Archive for the ‘minimalist design’ tag
Apple designer Christopher Stringer, the company’s first witness in the case, showed off the designs during his testimony yesterday, ultimately revealing around 40 different iOS device prototypes, The Verge reports. Stringer wasn’t shy with his comments while on the stand, saying that Samsung “ripped off” Apple’s designs.
With the early designs, we can see elements of features that would eventually show up on the iPhone product line, like the bulbous rear of the iPhone 3G(S), and the minimalist design of the iPhone 4. Stringer said that Apple created “hundreds” of different models while designing the iPhone.
It’s a good thing some of these designs never saw the light of day. One of the early iPad designs shows a thick curved bezel on all sides, which presumably would have made it easier to hold, but ultimately makes it look like a a children’s toy.
Finding the right songs to play at the right time is one of life’s great problems, and there’s no shortage of people out there trying to solve it. Case in point: the team from San Francisco-based Gravity Mobile has just brought a revamped version of their mood-conscious Habu music app to iOS after a brief spell of Android exclusivity.
Unlike other conceptually similar apps like Songza that offer up streaming music choices based on times, events, and genres, Habu takes the music you already liked enough to load onto your iDevice and thoughtfully divvies them up into mood-centric playlists.
Getting started with the app requires a fair bit of patience, as it analyzes all of the tracks stored on your device and pings Gracenote’s sizable store of musical information to determine what mood each track belongs too. Your mileage is going to vary depending on just how big your mobile music collection is — it took Habu about 10 minutes to categorize the 600+ tracks stored on my iPhone, though users can fire up their tunes before the process is complete.
The first thing that users will notice when all that categorizing is done is the app’s handsome minimalist design and green 25 circular splotches, each of them representing different moods and emotions — think “easygoing,” “yearning,” “brooding,” “fiery,” and “empowering.” Gravity Mobile wanted to create a strong visual representation of your musical taste, and they based their design off of parent company Gracenote’s MoodGrid.
It’s been retooled and refined in its transition onto a mobile device, and now acts as something of a user’s unique musical fingerprint. The brighter each one of those splotches is, the more tracks have been lumped into its corresponding mood playlist, making it painfully obvious what kind of music the user is into.
A quick tap on any of those segments automatically kicks off a playlist of a user’s sorted tunes, an approach that’s thoughtful but a bit flawed since it’s difficult to tell what a particular mood circle actually is before it starts playing. Instead, Habu seems to want users swiping across that mood matrix to skim through those playlists, which honestly took a little getting used to. Gravity Mobile’s product and design director Jeff Benson mentioned to me that the team was gunning for an interface devoid of clunky menus and extraneous elements, which seems a bit like a double-edged sword here.
As it turns out, it’s a snap to make that mood matrix even more specific. A quick jump into settings allows users to view their musical fingerprint broken down into 100 distinct mood segments, and some of them are terribly granular — as it turns out, most of my music falls into the “energetic anxious” category, with “sensitive/exploring” and “heavy brooding” tracks.
Of course, there’s only so many times you can listen to the same tracks in a playlist before wanting to pull your hair out, which is why Habu has a handy little discovery tab. From there, users can scope out the same mood matrix and pop into each of those different segments to see what other music they may enjoy. Users are rerouted to the track’s entry in iTunes once something catches their fancy, and once that purchase is complete Habu categorizes and pushes it into the right playlist.
Once you get a hang of navigation, Habu for iOS is a neat little app to play with and seems to stand well above its Android counterpart. What really has me excited is what the team has planned down the line — Benson aims to take Habu and introduce a way for it to handle external data (think time, GPS data, speed of movement, event information, and the like).
“We’re looking at taking a lot of data points and creating predictive models,” he said. “That way, if you’re driving to a baseball game, Habu will be able to figure that out and play the appropriate music.” Forget the process of picking a mood playlist; if Benson and his team can figure out how to play what I want to hear when I want to hear it without having to tell an app, we’re looking at a whole new ball game.
A solid chunk of my formative years was spent lurking under tables, peering around corners, and generally tiptoeing around whenever possible. I fancied myself a tiny James Bond (or Weng Weng, considering my heritage) and — strange as it may sound — there’s nothing I wouldn’t have given to have the bitplay BANG! remote controlled lamp help me live out my pre-adolescent fantasies.
