Sir Jonathan Ive in a Rare Q&A Exchange

Sir Jonathan Ive in a Rare Q&A Exchange

Mar 13

Apple design chief Jony Ive participated in a rare interview with the London Evening Standard, offering his perspective on a number of topics including how the design process works at Apple.

Q: How does a new product come about at Apple?

A: What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. Where you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you make a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea and everything changes — the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It’s a remarkable process.

Ive talks more about how deeply prototyping is ingrained in the design process at Apple, and also discusses how Apple’s approach of creating entirely new categories of products rather than simply improving on existing ones “exercises the skills” of Ive and his team.

It’s not a problem you’re aware of, nobody has articulated a need. But you start asking questions: what if we do this, combine it with that, would that be useful? This creates opportunities that could replace entire categories of device rather than tactically responding to an individual problem. That’s the real challenge and very exciting.

By trying to create new classes of products that people don’t even realize they need until they are unveiled, the process results in incredible freedom and excitement, but significant challenges for the designers.

Time For Another Revolution

Time For Another Revolution

Feb 08

The idea to use electronic books instead of a printed one it is not new, but since the iPad you can see a lot more people making the transition, not only for the convinience to carry more than one book but also because of the interactivity available in some of the books.

Now Apple can make even more appealing to choose an eBook, not only for the reader but also for the graphic designer, with the new free Mac program iBooks Author anyone can create interactive books for the iPad.

iBooks Author fits in right alongside the company’s iWork suite. Like most of Apple’s content apps, Author greets you with a template chooser; you can choose one of six styles (Basic, Contemporary, Modern Type, Classic, Editorial, or Craft).

Templates are easily fiddled with—as with iWork, it’s simple to create and save your own styles. Template backgrounds can be unlocked and deleted, new additions made, all with little complication. Designers especially will love the freedom of the WYSIWYG tools: Images can be inline, floating, or anchored, and while Apple suggests you stick to iBooks-included fonts, it’s easy enough to spruce up the book in other ways.

Importing files from Pages and Word seems to work as well as any import tool might, the styling isn’t always retained, and images may shift, but the text ends up more or less laid out as it should be. A good thing, too, since iBooks Author has no versioning or change-tracking to speak of. I imported a Pages document containing one of our iPhone 4S Superguide chapters; while iBooks Author didn’t keep every bold and italic reference, it included links, page breaks, and images, all where they should have been. Unfortunately, like most other ePub solutions out there, iBooks Author continues the export game—you can’t edit an ePub you’ve already created. You can only design new ones using the app’s proprietary .iba format.

Those who have previously attempted to design ePubs in Pages only to have their hopes dashed when discovering features like “break page after paragraph” were unsupported will be especially pleased by iBooks Author. Many familiar word processor styles and features are available and translate to the iPad, and the process feels far less frustrating than pre-Author solutions (such as attempting to tweak CSS files).

Outside of basic images and text, you can also add interactivity and media to your book using the Widget tool. You can pick one of seven Widgets: Gallery, Media, Review, Keynote, Interactive Image, 3D, or HTML. To do a photo gallery, the program allows you to pick several images and add a title and caption. Styling the look of the gallery is also easy enough for anyone familiar with the iWork Inspector: I just had to tab over to the Graphic section and play around with colors and frames until you got it to your liking.

Other widgets will let you add videos, put in end-of-section quizzes, drop in Keynote animations, add images with interactive captions or 3D models, or insert HTML snippets built using Dashcode (Apple’s old Dashboard widget creator).

When doing any sort of intricate design in iBooks Author, the portrait/landscape buttons are your friends: Images and styles you create in landscape mode may not necessarily carry over, so you’ll need to check your orientations on a fairly regular basis. (You can also check a box to force the book to stay in portrait orientation.) You can also tether your iPad to send live previews of your books directly to your device, to ensure everything’s working properly.

Limited format for export: iBooks Author can only export to the iPad-exclusive .ibooks, PDF, and .txt.
The lack of iPhone support may be my biggest complaint with the software after this brief hands-on. The app exports in three formats: .ibooks, which is a wrapped .epub designed specifically for iPads; PDF; and plain text. Out of curiosity, I tried converting the .ibooks file into an .epub by renaming it and running it through Calibre, but the end result was not pretty. To create a book in the iBooks Author for the iPad and iPhone, you would need to build the book in the app, export it, convert it with Calibre, and then reformat what didn’t translate in Sigil. (The process for making Kindle and Nook versions is similarly elaborate.)

