Apple’s forest is cleverly made to make us forget the trees.
The iPhone 5 has been improved significantly over the previous generation—from its screen to its shell to its dock connector. But most of the tech specs featured by Tim Cook and crew at Apple’s event on Wednesday can be found in other devices by Apple’s competitors. Not one, single device, mind you—that’s a unique feat Apple pulls off with most of its launches. But take a look at the hallmark iPhone 5 features compared to its competition:
"Beijing was such a different city," says Ma Jun, China’s preeminent environmental watchdog, remembering the capital as it was during his childhood. "There were so few cars, I could walk in the middle of the road. In the summer, the streetlamps attracted swirling bugs. I loved those bugs: crickets, praying mantis, all kinds of beetles." The 44-year-old pauses. "I also have a vivid memory of dazzling sunlight coming out of the sky. Today, the sky is different."
Hipstamatic is set to unveil a partnership with Instagram that allows photos taken on the camera app, which enables users to snap professional-looking pictures with stylized films and vintage-era lenses, to be ported directly into Instagram’s network with just one click. It represents the first time Instagram has opened up this platform API to third parties, and marks a move toward letting photos freely flow into Instagram’s network from outside sources.
"When we launched, it was all about Facebook and Flickr and Twitter, and now we’re seeing a huge shift in our user base toward Instagram," says Hipstamatic cofounder and CEO Lucas Buick. "We’ve never been a social networking company, but we clearly benefit from social networks. So this will be the first app outside of Instagram that lets you into their network. That’s pretty cool for us."
Syria: Songs of Defiance, a new film about the violence in Syria airing on Al Jazeera, was filmed by an undercover journalist using an iPhone, letting him get shots the Syrian government won’t allow regular TV journalists.
Today, Paypal announced PayPal Here, a triangle-shaped mobile creditcard-swiping gadget aimed directly at Jack Dorsey’s reader, Square. And, just like Square, they’re aiming to convert customers with the power of their design: They tapped Fuseproject, the firm run by Yves Behar and a darling among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, to create the object.
What if Apple never changed? What if Jobs and company decided that they’d gotten it right—really, really right—with the classic Mac OS? What if every product thereafter would be iterative of its graphic design, with every title bar still rendered in Chicago bitmap font? iOS 86, by designer Anton Repponen, is a conceptual mashup of iOS and the Mac OS of yore. And against the odds of time and technology, the old interface still looks stunning on one of the world’s most advanced smartphones.
“To be honest I don’t really know [why it looks so good],” Repponen tells Co.Design. “Maybe it is because it just looks so clean and simple.”
The Obama campaign worked with Square to develop a custom-built mobile payment app for Obama For America, and gave Fast Company a first look. The app is currently available to staff and will be available in the Store in the near future. See more->
Finally, an app that systematically destroys your self-esteem!
This week, she’s launching WotWentWrong, a web app that solves the “mystery of why promising new romances ended unexpectedly or successful first dates vanished.” Rather than let one-time affairs just fade away—which can cause “lasting damage to someone’s self-esteem and future relationships”—Melnik has created a method for receiving customized feedback about what went wrong. “WotWentWrong is the breakup app for couples who never really broke up,” she says. “We’re providing a socially acceptable way to tie up the loose ends, learn from what happened and improve your dating Zen for the next relationship—no stalking required.”
In September, Aviary launched a free suite of photo-editing tools that could be embedded in any iPhone or Android app, enabling developers to transform their apps essentially into mini-mobile-Photoshops. Today, the New York-based startup unveiled the second version of its software development kit, or SDK, complete with new auto-enhance tools, filters, stickers, a fresh redesign—not to mention plans for monetization.