And how exactly would that work? Well, putting aside its sleek, minimalist design, the remote to operate the lamp is a little white gun. That’s right, if you’re ever in need of more light, just shoot the lamp to turn it on or off — the gun/remote has a range of just under 50 feet too, so there’s no excuse for leaving that lamp on as you wander throughout the house. Sadly, I haven’t been able to determine whether or not the gun makes that wonderful ricocheting bullet sound when it “fires,” which would just put me over the moon.
Even better, the lampshade automatically tilts itself when “shot” into the off position to complete the effect. I suppose if you wanted to take the boring approach, you could always just use the on/off switch located on the power cord, but where’s the fun in that?
Alas, the lamp comes with a pretty hefty price tag — it’ll set avid spy impersonators back a cool $299, and I imagine that constantly turning the lamp on and off just for kicks may require users to stock up on plenty of extras.
The Evo 4G LTE is one of the best phones to land on Sprint shelves in a while, but that’s not to say it has no competition over at the Yellow carrier. The Galaxy Nexus has propped itself up as the Android phone to beat, while the iPhone 4S is available at the same price: $199.
So what will it take to pass up the iPhone and the GalNex for the latest iteration of the Evo line?
We’ve put together this head-to-head chart to answer just such a question.
As you can see, specs between the Evo and the GalNex are quite similar. The only noticeable differences come by way of UI and design language. If a pure Android experience is what you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend the Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
But there are also some HTC fans out there who happen to love the Sense UI, in which case the Evo would likely be the right choice. The design language is rather strong on the Evo 4G LTE, with soft touch gray, red metal, and shiny black plastic comprising the backside of the handset. The GalNex is a bit more reserved.
And still, there’s the iPhone 4S to consider. Sure, the display is much smaller (3.5-in vs 4.65/.7-in), but the Retina display easily rivals much larger 720p displays. And few can resist the beautiful minimalist design of the iPhone and the intuitive functionality of iOS.
Luckily, the decision is yours and not mine. Enjoy!
Hands-on initial impressions of the Evo 4G LTE can be found here, and a full review will go live in the next couple days. Stay tuned!
There are about a million case vendors out there ready to hook up your iThing with the utmost in protection and style, but very few differentiate in a cool way. This Kickstarter project, however, has really caught my eye with a minimalist design and smart functionality.
A company called FineGrain has recently posted their Bowden and Sheffield cases to Kickstarter with a goal of raising $20,000 by May 22. They’re nearly halfway there.
The Bowden and Sheffield solve the same problem that the Cygnett iPhone case solved for me. The iPad is beautiful, so putting a full-time case on it detracts from one of the tablet’s best qualities: its design. The Bowden and Sheffield keep your iPad safe in transit, and offer up a stand-type functionality so you can prop it up while you type or what have you, but they aren’t meant to stay on your iPad at all times.
They remind me a bit of the DoDo case, looking kind of like a souped up Moleskine for the iPad. But these are made with as many natural materials as possible, making them just as friendly to the Earth as they will be to your precious tablet.
The Bowden is made of aluminum, with your choice of walnut or cherry hardwood edges. You can also choose between brown or black leather, which is magnetically secured to keep your iPad locked in position.
The Sheffield, on the other hand, is a polycarbonate build, again with your choice of hardwood, and covered with grey wool felt. The Sheffield also has a little surprise up its sleeve in that the back doubles as a dry erase board.
Both cases are lined on the inside with ultra-soft felt flocking that goes above and beyond, in that it cleans your screen each time you slide the tablet in and out of the case.
If this sounds like the case for you, just head on over to FineGrain’s Kickstarter page and make a pledge.
Today’s featured workspace comes from reader and Flickr user Carolina di Paola, and it appears to be an audiophile setup from the future. All the glossy white and minimalist design emphasizes the fancy knobs and dials on the technology in the background. Overall, it’s a very cool way to allow the focus go to the technology—where the work’s actually getting done. More »
I try my best to stay away from writing about speaker docks and phone cases. In my experience, they’re all the same, save for a few minor tweaks here and there. But today I stumbled upon a pretty novel little iPhone speaker dock that just so happens to be 100 percent green and uses no electricity whatsoever.
You’re intrigued. I can feel it.
