Four years in the making, designer Michael Flarup has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finalize, print, and ship The iOS App Icon Book.
As Flarup explains, the iPhone sparked a golden era of icon design. The iOS App Icon Book is a 150-page art book that traces the history of iconography on iOS, with full-color, detailed reproductions of some of the best icon work from the past decade. In addition to the artwork, the book also includes a primer on Flarup’s approach to icon design and profiles of leading icon designers. The book traces the evolution of notable icons too.
The book is also meant to preserve the history of iOS iconography. As Flarup explains, the history of iOS icons is:
A history that is quickly fading. Many apps featured in this book aren’t around anymore or have evolved — which means the work we’ve been doing to capture this artwork have borded on internet archaeology. If we don’t preserve these things now, while we still have the opportunity to, they will be gone forever.
Flarup says the book is about 90% complete and should be finished by late January 2022, with the final product shipping in April 2022.
I’ve been following Michael Flarup’s progress on The iOS App Icon Book since its earliest stages, and I’m excited that it’s nearly finished. Icons are an important piece of iOS history, and I can think of no better person to chronicle its evolution.
Late yesterday, our pal Stephen Hackett launched his first-ever Kickstarter: a wall calendar featuring his stunning Apple hardware photography. You can watch Stephen’s announcement video here:
The 20”x13” 2022 calendar features product photography shot using hardware from Stephen’s extensive collection and marks important milestones in Apple hardware history alongside the usual holidays. Backers who pledge $30 will receive the calendar, but there are also options for a set of digital wallpapers featuring the photography used in the calendar for $5 or more and the wallpapers plus 4”x6” prints of the photos for $16 or more. You can pledge $42 or more to get everything too.
It’s been fun to watch Stephen put this project together over the past few weeks, and it’s a fantastic way to show off his collection of vintage hardware and the photography he’s done over the years. Digital calendars are great, but they can’t brighten up your room like these wonderful photos will.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been two decades since Mac OS X was released. I wasn’t a Mac user in 2001, but as a tech fan, I followed the release of OS X and the later switch to Intel closely, which was what finally convinced me to buy my first iMac.
Today, with Mac OS X gone and Intel chipsets not far behind, I thought it would be fun to look back at OS X and the transition to it compared to the recent switch to macOS 11 Big Sur. I started by watching Steve Jobs’ introduction of Mac OS X at Macworld Expo in 2000, which was a perilous time for the Mac. The company was just two and a half years into Jobs’ return as iCEO and had recently filled out its simplified product grid, adding the iBook to the iMac, Power Mac G4, and PowerBook lineup.
When Steve Jobs strode onto the stage at the Yerba Buena Center on January 27, 2010, he carried with him the answers to years of speculation and rumors about an Apple tablet. Everyone at the event that day knew why they were there and what would be announced. Jobs acknowledged as much up front, saying that he had a ‘truly magical and revolutionary product’ to announce.
Thanks to the iPhone, everyone at the Yerba Buena Center also had a vague notion of what Apple’s tablet would probably look like. Mockups and phony leaks were all over the web, and tablets weren’t new. Everyone expected a big slab of glass. Beyond that, though, few rumors were in agreement about what the tablet’s hardware specs would be.
It was correctly assumed that Apple’s tablet would fit somewhere in between an iPhone and a Mac both physically and functionally, but where exactly was a mystery. That made the OS and the apps the stars of the keynote and critical to the way Apple’s tablet would be used and how it would be perceived for years to come.
Before Steve Jobs revealed Apple’s new tablet to the world, though, he paused – as is still customary during most Apple keynotes – to set the stage and provide context, which is where I will start too. Ten years ago, the tech world was a very different place, and Apple was a very different company. Not only is it fun to remember what those days were like, but it helps explain the trajectory of the iPad in the decade that followed.
Last summer, Sam Henri Gold uploaded hundreds of images, videos, and other historical Apple material to Google Drive from the company’s earliest days to present. The collection didn’t last long. The flood of people trying to download its contents slowed the archive to a crawl, and ultimately Gold took it down.
The archive is back now at applearchive.org as an ad-free website organized by decade. The collection, which Gold has dubbed The (Unofficial) Apple Archive, includes a wide range of materials from press photos and keynotes to TV ads and Mac wallpapers. There is even a healthy collection of unreleased materials, like this unreleased social media ad for AirPower.
The site includes search functionality that makes it easier to find something specific among the hundreds of items or browse an entire product category. Images can be downloaded from the archive, but to deter downloading of videos, Gold is using a restrictive embedded Vimeo player. The desire to stop downloads is understandable, but it also means that the videos cannot be embedded by others writing about them elsewhere, which is a shame.
Between a Vimeo Pro account and Squarespace, Gold says the Apple Archive costs him about $456/year. Because the site is ad-free, Gold is accepting donations to help defray the costs here. To learn more about the Apple Archive project and the story behind it, check out Michael Steeber’s interview with Gold on 9to5Mac.
Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac has published an excellent journey down memory lane of Apple’s last decade:
Apple entered the 2010s just as the iPhone began to explode in popularity. The iPhone became the most successful consumer product, ever. Sales surged for another five years and still make up a majority of Apple’s revenues. However, we exit the decade with the iPhone making up a smaller portion of Apple’s business than ever before, as the company diversifies into strong lineups of wearables, tablets and services offerings.
But nothing is a simple straight line. Apple had to graduate through the passing of its founder, juggle relationships with an ever-expanding list of consumer and professional market segments, and adapt to the public attention and scrunity that only comes along as a consequence of being the biggest company in the world. This is a decade in Apple, on one page.
Mayo’s first Apple product was an iMac in 2010, so the timeframe of the decade lines up with his own initial interest in Apple, leading all the way to today, when he’s one of the most prominent Apple reporters. I always enjoy reading Mayo’s perspective on Apple, so it was especially fun getting to hear his personal takes of the biggest moments of the company’s past decade. If you want to spend time basking in the nostalgia of Apple’s last 10 years, Mayo’s story is a great way to do that.
The recent iMac updates brought additional power and flexibility to Apple’s all-in-one desktop, but didn’t redesign or modernize the iMac as we’ve known it for many years.
As the 21.5- and 27-inch machines are here to stay for at least a while longer, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the first of their kind, introduced at a press event in October 2012. You probably can’t tell if the press image above is from 2012 or 2019.
In January 2009, Apple took to the stage at Macworld Expo one final time. The company announced the change a few weeks before the show. Phil Schiller would deliver the keynote. News of Steve Jobs’ medical leave would break just weeks later, one day before the keynote.
All of this cast a weird vibe over the event, and while it was far from Apple’s most exciting keynote, it’s worth revisiting Phil Schiller’s three announcements now, ten years later.
In his keynote introducing the switch to Intel, Steve Jobs introduced the weirdest Mac of all time: the Apple Developer Transition Kit.
After announcing the change, Jobs revealed a secret. The Mac he had been using to demo software all morning actually had a 3.6 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor inside.
Needless to say, the crowd went wild.