Bruce Tognazzini nails Apple's approach to a smart watch

by Thomas Brady in ,

Strumming my pain with his fingers...

Tognazzini (known better as "Tog", as in the "Tog on" series of books he wrote about interaction design before most people knew that was a thing), former interaction designer at Apple, takes a very educated guess at what Apple would do with a smart watch. He puts an eloquent voice to all the things I find frustrating about every current design on the market, and outlines how Apple could/would/might/will? dierupt this market. Don't miss.

The Biggest Apple News Since Jobs's Passing

by Thomas Brady in , , , ,

Pro tip: If…

  1. You're in, say, the top third of the S&P 500
  2. Your last report card wasn't so good, or you think your next one might not be
  3. Wall Street shuts down for a day or two due to a storm

Let's just say maybe it's a good time to start buttering up your LinkedIn "friends."

Just ask Scott Forstall and John Browett, who, at least by the end of the year in Forstall's case, no longer work for Apple.

This is big.

Big enough to pull me out of an uplanned hiatus from the blog. Family emergency. My mother-in-law is recovering quite well, if slowly, from cardiac arrest while competing in a—not her first—triathlon.

Big enough that it brings a pretty obvious final answer to a series I'd been working on that could have been titled, "Who the hell is in charge of User Experience at Apple?" (Part 1: "What's missing from Apple's Org Chart?" & Part 2: "Apple and The CXO")

It's clearer now than it has ever been who it was that answered for user experience design across Apple. Just look at the lanugage of that press release, on what activities are being transfered from Forstall to Ive:

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Who's the CXO at Apple? Well, now we know. It's Jony Ive. The oh-so-obvious, but oh-so-wrong answer that so many people would have offered for so many years now has become the right answer.

And I think this might be the biggest news since October 5th, 2011.

I don't think that for all his time as VP (or senior VP) of iOS Forstall called all the UX shots. I believe that when Steve Jobs was alive, this—along with whatever else he cared about that day—was Jobs's purview. But when you phrase it in the business organization classic definition of "a throat to choke," that throat was Forstall's, I think, for some time now.

But the most dramatic subplot of this whole story is Sir Jony Ive's. Ive doesn't have any UI/UX design under his belt, at least not any that anyone knows of. He has seen great success designing hardware for Apple for over two decades, but from what we can see from the outside he hasn't touched a pixel.

This could go two ways. In the first scenario, Ive could turn out to be an incredible UI/UX designer as well as an industrial designer, or, perhaps more likely, he could prove to be able to lead a team of UI/UX designers effectively. In the second, he could terrible, or even only mediocre at the job, either of which would have the same outcome.

Apple is more vulnerable than it has been in some time. If it turns out that Ive is no good at this, Apple's reputation will be shaken like it hasn't been since the Newton. People already have high expectations of the man that was knighted for being such a design badass. People are looking for someone on whom to pin the Steve Jobs legacy. If Ive fails, "beleaguered," will be the nice thing the press says about Apple, which will certainly catch the attention of both the customers and Wall Street.

There is a hell of a lot (around $604 per share at the moment, not to put too fine a point on it, but, of course, Wall Street is closed for a few days) riding on that young man right now. For once I don't envy him.

Apparently Jony Ive isn't busy enough...

by Thomas Brady in , ,

This must be a first. PetaPixel reports that Ive will be designing a very limited edition Leica camera.

I don't recall Apple every loaning out key team-members like this. Ever.

This is for a charity event, and it does involve Bono, so all of the "just this one time" flags are flying, but, this is very unusual.

If I were paranoid, I'd say Ive was looking for greener pastures. There was kerfuffle last year that Ive really wanted to leave Apple and move back home to the UK, so that his children could go to school there. Of course, this May, when he was knighted, he said he's staying put.

Apple doesn't let stuff like this happen without thinking it through. Friends who work there have reported that they can't speak at any public event as an Apple employee without clearance from marketing. This is calculated. More than likely, this is Apple sacrificing a bit of Ive's time for a good cause, and a tax write-off.

Quite possibly, this is Apple and Ive saying to the rest of the industry, "well, we've lapped you enough times we're going to take a break now."

How to pre-order an iPhone 5 for pickup on Friday, today

by Thomas Brady in , ,

Here's how I see my Friday morning going:

  1. Get up, at the usual time.
  2. Have breakfast with my family.
  3. Get ready for work at the usual pace.
  4. Drop by Target on my way to work.
  5. Walk right up to the cell phone stand.
  6. Trade in an iPhone 4 for $158, and keep my cables and AC adapters.
  7. Pick up the iPhone 5 I pre-ordered last night.

This could go wrong, but currently I have a very low single-digit reservation at my local Target, mère minutes away. They did tell me that they were required to say the phone might not arrive until Monday, too. That still beats the heck out of the 2-3 weeks I'm hearing elsewhere.

How did this happen? Well, I don't think it was any accident.

While AT&T seems to be screwing up people's orders left and right—one way this could go wrong for me is that AT&T might not cancel the pre-order they somehow managed to already botch before Friday, thus using up my upgrade eligibility for an order that can't actually be fulfilled, oh, and I'm just one example of this predicament out of dozens I've encountered without even trying—Target is, well, just being Target. Doing what they do well. Focusing on great customer experiences, and trusting that a healthy bottom line will follow.

So while stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are offering "pre-orders" that are really just gift cards and a chance to wait in line on Friday, Target is setting up a one-stop(okay, two-stop, since you have to pre-order in person, but I have kids, so it's not like I wasn't already at Target several times this week) shop where you can trade-in old phones for cash and pick up your actually-reserved pre-order in mere minutes.

Why isn't everybody pre-ordering at Target, then? I'm guessing two reasons: obscurity and planned obscurity. I think this is the first year that Target has gotten to participate in pre-order/day 0 iPhone sales, so, at least this year, it's not one of the first places people think of to go for day 0 purchasing. And, this being the first year, I think Target is choosing not to promote this so as to dip their toe and see how it goes. For one thing, at this stage, I don't think Target knows what kind of inventory they'll be getting Friday, and they're definitely an under-promise-and-over-deliver kind of outfit.

So, if you haven't secured an iPhone 5 pre-order, but you'd like to, and you don't want to get in line tomorrow afternoon at your local Apple store, drop by Target.


by Thomas Brady in , , ,

I don't really want to discuss the Apple v. Samsung thing much, for several reasons. I have mixed feelings about the outcome, due largely to my confusion over and disdain for the U.S. patent system. Also I'm not a lawyer. Finally, there's not much left to say that hasn't been said elsewhere. But speaking of said elsewhere, do not miss this Monday Note article by Jean-Louis Gassée, "Apple Never Invented Anything." Inside you'll find the most relevant parable to this trial that isn't in a holy book.