Meet the iBamboo iPhone speaker dock. It’s made from a single piece of bamboo, and holds the iPhone in place as it plays music to amplify the sound. Granted, you won’t get any extra power in the lows or feel that bass keep bumpin’ bumpin’ (this beat goes boom, boom), but you will get some added volume and that’s all the casual listener needs anyways.
Plus, the iBamboo is pretty damn beautiful, in both bamboo and black color flavors. It exists in perfect harmony with the minimalist design of Apple products, and is eco-friendly to boot.
The folks over at iBamboo also make some other cool stuff, including a Bamboo iPhone 4/4S case, as well as a new line of iBamboo speaker docks made of recycled plastic. That line is called the iBamboo Speaker Urban, and while it looks exactly the same in terms of design, it comes in translucent and black plastic rather than Bamboo.
Stock is currently quite low on the iBamboo, so you may have to wait, but the site lists a notification alert system so if you’re really excited about this, I’d recommend signing up.
If you’re still not sold on this things legitimacy, check out this video of the iBamboo speaker doing its thang:
While the idea of skipping Sony’s event to watch a beautiful Barcelona sunset was strangely appealing, we nevertheless come to you from Sony’s press event where the recently divorced company has just (officially) revealed two new handsets, the Xperia P and the Xperia U.
As new members of the Xperia NXT series of smartphones that began with the Xperia S, the P and U share more than a few aesthetic touches. The transparent element that threw us for a bit of a loop as CES can be found on both new handsets, and the (rather handsome) minimalist design language has been carried over as well. The end result is a spate of handsome hardware, not exactly a stretch for the style mavens at Sony.
While the Xperia S clearly occupies the top rung of the Xperia NXT hierarchy, the P instead goes for some mid-range appeal. It sports a striking aluminum unibody design, and a 4-inch Reality Display with White Magic screen tech that allows for great readability in bright daylight. Also onboard is an 8-megapixel camera with Sony’s Fast Capture technology that just so happens to record 1080p video.
Really, the Xperia P feels like a scaled-down version of the Xperia S — smaller display aside, it sports a slightly slower 1.0GHz dual-core chipset. It also plays nice with Sony’s NFC SmartTags, which allows for (among other things) the ability to swap series of settings for use in different situations. Expect it to start shipping in Q2 of this year.
Meanwhile, the pint-sized Xperia U comes as less of a surprise, considering the candid shots of it we’ve seen in weeks past. While it sports a Reality Display much like its bigger brothers, its 3.5-inch screen size may leave some users wanting for more. It also features the same processor as seen in the Xperia P. What it lacks in raw horsepower it tries to make up for with style, as its slated to be available in “two base colors” with the option to swap chins to add another dash of color. Like its big brother, the Xperia U will launch in Q2 2012, though Sony Mobile remains tight-lipped when it comes to pricing.
Need a portable boombox for your smartphone or music player? Industrial design student and Instructables user MTriest has a great, minimalist design that’s easy to carry around. It was designed for the iPhone, but you should be able to adapt it to accommodate any similarly-shaped device with a headphone jack. If you want to give it a try, here’s what you’ll need: More »
If you needed any more proof that the future is already upon us, take a gander at the LG Styler. It looks like a refrigerator at first glance, but opening the door reveals that it isn’t meant for food — rather, it’s your clothes are meant to go inside.
While we first thought the Styler was just a concept design, it turns out that the handsome clothing refresher has been on the market in South Korea for a while now. Still, LG spent these months wisely by making sure the Styler is ready for a stateside debut.
Here’s the Styler in a nutshell — if you have some clothing in need of some gentle de-wrinkling, throw it in the Styler and wait until the 39 minute cycle is complete. While you’re having lunch and reading TechCrunch Gadgets, the Styler will gently steam your clothing to get rid of any unwanted wrinkles and odors. It even has a depository for what our LG rep refers to as “aroma sheets” that imbue your clothing with certain scents, though it also seems like users will be able throw in their own scented materials.
Everything is controlled by a lighted touch UI on the front of the Styler, which actually helps tie together the Styler’s minimalist design, with settings a plenty for different materials and items. The Styler certainly lives up to its namesake, and with any luck it’ll soon pop up in a hotel (or a Home Depot) in the near future.