Posts tagged “leopard”.

Time to change the iTunes icon

July 12th, 2010

iTunes icon

Apple’s iTunes icon has remained relatively unchanged since it’s release 10 years ago: a CD with music notes in front. The number and colors of those notes have changed, but overall the icon has stayed the same.

Isn’t it interesting, then, that some Mac users pick on Microsoft for using the floppy disk for saving files (rightfully so, I think) when Apple, who is speeding past the physical media age, relies on a flat disc of plastic to identify it’s media app?

From the days of “Rip, Mix, Burn,” Apple has encouraged users to think beyond the compact disc. With the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, our media could be captured in bits and bytes, 1s and 0s, not rotations of a disc over a laser beam. And since the post SoundJam days, iTunes has become a home for other media besides music – like books, movies, games, and podcasts. Arguably, it’s still mostly about music. But more and more iTunes has become a hub for the digital lifestyle – a homebase for all our media.

So why stick with the CD on the icon?

Recently, I read a Rolling Stone survey that said most people still get their music from CDs (I’m one of them). Record albums are becoming popular again, and legal MP3s are a close second, but more than 87% of music buyers still get their music from compact discs. With all the talk of the electronic media age, I found the survey results surprising.

But still, iTunes is becoming less and less about tunes and more about all manner of digital media. It’s hard to parse the “tunes” part of iTunes when you combine it with books, movies, TV shows, games, and iPod/iPhone management. The tunes are just one part of a collection of consumable entertainment.

Is there a good enough case for Apple changing the icon? Or is it so ingrained in popular culture that any change, like the floppy disk in Microsoft Office programs, will be unwelcome?

iMovie icons

Think back to when Apple revamped iMovie, with the new icon.

Quicktime icons

Or QuickTime X – quite a change from the nearly-20-year-old QuickTime logo before it (above – courtesy of The Logo Factory).

It’s not like Apple is afraid of change, visually or philosophically. In the case of hardware, it’s usually revolutionary (think iMac G3 to iMac G4). Even OS X has undergone a few visual transformations over the years. Why leave the iTunes icon unchanged after so long?

Maybe the question is, what could replace the current iTunes icon?

NewtMail: OS X on a Dell Vostro A90 / Mini 9

June 22nd, 2009


My Mac-enthusiast friend Curtis chimes in with his latest project, a Dell netbook Hackintosh:

It was an easy install and it worked *very* well.

The little machine reminds me of the days of my PowerBook 100!

Congratulations, Curtis!

Now I wonder if you could get NCX running on it and sync a Newton. Anyone tried yet?

Mobile OS X: are the pinstripes back?

July 31st, 2008

In the G3-G4 Mac era, pinstripes were everywhere.

Look at the front of a G3 iMac, or an Apple Studio Display (CRT or flat screen), or even OS X up until Panther. Even the classic Mac OS had pinstripes on the tops of windows, and the pre-Power PC Macs had pinstripes as a rule.

We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to find pinstripes creeping back into the Mac OS. But the iPhone OS X? Take a look:

I found that shot in the Contacts app, but pinstripes can also be found in the iCal app (try adding a new appointment), the Settings, and even the Clock (the map in the background). Now the iPhone’s pinstripes are a little thicker and more prominent than OS X’s. Check this preference pane from Jaguar:

Takes you back, doesn’t it?

With its darker hue and thicker lines, the Mobilie OS X goes for a more professional and buttoned-up look, much like OS X 10.5 Leopard, than the lighter, “lickable” OS X of yesteryear. The pinstripe motif is mostly a simple backdrop to app screens displaying boxed areas of information (iCal, Settings). But also, the vertical stripes lend to the iPhone’s mostly vertical orientation. Granted, the pinstripes only appear here and there (I noticed the scheme in a few apps, like UrbanSpoon, too) – instead of everywhere with OS X 10.0 and beyond.

The more unified look of Leopard begins to break down in areas like this, much as Panther and Tiger only used the brushed metal design willy-nilly.

I agree with John Siracusa: using OS X 10.2 Jaguar on my iBook G3 is a “jarring” experience: the clunky finder, the toy-ish polish on buttons and tabs, and all those pinstripes.

Now they’re back, in iPhone form.

[Jaguar screen shot courtesy of Ars Technica.]

What about the Mac Mini?

June 16th, 2008

How are Mac Mini sales doing?

I always wonder about the Mac Mini.

Every time I see one I want to touch it, and I’m always on the look-out for a cheap enough model to buy. But I wonder how the Mac Mini’s sales are doing.

When it was launched, people predicted the Mini – then a G4 – would sell pretty well. Then, last summer, sites predicted the death of the Mini. Since Leopard was release, the Mini just hangs in limbo.

It’s a shame, too, because people love the pint-sized Mac enough to mod the heck out of it. Media centers, car computers – you name it, someone has put a Mini inside it. But how well does it sell overall?

The original idea was to offer up a below-$1,000 Mac so that Window users, who already own a capable monitor and keyboard/mouse set, could jump ship easily and cheaply. The Mini could run OS X and MS Office software and anything else you could throw at it, and users could expect a machine to help them “learn” the Mac OS without whipping through 40 Photoshop filters at top speed. You knew it was a modest system. You didn’t expect a whole lot.

As it stands today, though, people are switching to Apple – but mostly through the notebook route. What’s the Mac Mini’s role in all this? A new MobileMe-only device? A music server?

Plus, OS X 10.5 requires more powerful hardware, and the Mini’s modest specs seem to not up to the new iMac’s standards, I guess I’m just worried the tiny Mac will get lost in the (non-iPod) shuffle. If sales are sluggish, would Apple just drop it? Would the monitor-less experiment be over? And what about the dreaded xMac?

If anyone knows, I’d love to hear about it.