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jaguar rawr

I'm looking at OSX a little more seriously now that my birthday is coming up (hint hint), and the new version (code named "Jaguar") is looking quite promising, with one glaring exception.

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the stupidest looking chat program ever! Little pictures and chat bubbles? Yeech. Have we learned nothing since 1997?

Aside from that, Apple's next version of OSX looks pretty sweet. Faster graphics, system-wide address book, integrated searching ... hell, I'd plunk down the cash for a G4 tomorrow if the new spam filter in Mail does what it says it does. (Long have I wanted to just teach my mail program what spam is when I delete it.)

But the one thing I'm confused about is the dueling design paradigms at Apple. Some apps have decided to look metallic (Sherlock, iTunes, Address Book) and some retain the gumdrop Aqua look (the new Photoshop and Word, for example). Do these looks mean something? Which is the default?

{ 3:20pm }



» Apple's iApps are metallic; everything else is Aqua-tic.

Join us... you know you want to.

– Wes Felter  { 5.6.02 @ 4:16pm }

» Right, but does that mean that other vendors aren't allowed to use the metallic look? I know that here in my lowly OS9 world, several non-Apple apps use a similar metallic look. Less skillfully, but still....

Derek  { 5.6.02 @ 4:24pm }

» The iApps have been traditionally "appliance-like", for whatever that may mean. Apple's bigger applications, like Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro sport a different interface as well.

The iApp's are primarily expected to be single window applications (iTunes can open multiple windows for its playlists, but you typically deal with the main window), and typically aren't Document centric (iMovie is, but its interface is a combination of brushed metal and aqua; iDVD is (currently) pure Aqua).

But it's getting a little out of hand in my opinion with Jaguar, with iChat, the Address Book, and Sherlock 3 all getting in on the brushed metal act. The problem with most of the brushed metal apps is that they don't follow some of the more common Aqua conventions (iTunes' scroll bars remain Blue, even if the Graphite theme is selected in Mac OS X).

Speaking of Sherlock 3, it looks quite obviously like it's the Watson application wrapped in a brushed metal Window Definition.

Jeffrey P Shell  { 5.6.02 @ 4:58pm }

» The metallic programs do not use the system default widgets, and thus eat up more system resources for their custom-widgets, and are probably going to have some forward-compatibility programs down the road. Idiocy.

The lack of hardware acceleration for Rage128 graphic chipsets is infuriating -- these are the systems that need acceleration the most. "Gee, guess the computer you bought last year isn't up to par, time to replace it..."

Cowboy X  { 5.6.02 @ 5:47pm }

» I am with you on the iChat look. I jumped into OS X for my mobile existance and really love it. My next desktop with be Mac and not Windows because of the ease and power in OS X.

vanderwal  { 5.6.02 @ 6:16pm }

» And the "strangest non-Apple use of Apple's brushed-metal look" award goes to... Drumroll, please... Loudcloud, corporate child of ex-Netscaper Marc Andreessen. With a site UI ripped straight off of QuickTime and a logo ripped right off of once-mighty Metacreations, Andreessen and Company seem to be waiting out the recession by spending nary a penny on a designer!

In all seriousness, I gulped when I saw the screen grabs of iChat as well. System-level integration of an AIM client is great, but here's hoping you can strip off that ridiculous cartoon facade and assign it a more functional look-and-feel. (I'd also love to see full ICQ integration, a la Fire, but I guess Steve and the gang have to have something to wheel out for 10.3.)

BTW, I felt that the brushed-metal UI was an interesting decision from the get-go -- what do you gain from making an appliance look cold and metallic, two elements that aren't really in Apple's design vocabulary? Even the TiBooks feel a little warmer than that, somehow.

Geoffrey  { 5.6.02 @ 10:22pm }

» This is obviously a Mac camp, however...

E-mail with spam filtering... What a concept... Windows has been doing this for years now.

