Posts tagged “apple.com”.

Apple.com, circa never (but we can wish)

March 7th, 2011

Apple.com, circa never

It was soon after the iPad 2 announcement that the trouble started brewing.

Thomas Brand on Twitter: “If you think the white iPad 2 looks cheap you should see the Bondie Blue model with pinstripes.”

Neat, I thought – I’d take a Bondi Blue one any day. So Thomas made one. And then another. And then more.

We had so much fun watching all of Thomas’s retro iPads come through that, shucks, why not make a retro Apple.com page again? So there you have it: Apple.com, circa never.

This time, I used the OS X 10.2 Jaguar-era Apple.com, with a fun iPhone fake mockup and an announcement that will never, ever come.

As far as the iPad goes: the white iPad 2 is the first time I’ve actually considered wanting an iPad. I still don’t have an iPad-shaped hole in my life, and the $499 could be used more productively in a lot of other places, but who knows. It’s a wonderful-looking product, and put me down as a fan of the white versions of Apple’s mobile devices.

Another side note: Thomas has been on fire over at Egg Freckles. Not only is his the best-looking blog on the web, but he’s cranking out great stuff lately.

Matt’s Macintosh: iMac G4 review

June 17th, 2010

Matt Pearce, the guy behind Matt’s Macintosh, takes a look back at the revolutionary iMac G4 design.

I like that his YouTube videos are both well-made and show an appreciation for all the old Mac and Apple hardware. He’s got a lot of great new and older stuff to show off.

Matt also took my retro Apple.com idea and ran with it, mocking up five designs ranging from the original Apple, complete with the old Newton-under-a-tree icon, to the QuickTake camera.

Disappeared: Apple’s Mac Download page

May 10th, 2010

Chris Foresman at Ars Technica:

A link to the Downloads page was also featured as one of the top navigation links on Apple’s website until a section for the iPad replaced it several weeks ago. Of course, the Downloads page has gone without updates for several days in a row in the past. The most recent month-long update drought, however, has many developers wondering if Apple plans to discontinue the Downloads page altogether.

I like the idea of a Mac “App Store Lite” – because that’s exactly how I thought of Apple’s Download page when I bought my first Macintosh in 2005. As a new subscriber to the Apple way of life, the Downloads page was an easily-browsable headquarters.

In fact, I still go there from time to time and browse through the apps. Most offer a free trial period, unlike the iTunes-based App Store, so there is little barrier to entry. Try an app. Don’t like it? Try another.

The Downloads page disappearing from the Apple title makes sense, given that the iPad is the new focus, and actually gives clarity to Apple’s lineup:

Apple link bar

Here’s an older version of the nav bar, with the Downloads link:

Apple's Download link

Before that, we had iCards and QuickTime and all kinds of nonsense. To me, the Downloads page makes more sense under the Mac heading – since it’s all software for the Macintosh.

(And speaking of organization: I know that FileMaker is its own pseudo company thingy, with its own headquarters and software for both Mac and Windows, but really? Why not lump Bento in with iWork and have FileMaker serve as a pro app, like Aperture?)

The thing is, the Downloads page isn’t found in the Mac section. After digging, I found it on the Support Downloads page in a inconspicuous location:

Apple Downloads link

Even worse: it’s nowhere to be found on the Site Map page. As Foresman points out in the Ars Technica article, the only easy way to get to the Downloads page is via the Apple menu in OS X:

Mac OS X Software

The downloads page languishing and hidden in the remote corners of apple.com is not a good sign. It reminds me of what Apple’s doing to AppleTV.

What could it mean?

  • That, just as Ars postulates, Apple could be moving to an App Store for the Mac
  • That Apple has turned their attention away from the Mac, spelling doom and ruin
  • Apple has been so busy with other things that…well…it just hasn’t gotten around to playing with the Downloads page

I’m not a fan of any of those options.

Apple TV as odd-product out

March 19th, 2010

Apple TV

The Apple TV has had an interesting history. Starting out, it accompanied the iPhone as Apple’s “next big thing,” even if its spotlight was dim in comparison with the iPhone’s.

From then on, it became a “hobby,” and now I wonder if it’s even that.

Consider this. On the Apple.com Store, the “above the fold” shot looks something like this:

Apple.com store homepage

Notice anything missing? The Macs and iPods and Touch devices are all there in the circle. But no Apple TV. In fact, to find any mention of the Apple TV anywhere on the Store homepage, you have to look under the “For iPod” section:

Apple TV under iPods

Deeper in the store, the Apple TV gets a mention, but under Mac Accessories. So is the Apple TV for iPods or for Macs?

What gives? If Filemaker Pro and Apple’s printer bundle can get a graphical mention on the Store homepage, why not Apple TV?

