Thursday Morning News

"History will not be kind to Jony Ive" writes Vice, which seems like a damn shame for a designer that has accomplished so much, and yet will be remembered for making devices hard to repair and impossible to upgrade. While it’s absolutely true that Apple products have become less user-repairable and less user-upgradeable than their predecessors under Ive’s oversight of design at Apple, to pin it all on one man when Apple is an institution seems like an extremely long bow to draw.

The Verge explains that Apple CEO Tim Cook has already said that Apple runs on a "design by committee" scheme, as damning as that phrase is. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Apple will know how Apple’s history is filled with references to the singular genius who turned everything to gold. That was Steve Jobs, back in the day, and after that, the Romantic Genius title passed to Jony Ive. But everyone has moved on from what’s called the great man theory, and — depending on who you ask — perhaps Apple should, too.

In case you’re still not getting it, AppleInsider says Apple is neither doomed nor saved now that Jony Ive is moving on. Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, everything Apple does right from this point on will be because he’s gone, or everything that Apple gets wrong will be be because he’s gone. But without any way to compare what things would have looked like had Ive stayed at Apple, we’ll just have to speculate over the next few years.

The best and worst designs by Jony Ive include the iPhone X, the 2018 Apple Pencil, and the current MacBook Air in the best column (among other designs from Apple’s past), while the awkward charging mechanism of the Magic Mouse 2, the non-sensical interaction with the third-generation iPod shuffle, and even the CRT-in-a-colourful plastic case of the original iMac all make up some of the worst designs.

Macworld’s similar list of wild and wacky designs include plenty of computers and peripherals from Apple’s history that may have had controversial designs at the time, but are now seen as the timeless classics they are. The lampshade iMac G4 ranks highly on that list, as do Mac classics like the G4 cube and TAM.

The best feature of iOS 13 beta 3 is FaceTime Attention Correction, which does a little TrueDepth magic to make it look like you’re staring right at the camera when you’re looking at the screen. It’s a phenomenal use of tech, and this video demonstrates the slight distortion that you get when the feature kicks in. There’s probably nothing preventing Apple from implementing a similar feature for selfies, but everyone knows by now to look at the camera when taking those, anyway.

Code found in the latest iOS 13 beta suggests you may be able to transfer data directly between iOS devices in the future, either as part of a setup step or instead of restoring from a backup. But as pointed out by MacRumors, Apple doesn’t sell any cable that will let you connect two iPhones directly, which leaves two possibilities: either they will when iOS 13 is released later this year, or future iPhones may switch to USB-C, allowing people to use the current Lightning to USB-C cable.

Apple’s latest transparency report details the number of requests for device, financial, account, and data from governments and other private parties. For the first time, the transparency report also provides details on apps requested to be removed from the App Store, with the overwhelming majority of requests and apps removed coming from China.

Early Intel-based Mac Pros featured Apple’s Expansion Slot Utility, to help with configuring PCIe lanes. It quickly disappeared after Mac Pros switched to set PCIe lanes in 2008, but now it’s back in the latest developer beta of macOS Catalina. Expansion Slot Utility will allow new Mac Pro owners to manually assign bandwidth between pools or choose automatic bandwidth configuration, guiding users to more efficient setups for their expansion cards.

One of the most interesting things about the Mac is learning how other people are using their Macs to be more productive, and a great collection of Mac productivity hacks from CEOs, artists, developers, YouTubers, and more gives us a great spread across the spectrum of rich third party apps to add that little bit extra to the Mac.

Notable Replies

  1. I’m firmly in the ‘glad he is gone camp’, and that list of best and worst devices is all over the place IMO.

    The original iMac saved Apple (we agree on that) but aesthetically it’s one of the best designs to every come out of apple. Yes it diverges from the white and silver (and occasional black) that Apple have concentrated on in recent years but honestly it’s all the better for that. It’s iconic Apple during a less corporate time.

    And the iPhone X… yes it’s a nice phone but honestly… I bought an iPhone Xr because I didn’t think the X was worth the price and I don’t think the Xs is either.

    And I much prefer the new style Macbook styling to the new MacBook Air styling, the wedge that some people rave about has always looked wrong to me (I put up with it through 2 original MacBook Airs and later a MacBook pro (which I much preferred the styling of) because at the time nothing came close in portability but I only put up with the styling because of the lack of weight). The new MacBook OTOH is symmetrical not lobsided and unlike the MacBook Pro (which I like the look of) it’s light.

    I’ll give him the Mac Mini and the iPod mini… those are good designs (but they’re early Ive not late Ive when he lost the plot a bit).

  2. Indeed. I never got to own one myself, but the colorful iMacs and iBooks of that era (the era in which I was leaving high school and going into university) really made me take another look at Apple, and when in 2005 (my last year in university, on the 5 year plan :stuck_out_tongue: ) the original Mac Mini G4 came out, the price and form factor (combined with the BYODKM I could use from my PC) finally fit. I had used everything from the Apple ][-e to a Performa series in my school years, but until the colorful redesign, I was utterly dismissive of Macs.

    Putting that iMac in the fail column is pure idiocy.

  3. Agreed… putting the iMac G3 in ‘Worst Designs’ is insanity… I remember when the family 1999 Slot Loading iMac G3 was replaced by an eMac G4, and how less exciting the design was compared to the Blueberry iMac!

    Theres nothing much special about the new MacBook Air anyway… I would have said the 2010 MacBook Airs was one of his best designs - that was the one that really kick started the current era of laptops for Apple and kickstarted the ultrabook movement.

    Between the unibody MacBook Pros of 2008 and the 2010 Air he honestly set the standard for the entire market.

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