Why not mention that Apple decided to drop OS9 support. What are users supposed to do if they have a problem with one of their OS9 apps? Call Apple? Actually, I wonder if they will be keeping their support center up with OS9 for a while. The articles didn't say much about that.

Now don't get me wrong, I am certainly no Gates groupie. It just bugs me to see Jobs claiming that all this OS X stuff puts Apple 2 years ahead of "The other guys", when it looks to me like they are finally catching up with "The other guys".

Dave  { 5.7.02 @ 6:33am }

» I'm slow, is the problem with iChat the age of the interface or the quality? I'm an old text-mode IRC user (ircle on OS 9), and I've never used any other type of chat interface, so I can't compare. The screen shots certainly look like something my kids (11 and 13) would like.

Since the interface has been done before, how successful was it, and who liked it? Were kids a group UI designers cared about in 1997?

– Tom Maszerowski  { 5.7.02 @ 6:39am }

» Actually, now I know what the iApps remind me of - the old Desk Accesories! If you'll remember, the Calculator, Scrap Book, and other classic desk accessories (especially around the time of system 6 and 7) had their own unique look, with a black window bar with rounded edges. In system 7.x (and maybe even 6) you could change the pattern of these windows using a secret key combination with the old "Desktop Patterns" control panel.

The desk accessories were meant to look different for a reason - they weren't supposed to feel like a whole application. They were the appliance apps of their day. Personally, especially on a really high-res screen, I really like how nice iTunes (especially with an open playlist window) looks hovering around with the rest of my windows.

jshell  { 5.7.02 @ 6:42am }

» Jeffrey -- You nailed it! Now it makes sense. Thanks! You rock!

Tom -- My issue was just that the secreenshot of iChat looks extremely cheesy. Why make text look like buttons?

Dave -- No one here was having the mac vs. windows conversation. Why make it into that?

Derek  { 5.7.02 @ 11:22am }

» Your right... I'm still calming down from reading Job's Keynote address at WWDC.

Dave  { 5.7.02 @ 6:37pm }

» hey d,

i love the rendezvous feature in os x jag. it's crazy! we walk up to each other with our comps on and airports? bling! how the hairy heck are ya doing? wicked cool.

personally, i kinda like the ichat module. the text bubbles are kinda a neato idea. sometimes i get lost in frantic chatting and forget who said what. having the user's image next to their post mades things cool too - like you know who you're talking to. even better to have a webcam there, but whatever. hmm.. an animated gif that makes it look like you're reacting and stuff? that'd be boss.

i also really like the brushed metal look that they're giving to stuff. i think i read someplace that developers can now use the bm interface to build apps - a neato touch. i think if that's true, there'll be lots more in the pipes. there's also supposed to be another theme by apple to skin x with - maybe it'll be all-brushed?

and inkwell! newton's back in the game baby.. i keep expecting apple to come up with a startrek-esque tablet that people can write on and sync via airport to their comp. like a remote control that they can update and jot notes down on, control itunes playlists in their homes, and ichat with other people with. i was very upset when they didn't include an airport card (or an option) in the ipod. syncing with the pod from your car in the garage before you go out on the town'd be cool.

mat  { 5.8.02 @ 6:28am }

» Now that I've had some time to think about it, I realize that my main gripe is that they're using the same visual treatment for chat comments as they use for buttons -- big blue and while 3D gumdrops. What kind of message is this sending to the user? Why should chat text look like you should click on it? Imagine a web chat environment where all the comments are form buttons. Apple should know better than to confuse their UI this way.

