When the new iPad was announced to the world, Tim Cook got up on stage and introduced us to more than just Apple’s next generation tablet. Sure, that was the big story, but briefly, as if only just to fit it in someplace for the sake of doing so, he also gave us a look at the new AppleTV user-interface.
So far, like most products Apple has created, the majority of users seem to enjoy it. There are always a few critics though, and lately, tech blogs have been making a big deal out of an event that happened five years ago. The new user-interface for the AppleTV was apparently rejected by Steve Jobs himself a long time ago, before the world had opened up to a grid-like design.
Many people around the world with the power to push their opinions to the world on the internet immediately took to their keyboards and made it look as if Tim Cook and the post-Jobs Apple were going astray from their former-CEO’s original wishes for the company. It looked as if
Former Apple TV engineer Mike Margolis took some time out of his day to have an interview with TechCrunch about the design changes, revealing what some had already argued in response to those news articles. Here’s what Mike had to say
Specifically, I stated in a tweet that Steve did not like the grid design five years ago. That is absolutely 100% true. It’s also true that five years ago the iPad didn’t exist, Apple users weren’t in love with app-grid interfaces like they are now, a streaming-only iCloud connected device was a pipe dream, and AppleTV did not have great new third party content like YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, NBA, NFL, and more. The UI didn’t make much sense back then but it makes much more sense now. If you compare Front Row to AppleTV 1.0, ”AppleTV Take 2″, and the new AppleTV UI it is clear that the product is continually improving. The new UI is no doubt cleaner, simpler, easier to use, and more in line with the now-popular iPad UI and Lion’s Launchpad.
Timing and context are crucial – both on Twitter and in product design.
This makes every bit of logical sense. Apple is notorious for waiting to introduce features to their products until they can be done right, and up to their standards of quality and usability. The same should be expected for UI, and Apple has a history, whether you like it or not, of having consistent and attractive software interfaces for end-users. It didn’t make any sense to introduce a look to something when it couldn’t be utilized properly. Jobs may not have liked it back before our mobile devices were such a huge part of our lives, but I’d bet he’d give the okay for this update today.
Much like the world as we know it, products are always evolving and transforming to meet the needs of customers. Apple has been quite successful at meeting those needs thus far, even though a decent sized minority still oppose the ecosystem they have in place. Whether or not you’re a fan or not shouldn’t matter. There is one thing that any graphic designer will be able to flat-out admit to you, regardless of their preferences: Apple knows how to design an attractive UI.
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