever interactive ideas—like 3-D cube interfaces or bouncy physics-based icons—during a bit of their down time, and then they might sit on them for years before they make sense in a particular context.

4.  Steve Jobs passion frightened everyone

The reality is, the people who thrived at Apple were the people who welcomed that desire and passion to learn from working with Steve, and just really were dedicated to the customer and the product. They were willing to give up their weekends and vacation time. And a lot of the people who complained that it wasn't fair . . . they didn't see the value of giving all that up versus trying to create the best product for the customer and then sacrificing everything personally to get there.

Mark Kawano is the founder of Storehouse. Before Storehouse, Kwano was a designer at Apple where he worked on Aperture and iPhoto later becoming Apple's User Experience Evangelist.

Why is Android Still the Second Platform Developers Work On?

“On a Galaxy S4 with Samsung’s Multi-Window feature enabled, Emu’s popup windows are squished by the keyboard. This doesn’t happen on the Galaxy S4 sold by Google, without Samsung’s software modifications; or with the Multi-Window feature on the Galaxy S3. We’ve investigated, but because it relates to Samsung-specific functionality, we probably can’t fix it without direct cooperation from them.”


“On some Galaxy Nexus phones, when you’re listening to Pandora and get a notification sound from Emu, Pandora’s volume drops. This doesn’t happen with other apps’ notifications, nor does it happen with streaming apps other than Pandora, nor does it happen on any other device.”

This is what you get for all that flexibility that you try to achieve in coming up with different shapes and sizes. 

However if this was the route Google was going from the beginning, it made sense they came up with someone kind of framework like iOS's Autolayout where you design your app in a universal mode and it works on your iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 6, 6+ and your iPad Mini and iPad.  

This is such a fascinating read. 

Deep linking & search in iOS 9 will change everything

In iOS 9, apps are cohesively linked together via deep links and the experience feels magical.

I can't wait for this feature. Also, when I tested this out on iOS 9; I was amazed that Apple changed the animation for this feature. It is no longer a circular swap; but a simple slide over.

Apple calls this Universal Deep Linking. It will have a profound impact on the iOS ecosystem and more importantly on mobile search.

No doubt about it. And this brings me to search. 

While it’s great that apps can link to each other in a way that we’re all used to, via web links, what’s more important is the implication of deep linking on mobile search. At the moment, any blue link you tap, whether on Google Search App for iOS or Google.com, is mostly web content that Google has crawled. But we live in an age where a large chunk of interesting content also lives inside of apps, completely inaccessible to Google or anyone else for that matter.
This week, Apple laid out a set of powerful APIs that are intended to solve this problem. The first API lets an application developer tell iOS about her content. The developer specifies the content, the keywords associated with that content, and a deep link to that content. Once she does that, iOS indexes the content and gets it ready for a potential search by a user.

This is big. With this feature on iOS, I could simple type what I'm looking for and it will show me the results in the app (of course it is up to the developers to build this). No more Google search and no more thinking will this app have their content on web so that it is indexed. Wonder what will this do to SEO. Will there be another world of simplifying stuff so that it shows up in search? Guess we will have to wait and watch.

Oh and with this the original 0 screen is back :)

San Francisco is finally here.

Apple's unified system font for OS X, iOS and watchOS is here. For someone with a degree of OCD, having the same type face on all my devices is more then welcome. This is what amazes me about Apple; the amount of work they put in every single detail for a feature like font and unify it across the eco system. Just Brilliant. 

San Francisco fonts are available for download on Apple's website (Beta) and don't forget to watch this session on San Francisco fonts from WWDC 2015.