Derek  { 5.8.02 @ 2:40pm }

» d,

mat again. now you've got me thinking about ichat. you're right - from a usability standpoint, things are a little starchy. it's like the crazy animated dock sometimes - you forget where the funk stuff is hidden/located. narg. i've just got mine turned off.

advantage to os x? the chimera browser's pretty wicked-bad. big icons that look like expensive jewelry, some nice foto desktops, that it hasn't crashed on me since xmas(!!), ease-of-use with my camera and iphoto ('specially with the new one..)

mat  { 5.8.02 @ 5:06pm }

» I love OS 9, am still using it daily, have not even dabbled in OS X yet. Too much work to do! Changing operating systems takes time. You need to learn the new system. Apps need to be upgraded, macros and system extensions need to be replaced, etc. I keep thinking I'll get a few weeks of downtime soon. I've been thinking that for over a year. Eventually I'll have to migrate or be a man without a country. I'm not happy about the forced migration. And I don't really care for the Aqua look. I find it way overdesigned and AOL-cute. (No need to argue if you disagree; it's just one person's opinion.)

Jeffrey  { 5.9.02 @ 6:59am }

» I have to say that I was a bit leery about upgrading to OS X, but after using for the past few months I have to say it was the best investment of time and money I've ever made. Aside from a few foibles, like not having a "replace all" or "select all" when moving files (what the hell were they smoking!), some funky UI things - like windows closing when you're going back and forth through directories, and the whole lack of native Photoshop (up til this point), i've had a completely positive and fairly short "getting used to" period. Besides there's the whole Open Console Window type whereis perl geek factor (heaven), iPhoto, iTunes, i-msold - plus One day without your mac crashing at least three times, followed by several weeks without having to restart is worth every penny and bead of sweat. Have to agree with you on iChat UI (blergh), aside from the fact I think it's just a little too late to try to reinvent the wheel on this one.

kiri  { 5.9.02 @ 7:45am }

» j+k,

mat here again. nice points. i agree on all of them. a problem i've got is that apple doesn't release skins to make things look different. i mean, they think different, why not look it to? instead, we've gotta use duality and some funked up themes. i wish they'd come out with a more streamlined look that'd come from a theme. squared corners, dulled buttons, etc. they DO have a graphite theme too, that takes away the coloured buttons and makes them gray - ooh - but i'm looking for more. maybe i should mail them instead of bitching here? great idea!

oh, speaking of apple all this time, did you see the "vote for our help page" thing going on at apple?


mat  { 5.9.02 @ 9:12am }

» Derek - I agree about the iChat look but I have to wonder if there is any alternative to scrolling lines of text for chat. It's certainly resource-friendly. But it's sure not like real conversation in conveying non-verbal information. What's better?

– Tom Maszerowski  { 5.10.02 @ 6:50am }

» Apple's theory is that the brushed-metal look is for "gadgets" or "appliances" -- ones with controls like you might find in the real world -- and that have, for obvious reasons, one-window interfaces. And with Jaguar, anyone can make one, not just apple.

And, uh, Dave, Macs have had e-mail with spam filtering forever. The difference is that Apple's building it in to its own personal mail client, and is using some semantic text-analysis technology to learn about what your spam is based on what you do when you get it.

– Jason Snell  { 5.10.02 @ 10:02am }

» I hated Aqua when I first moved to it, but after a while it became far more efficent for me working. the dock is far easier to access than the application menu. Docklets such as slashdock show how content syndication can tie into the desktop. and the terminal! woot! i can type BSD commands! :)

And the most beautiful thing of all? thanks to DevShed's article, I was able to compile apache, mysql, and PHP on my TiBook. develop anywhere. That's the exciting stuff for me.

The only down side is that most audio apps aren't out yet, so I still boot into os 9 occasionally.

Good luck with your transition Derek!

john athayde  { 5.13.02 @ 10:23pm }

» What's really good about os X is the graphics. Even those funky linux desktops have only a one bit alpha channel if you take a good look at a custom window. And vector based, well, NexT had display postscript, but I suppose it didn't look as good as Quartz.

Another thing is the easy way to create your own programs, yeah, real cocoa programs, and they are very efficient. As I learn more and More about os X, it really becomes clear to me that even the best linux distributions cant com near to it. Let alone Windows, ugh

– jack  { 5.15.02 @ 4:32pm }


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