I wonder if Tim Cook's embarrassment is a tell; a sign that Cook didn't want to make a gold watch. That the Apple Watch Edition is a vanity project for Jony Ive, a luxury watch aficionado who rides in a Bentley to work every day. A $10,000 watch (or even $17,000, the highest priced model) is not Apple. While the company is often criticized for selling products at prices higher than competitors, Apple has always backed these prices up with higher quality and better design. Apple has never been a company of bling, and the Apple Watch Edition is bling, nothing more.
Given the many times he has talked about form following naturally from function, I thought Ive had more taste than to design an ostentatious display of wealth. Then again, in the recent New Yorker profile of Ive, his “friend and former London colleague” Clive Grinyer did say that Ive has “always been a bit bling.”
The Tumult team has done some great work on the upcoming Hype Pro. If you are a designer who wants to move beyond static mockups and tools that limit you to canned animations, you’ll want to check it out.
The Mac App Store was released in January 2011 and it marked the beginning of a great new distribution channel. Even though it lacked some bells and whistles, the developer community was hopeful the problems would be addressed in due course. Unfortunately, it has been years and there’s no evidence that the core issues would be addressed in the future, at all.
I bought Affinity Designer recently because I was able to use the beta releases, which proved the app to be stable, performant, and very functional. I don’t buy Mac apps without being able to try them.
Adobe having killed Fireworks, I’ve moved over to Boheman Coding’s Sketch. The addition of symbols in v3 made it practical to use for larger projects. I still miss shared layers from Fireworks, but not the crashes.
Affinity Designer has great performance, a customizable UI, and a good balance of vector and bitmap tools. It’s not geared toward mocking up numerous screen views, but it seems like a good option for individual illustrations and icons.
Flying Meat’s Acorn is a great alternative to Photoshop if you need bitmap editing capabilities.
Quasado’s Gravit provides a good deal of Fireworks’ functionality in an open source, web technologies-based package. It’s still very much a work in progress (no Boolean ops on vectors, no vector export, bugs, etc.), but it already surpasses Fireworks in some ways. The multiple master pages would have been great in Fireworks.
Not having been released, I have not used it, but there is good reason to believe that Bjango’s Skala will be a quality visual design app.
Relative Wave’s Form looks like a way to build iOS prototypes without all the complexity of Quartz Composer.
Tumult’s Hype is a good way to build interactive prototypes without coding. I’ve built fairly extensive prototypes using the combination of Sketch and Hype. Unlike Form and Origami, Hype’s output can run on anything with a decent browser.
Most designers for screens could be well served by some combination of the above. My workflow these days is mostly doing graphics and some layout in Sketch, then prototyping in the browser using jQuery with Velocity.js or Snap.svg for animation.
When in the Artist view in iTunes, rather than album covers scrolling along with the tracks, they should bump up against the header and stay in view until all of the album’s tracks scroll out of view, much like Music on the iPad or the header bars in the iOS Contacts app.
I used the icon font Apple released as part of the 30th anniversary of the Mac to create a couple 2560 × 1600 desktop backgrounds. I stuck to particularly notable Macs and the models I or my family have owned.
The persistent alignment controls in Sketch could double as a way to add guides around canvas selections. The basic idea is that depressing a modifier key would switch the toolbar into a guide placement quasi-mode, with the icons and tooltips updating to reflect the change. Ideally, the icons in the toolbar would reflect the guide color set in Sketch’s preferences (red being the default).
A few ideas to improve the alignment guides in Bohemian Coding’s Sketch, which I’ve been using more and more since Adobe announced that they pulled the plug on Fireworks — just like Obama will do to your sweet old granny.
In the current version (2.3.1), guide positions are hard to read and you can’t easily space them from each other and the edge of the artboard.
There is also currently no way to position them by numeric input, a feature I found very useful in Fireworks.
Say you’ve decided to change the height (or width) of an element in your design, a change that must propagate. It would be great to be able to move all of the guides on one axis in one pass.
The input boxes for individual and batch position adjustment would of course let you increment their values using the arrow keys and change them using mathematical operations, two features I’ve found really useful in Sketch.