I put together a current Apple product lineup grid, showing the available desktops, notebooks, touch devices, iPods, and what I call “Misc.” – which just means anything that isn’t any of the above categories:

Current Apple product lineup

The “Misc.” section is a mish-mash. Displays, peripherals, networking and backup products – and the Apple TV. One could argue that it belong with the iPod, but I consider iPods portable music devices. And the Apple TV isn’t quite a Mac, either, even though it runs a version of Front Row and connects with an iTunes library.

No, it’s just kind of out there on it’s own. It has no rock-solid home in the current Apple lineup.

On the other hand, imagine if we added some other category. We’ll call it “Entertainment,” and then add all the other items under “Misc.” as a kind of peripherals-only section:

Hypothetical Apple product lineup

For “Entertainment,” we have to imagine the Apple TV as its own category – perhaps a harbinger to things to come. Of what? There have been rumors of some sort of Apple television. Maybe they’ve been waiting for competition. Maybe they’re striking a deal with Netflix and Boxee right now. Maybe there’s a flatscreen TV out there with an Apple logo on the back, waiting to be released.

It’s just speculation, and I don’t consider it a worthwhile rumor for the time being. Apple, now, seems focused on its Touch devices – specifically the iPad. The Apple TV is surely stuck in some development limbo. One could even argue that the fourth-leg of the Apple stool is now the iPad instead of the Apple TV.

We’re also seeing the Apple product lineup gain some complexity, with the Apple TV fitting in nowhere that makes sense. Remember when Steve Jobs returned, and he cut everything Apple was doing at the time (killing the Newton, say) down to the very minimum? He filled in the final slot in the G3 lineup at the iBook launch in 1999:

Mac G3 lineup

Back then, you had two consumer Macs and two pro Macs. In the G4 era, things became a little less simplified with the PowerMac G4 Cube (unless you want to lump it with the regular PowerMacs) and the iPod. But even then, you could fit products in definite categories: consumer Macs, pro Macs, smaller iPods, and full-sized iPods.

Where does the Apple TV fit in all this? Nowhere neatly that I can figure out. And Apple quarantining the Apple TV from the Store homepage seems to send a message. “If you really want an Apple TV, you’re going to have to dig.”

1983 Apple.com – on the web

March 1st, 2010

Hilarious. Someone who saw my 1983 Apple.com mockup made the spoof as an actual, working web site.

As of now, the links all say “Coming Soon!” But man, wouldn’t it be cool to work out all the Apple Lisa or BASIC copy for a functioning (albeit fake) retro Apple.com?

More retro Apple.coms

January 20th, 2010

In my original retro Apple.com post, I asked for others to take memorable moments in Apple’s history and mockup a web site.

Matt Pearce did just that, as you can see, making five total Apple.com homepages at different points in history. Particularly notable: an Apple I version with the original Apple Computer logo.

[Via Retro Maccast.]

Apple.com, circa 1993

January 11th, 2010

Apple.com, circa 1993

Here’s the tablet before the tablet.

With all this talk of a tablet-type device set to descend from the foggy Olympus of Cupertino, I thought it might help to look back at Apple’s first flat computing device.

Yes, about 17 years ago Apple Computer released the original Newton MessagePad (OMP, or MessagePad 100). In August 1993, the company introduced a crude version of then-CEO John Sculley’s “Knowledge Navigator” concept. It was arguably the first personal digital assistant.

So I dreamed up what Apple.com might have looked like at the Newton’s launch in 1993, 10 years after my original retro Apple.com site featuring the Lisa in 1983.

This comes at the tail-end of the John Sculley era, right before the Mac PowerPC era, in the murky past when System 7 roamed the landscape and the PowerBook was changing the way we viewed laptop computers.

Behind the scenes, Apple was in full tablet mode. They saw it as a potential post-Mac future.

Back on the ground, Apple was having trouble seeing its dream become a reality. The OMP’s launch was plagued with problems, lowered expectations, and tragedy. But the idea – that you could do your computing and personal data management on the go – became reality, and it required a stylus.

Like the iPhone lacking its App Store, the Newton wasn’t fully operational at its August 1993 launch. Handwriting recognition was still iffy, and NewtonMail wasn’t operational yet. Some would argue that the Newton platform didn’t reach its true potential until the Newton OS 2.0 was released and the MessagePad 2×00 series came around. By then, however, the Newton brand had been stained, and the PDA line was finally killed by Steve Jobs in 1997.

For this retro Apple.com, I bowed to popular demand and used Apple’s skinny version of Garamond. I much prefer the new Myriad variation Apple uses, but some said the Garamond would look more authentic. So here it is.

The site also shows what was happening in the Apple ecosystem in 1993: the Mac TV would be released later in the year, the Power CD (both a music CD player and a CD-ROM for Macs) was the newest gadget, and capable Macs like the affordable LC III ruled the Macintosh world.

With all the talk of a rumored tablet, let’s not forget that, once upon a time, Apple had a tablet-style computer that ran apps, held ebooks, let you check e-mail, and managed your personal information. Now we use smartphones, but at the time the PDA was the closest thing to a tablet we could get.

