maps & dings

iPhone 5 is longer, lighter, thinner and faster and I haven’t met an object I’d rather spend the time that I spend with the iPhone with.1

True, with maps a let down right now and it maybe scratching too easy (two tiny silver nicks already), I’m out in a slick new car, enjoying the drive but with a niggling fear of reaching the wrong destination and dinging it on the way.2

And that’s what some of the pro-sumer internets is running with - great hardware letdown by competent but ageing or ineffective software. Apple losing their way.

After 5 days then, here’s what I’m thinking, since you asked…

This year seems to be about setting the hardware standard for a serious iOS upgrade next year - maybe tied to the end of the cats in OSX 3 - and maybe even the inevitable sharing of a name across all device software.

This is more permanent revolution from Apple - a confidence to refine design and specification and consolidate users around a known interface; sometimes minimal surface changes slowly shifting our relationships with our mobile devices at a furious rate, with a calming smile.

And iPhone 5 is the boldest reflection yet of Apple designing itself invisible; the only dash of an alternative colour is behind the silence switch - a millimetre or two of orange. And that’s it. Even the Apple logo is blended into the design.

This betrays a brand confidence unusual to a mass-market device and marks another important chapter in Apple’s strategy to mould our relationship with it’s mobile technology (and therefore, right now, everyone elses). The industrial design is moving us from notions of the brand reflecting our creativity and difference to refracting it. Increasingly unseen.

Beyond the logo, Siri and iCloud are added to the gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, dual-cameras and proximity sensors - all creating devices containing many of the components of a living animal. In our pockets.

The revolution that mobile, touch screen devices sparked is fully underway. And it was mainstreamed by Apple (anyone who used a ‘smart’ phone before iPhone and disagrees is being paid or being crazy). 4

But the creative and driven spirit that bred these devices is more than Steve Jobs and Jonny Ives and isn’t anywhere near done yet. It doesn’t mean Apple own the future but it does mean there’s more to talk about when we’re done with maps.

Though not necessarily when I’m sat in the wrong pub, on the wrong street, miles from where my friends are…

Andy Lee