I love Apple products. I vividly remember the first Apple product I ever owned. It was, naturally, the ipod (4th edition, a wild craze among college students by this time). Ironically white ( I apparently didn't have enough imagination to appreciate the superior beauty of the black ipod at that time), smooth, silky in my palm, I took it with me everywhere. I ate with it, ran with it, surreptitiously positioned the earphones in the palm of my hand so that I could listen to music during really, really boring chapels (yes, this was the Harding University period of my life), and drifted to sleep with it singing in my ear. It's an understatement to say that it changed my life. If I made a list of important events in my life it would appear around #6:
1. Rediscovering God and his grace
2. Meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Justin
3. Having gorgeous baby Jude Hadron Smith
4. Joining a fabulous home group and making life-long friends
5. Moving to France
6. Buying my first apple product, circa fall 2004.
This seemingly innocuous event dramatically shifted the way I looked at design in general.It's simple beauty, its understated, functionality, still blows my mind. Being a designer for Apple must be similar to competing in the Olympics--or even winning the gold medal, for that matter.
A great example of Apple's unbelievable, ingenious design is discussed in (*attention Netflix subscribers*) Objectified, a documentary about the deliberate thought process behind the design of every product, from a toothpick to a macbook pro. (Incidentally, another wonderful documentary about design--also on Netflix--is Helvetica ).
O.k., so why do I have a problem with the ipad? In fact, why does the ipad secretly make me want to scream at Steve Jobs about the stupidity and arrogance of his new marketing strategy? Flash. Pure and simple, he is ruining my life (or at least my professional life) by excluding flash viewing capabilities from all of his "portable" products (e.g. ipad, iphone, iphone touch).
But as one success follows another, [ Apple ] finds itself in a bewildering position. As the tech industry’s perennial underdog, Apple was frequently scorned and dismissed by larger and more successful competitors like Microsoft or Dell. Now, with growing frequency, the company is seen by competitors and other industry players as a bully.
Companies like Google and Adobe have accused Apple of unfairly using its clout to exclude their technologies from the iPhone and iPad.
. . .But perhaps in the clearest sign that Apple has emerged as an industry superpower, government regulators are beginning to scrutinize its every move.
“People used to say, ‘Apple is crazy, they are making a big mistake,’ ” said Paul Saffo, a veteran Silicon Valley technology forecaster. “Now they are saying Apple is trying to kill competition.”
The complaints are in some ways surprising because Apple, for now, is far from reaching the kind of dominant position enjoyed by Microsoft in PCs or Google in search and online advertising.
While the iPod and iTunes lead the market for music players and online distribution of music, Apple remains a small player in PC sales. It is only now entering the digital advertising business and the sale of electronic books.
Perhaps the loudest complaints this year came after Apple barred some third-party programming tools from the iPad, including Adobe’s Flash software, which is widely used to create online videos and Web applications.
The decision led to a very public war of words between Adobe and Mr. Jobs. It also prompted the Federal Trade Commission to begin asking questions about the effect of Apple’s decision on competition.
“To ignore a major component of the Internet like Flash seems a little silly,” said John Warnock, a founder of Adobe. Mr. Warnock said Mr. Jobs would have proceeded more cautiously when the company had less clout. “Apple does what it does,” he said. “But I don’t think that they would have made a decision like this 10 years ago.”
Mr. Jobs, who declined to comment for this article, has forcefully defended Apple’s decision to exclude Flash, saying it was strictly for technical reasons. He disparaged Flash for consuming too much battery power and for what critics call its security flaws.* [well make a better battery, then, you jerks! and Ha! to your "security flaws."] And he said Apple was simply making a bet that the technology, while popular today, was quickly falling out of favor and would soon be overtaken by others.
From "Is Apple a Victim of Sour Grapes?" - by Miguel Helft, New York Times June 2010 *emphasis and indignation added by me
O.k., what does this all mean to you, the reader, who probably has minimal, if any, knowledge about web design and flash? A whole lot. Flash simplified = movement, animation, and interaction on a level that is impossible by other forms of script (e.g. Java script, jquery, etc, etc). Take this web page for example:
First off, I ADORE this company. Made up of a group of Christians, they are brilliant flash and web designers. Their work is truly inspiring. Even their preloader is thought-out to the smallest details.
And their site, the flash version, is gorgeous!
But, thanks to Steve Jobs, amdesign.com has to have multiple versions of their website now or miss out on all of the iphone and ipad users. So if you happen to go to amdesign.com on your ipad, let's say, you won't see the interactive, fun and dynamic flash site, but you'll see this:
and it's not that their mobile site looks bad, it's wonderful for mobile web design, but it's just not at all the same.
From my perspective, since I make web sites daily, the whole flash issue makes me want to puke. I have to create three versions of everything now: Regular (with flash, since everyone loves things that move, zing, ping, and interact with your mouse--everyone as in my boss, anyway), Ipad/non-flash, and mobile. This is making my brain hurt just thinking about how one misspelling, one broken link, now has to be changed in three places instead of just one.
On top of that, Apple makes you pay for a seperate data plan if you have both an iphone and an ipad. So now, your Att&t bill of $30 a month for internet access would be $60 a month. And, if you have a family with more than one iphone user, as is our case, that bill would be closer to $90 a month. . . JUST for internet access.
Oh, and the ipad can't make phone calls, so you HAVE to have an iphone.
Here's my solution to all of this:
The new and innovative iquad, apple's newest and top-secret product, launching in 2011*
It's an ipad, iphone, ipod touch, and macbook pro all in one (see my drawing below).
You're welcome, Steve Jobs.
*Disclaimer, this is all made up and part of my wild imagination. I'm the last person Apple would tell about a new product launch and I have absolutely no idea what they will come out with next, though I'm sure I'll love it and want to buy it.