From Federico Viticci at MacStories:
Let me cut to the chase: I don’t think iOS and iPadOS 15 are massive updates like iOS and iPadOS 13 or 14 were. There are dozens of interesting new features in both updates, but none of them feels “obvious” to demonstrate to average users like, say, dark mode and iPad multiwindow in iOS and iPadOS 13 or Home Screen widgets in last year’s iOS 14. And, for the most part, I think that’s fine. The wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every year, and the pandemic happened for everyone – Apple engineers included.
In many ways, iOS and iPadOS 15 remind me of iOS 10 and 12: they’re updates that build upon the foundation set by their predecessors, bringing welcome consumer additions that, while not earth-shattering, contribute to making iOS more mature, intelligent, and deeply integrated with Apple’s ecosystem.
As always, a great overview from Viticci. The thing that stuck out to me the most is his detailed breakdown of Safari on iOS and iPadOS. I’m still looking for a review that speaks in glowing terms about the UX tradeoffs made for these releases. As Federico says in the article:
So I have to ask: is it worth sacrificing everything else in the name of an address bar at the bottom?
I’ve been a Firefox user on the desktop for a while now, but have used Safari on iOS up to now. I’ve tried out Safari 15 on my Mac (you can download the Safari Technology Preview to check it our for yourself), and I can’t get into the changes on the nav bar. It’s a constant hunt to find the tabs you want because they’re always moving around and many of the things I use from the toolbar are now hidden behind an extra click. The past couple of years Apple has been on a quest to banish as much UI behind 3 dot menus, and it makes using their software more difficult to use. This seems to be in service of better aesthics over user experience. The idea of “elevating the content” is all well and good, but not if the rest of the UX suffers as a result. It doesn’t need to be an either/or proposition.
This release might push me to using a 3rd party browser on all of my devices. It looks that bad. I really hope they see the feedback and learn from it, becuase it’s overwhelmingly bad. I was really excited about the idea of true browser extensions on iOS/iPadOS but I’m not sure it’s worth the tradeoffs.
From Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge:
Apple made a remote control that’s an undeniably beautiful piece of hardware. Outside of the Siri Remote, how many TV remotes can claim to actually look good? But the touchpad’s minimalism and misplaced attempt at trying to turn the entire remote into something that it’s not makes it like other failed Apple buttons before it: a stark warning of the dangers of chasing form over function.
The Siri Remote is by far the worst Apple product I own and this article sums up all of the frustrations users feel when using it. The actual Siri functionality is brilliant but it mostly stops there. Swiping around is a pain, they’re easy to lose and when you do find them, odds are you’ll pick it up facing upside down.
I could be wrong, but this sort of design feels like the worst of the Jony Ive era and I’m hopeful that Apple will make amends with the next Apple TV version.
I use Safari as my primary browser for privacy, cross platform sync and performance reasons. It’s got it’s problems like any browser but overall I love how simple and fast it is. But man, Apple makes it a pain for us sometimes. A few years ago, Apple made the move to deploying Safari extensions as […]
Continue reading →
From Matthew Panzarino, at TechCrunch:
The new iPad cursor is a product of what came before, but it’s blending, rather than layering, that makes it successful in practice. The blending of the product team’s learnings across Apple TV, Mac and iPad. The blending of touch, mouse and touchpad modalities. And, of course, the blending of a desire to make something new and creative and the constraint that it also had to feel familiar and useful right out of the box. It’s a speciality that Apple, when it is at its best, continues to hold central to its development philosophy.
This was a really neat deep dive into the process around developing the new cursor UI/UX for iPadOS. I’ve given a spin on my 9.7″ iPad and a Magic Trackpad and left very impressed … at least, when it was in an app that was using native controls. The cursor changing shape and magnetically attracting to targets is a magical feeling the first few times you see it. Especially give its Apple’s first attempt at bolting a new interaction model to the iPad I’m very hopeful about their ability to make their most versatile computer even more so.
I also really dig these types of articles and wish I’d see more of them. I feel nowadays everything is either a 10k word review or clickbait hot takes. Techno-optimism is something that has died in the past few years, and I appreciate authors who still can still write as if they’re excited about tech, not permanently skeptical of it.
Well, it finally happened. After a few years of bouncing between Spotify and Apple Music (and even Google Play Music / YouTube Music for a bit), I’ve mostly moved over to Apple Music as my main music service. The cataylst turned out to be sales on both HomePods and Sonos One speakers, but I’ll address […]
Continue reading →
From @gravislizard on Twitter:
one of the things that makes me steaming mad is how the entire field of web apps ignores 100% of learned lessons from desktop apps
While the delivery is a bit too get-off-my-lawn for my tastes, this twitter thread by @gravislizard has a lot of points I agree with. For someone that makes a living on the web UI side of things, even I can admit that most web user interfaces these days are brittle, unintuitive and slow.
Apple Music is slowly being exposed as a bit of a shitshow under the covers. I’ve been fortunate not to have run into many of the issues folks are bringing up, but I definitely feel the pain of a poorly executed user experience, especially on the desktop. The bad news is that a lot of […]
Continue reading →
James Archer writes about the Hamburger Menu:
As an industry, we had somehow gotten “confusing and difficult navigation” mixed up with “fun and engaging user interface,” and convinced ourselves that people would put up with frustratingly vague navigation because it was cool and animated. It took a long time for the industry to finally break that habit.
I feel like I fight this battle with every new design concept comes my way these days, and rarely is it done with user experience in mind. More often than not, it’s put in place to satisfy multiple stakeholders who all want their pet page/project front and center. Out of options, the designer chooses a hamburger navigation option to appease all involved. The user doesn’t win here.
Mr. Archer gives a lot of good examples of why this style of nav is rarely a good idea, as well as a few good solutions for simplifying when you’re on a mobile layout. Definitely worth a read.
Luke Wroblewski (who, by the way, is worth a follow on social media and on his blog) talked about Redesigning the Apple Watch UI:
When wearing an Android Wear smartwatch, I found myself keeping up with more than I do when wearing the Apple Watch. A simple scroll up on Wear would give me the latest content from several apps ordered by relevance. In their current state, Glances on the Apple Watch don’t give me that lightweight way of staying on top of the information I care about. Their inclusion in the Apple Watch interaction model seems, instead, to complicate moving between tasks (and apps).
Some great suggestions on ways to make the Apple Watch a platform to more easily keep up with notifications, especially the ones you care about. I agree with him that 3rd party complications will help with this when watchOS 2 is released.
Spotify and Apple Music Side By Side
Nice little comparison of a lot of the main screens in both apps.