Originally Posted by malax
Just this last weekend I watched a session from the 2010 WWDC called "iPad and iPhone User Interface Design" by a couple of the Apple software guys and it was amazing. It was very insightful and literally inspiring. They talked specifically about the decisions to use wood texture for the iBooks bookcase and leather (not "fake leather," duh) and stitching for the Notes app, and why the torn paper is there. Obviously you can disagree with their design choices (as you can with any of Ive's decisions), but the obvious attention to detail and love (no other word for it) that went into those apps and the iOS in general was impressive. The success of the iPhone and iPad (and thereby Apple) is much more a function of the work of software teams than anyone else. But of course the other "secret" of Apple is that all the teams work very closely together. I work at a much smaller company and we have more silos of expertise and independent decision making than Apple. What I got out of "the book" was Jobs genius in forcing everyone to work together hold each other to the highest standards. Being an executive at Apple must be harder than most places (since you can't just throw up walls around your own people and projects and be successful on your own terms), but they are doing a lot of things right.
Thanks for this post. I think it was an irrelevant question on the interviewer's part to raise this in the first place. Ive is responsible for the hardware, not the software, where different rules apply.
You can play around with eye candy in software—it costs close to nothing once it's designed, and you can always change it. The skeuomorphic stuff in Notes or Calender is there out of a sense of delight, or, as you say, love, and it doesn't hurt a thing to be there. It makes it fun for THE USER to be there. Geeks hate it because they are generally allergic to visual delight. Left-brain people interpret beauty as noise.
As for hardware, in the Jobs/Ive Zen aesthetic of deep simplicity, there is no room for decoration for its own sake. The delight comes from the absence of waste or any sort of fakery. Because it's material, every curve, recess, bump, or hole has a huge price in manufacturing, not to mention it will be sensed by the user's fingers as dishonest if it doesn't need to be there. Sir Jony probably winced at the question because it didn't need to be asked of him.
By the way, I happen to like the leather and wood stuff. It's tactile, or on its way to being tactile. It will look great in 3D when we finally get there. That's what they're working on now, come to think of it, and that's
why he winced. Just a guess.