Also remember: while the Apple press and public are busy waiting for some rumored tablet, there’s a big group of people out there using the original Apple tablet.

Biggest day ever

July 21st, 2009

Apple.com's 1983 success wave

What you’re looking at is the high crest of some Mac appreciation wave that is only now breaking.

I posted my Apple.com, circa 1983 picture on June 29 – three days after sharing it on Flickr. Since then, the image has been shared on numerous blogs (including one of my daily reads), and has spread around the world. It’s been an honor to see how this little project took off.

To give you an idea, Newton Poetry typically earns anywhere from 300-700 hits on an average day. For those days that I publish something to Macsurfer, that number can reach into 1,000 or so. But that’s only happened a few times.

Hitting 3,600 hits in a day, however, is unheard of for this blog. It’s madness. And it’s humbling.

The funny thing is, I had a feeling it was coming. Something told me that drafting a snapshot of Apple’s make-believe 1983 web site, something I hadn’t seen anyone tackle before, would be something people could enjoy. But 43,000 views and 30 comments on Flickr (and counting) tells me it reached those Mac fans, like myself, that love the retro kitsch stuff.

Here I thought the first day’s traffic, that little spike you see on the left, was big news. Then things creeped down back to normal, when Cult of Mac wrote about it and – BOOM – off it went. My biggest source of traffic has come from some German web sharing service Swedish blog network that I’ve never heard of. Amazing.

Looking at it almost a month later, there’s some things that I would change about the mockup. For one, someone pointed out that I had the wrong Apple II at the bottom. I’d like to mess with the kerning a bit on the headlines.

Also, some have suggested that I should have used Apple’s old serif font (what would become a modified version of Garamond) for the typeface. But I hate that typeface, and I wanted to keep things simple and more modern. Besides, the picture was thrown together on a Thursday night, the product of an idea and some Google Image searching, and is by no means an accurate representation. It only shows what one could do with Apple’s iconic web site design.

Most of all, my little project has shown the power of the share-able web. After I posted the mockup and Twittered it, the thing spread immediately to blogs and re-Tweets, and started generating unheard-of levels of traffic to this site.

So thanks to everyone who chimed in, shared the picture, and visited this site. I hope some of you will stick around, because I do love me some classic Macintosh, and Newton, and am willing to do more of this kind of thing.

I have a Newton launch day version of Apple.com swimming in my head as I type.

Apple.com, circa 1983

June 29th, 2009

Apple.com, circa 1983.

Imagine, if you will, an Apple Computer before the Macintosh, before the iPod, before the iPhone – shucks, before Steve Jobs was kicked out and brought back for Apple’s sprint to success.

This is Apple in the year 1983. It was, says Ted Friedman, a rough year:

In any case, by 1983, Apple was in danger. Their competitors in the emerging PC industry had been joined by IBM. Purchasers who’d chosen Apple out of necessity were relieved to be able to turn now to Big Blue. Apple’s first attempt at a next-generation product that could re-establish the company’s pre-eminence was the Lisa. A $10,000 computer designed for the business market, it was a flop.

Steve Jobs gives a keynote that warns of the danger of IBM’s dominance. A former soda-pop president named John Sculley comes on board. Apple sells its millionth Apple II computer.

And then we all know what happens in 1984.

I’m fascinated by how Apple’s web site has changed over the years. And because it has that iconic design, often copied, I thought it’d be cool to use it as a time-traveling template to take a peek into the past.

So with some randomly-available product pics and a bit of PhotoShop, I crafted the above Apple.com mockup as it may have appeared in the year 1983. It’s not accurate, of course, because I took some embellishments on the iPhone prototype and the fact that some sort of World Wide Wide existed during the Reagan administration.

Whatever. It was me having a bit of fun with some Apple history.

What would be cool is if someone took a snapshot of Apple.com as it would appear throughout the years before it’s actual launch in 1996. For instance, I’d love to see what the homepage would’ve looked like on the Newton’s launch day, or the first PowerBook, or System 7.

In the meantime, enjoy what could have been.

HowTo: Install packages on your Newton

February 4th, 2008

Want to install a package on your MessagePad – like, say, an update to the Newton’s OS – but wondering how to get started?

I noticed that my Newton 110′s OS was still stuck at version 1.2. I knew Apple.com kept a comprehensive list of old software and driver downloads, so I started there first. This is a good starting page for Newton inquiries; it breaks down your MessagePad model, and leads you to its listing of Newton OS software. Here you’ll find updates, connection software (like the Newton Connection Kit and Utilities), modem drivers, and much more. Browsing through the listing, I found my OS 1.3 listing here:

The OS 1.3 download on Apple.com

I clicked on the “read me” file just to see what I was getting into. Then I clicked on the “MP_110_1.3_345333.sea.bin” file and the download started right away. More… »