While I understand that this first iteration is designed with textbook publishers in mind—and those big books don’t exactly scale well onto the iPhone’s small screen—for others, this tool becomes yet another “extra” way to build ebooks, rather than a definitive solution. With any luck, subsequent iterations will open up these tools to iPhone books; until then, I’ll continue building ePubs in multiple programs.

iPad-exclusivity aside, those willing to work in iBooks Author should be quite pleased. It’s the best WYSIWYG ebook designer I’ve seen on the market so far, and—formatting problems excluded—incredibly easy to work with. If you have iTunes Producer installed, you can even use the Publish button to send your finished book directly to the publishing process; you’ll still need an ISBN and an iBookstore sales account to proceed, but it’s a nice link to unify the process.

We’ll have a full review of iBooks Author soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have any questions, be sure to sound off in the comments: I’m happy to continue poking around to try and answer them.

Apple’s Celebration of Steve Jobs

Apple’s Celebration of Steve Jobs

Oct 27

Apple's Celebration of Steve Jobs

Last Wednesday, Apple held a company-wide memorial for its late co-founder, Steve Jobs. It was a moving celebration, Apple has decided to share it with the world, posting a video recording of the event to the Web site. It’s worth a watch for anyone interested in Jobs, his legacy and his breadth of vision.

Steve Jobs’ Authorized Biography to Debut October 24th

Steve Jobs’ Authorized Biography to Debut October 24th

Oct 08

Following the sad news regarding the death of Steve Jobs, Simon & Schuster has bumped up the release of Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs to October 24th. The book had previously been scheduled to be released on November 21st. The title is currently available for preorder from Amazon in hardcover form, in a digital Kindle edition, as well as an audiobook.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The book, which was fully authorized by Steve Jobs and is based on over 40 interviews with Jobs and interviews with over 100 of his friends and family members, was already of strong interest to Apple fans and has seen a massive increase in demand since yesterday, registering as the #1 selling book at Amazon with a sales gain on the order of 40,000% over the past 24 hours.



Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Oct 07

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

It was a shock to hear of Steve Jobs’ death in my iPad after traveling on the Yangtze River and I read about it a day later, since you don’t have the possibility to use the 3G option to get on the internet here in China.

But what can I say that was not said all over the news?

The only thing I can tell you is that his ideas change the way I worked… it was a revolution for me designing my first page using a Macintosh Classic in 1988 with the programs Aldus PageMaker and Illustrator88… even without the hard drive we have now (to use it you had to put the old diskette) I could see it would change the Press industry. It was a huge step from the manual paste-up and primitive typesetting.

Mac Classic

But Steve Jobs went a lot further, changing several other industries, changing the way you listen and buy music, how to create animated movies (Pixar), showed us what a Smartphone should always be, an the last of his creation: the iPad.

Traveling with the iPad was a great experience (even more if you get 3G connection in the country you are visiting), you can consult maps, find tourist information, etc…

And he manage to change the Press industry again, not only selling magazines, newspapers and books to read in any of the iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) in the iBooks application, but also through other applications created for those devices.

My kids love to read any story in the iPad, because of its interactivity. It’s fun and easy…

It is very sad knowing that we lost Steve Jobs, there aren’t many like him in history.

I don’t know if Apple will remain creating those amazing products, the only thing I know is what will be my next computer: a MacBook Pro.

Thanks Steve for changing our lives…

P.S.: If you would like to share your thoughts with Apple, memories and condolences, please email

Adobe will Support Apple Newsstand

Adobe will Support Apple Newsstand

Sep 14


Adobe announced that its Digital Publishing Suite will support Apple’s forthcoming Newsstand feature on iOS 5. Newsstand is the latest driver of digital subscriptions to iOS 5, offering easy access to content and reducing download time.

The publishing software by Adobe will help publishers create digital editions of their magazines and newspaper applications that automatically deliver content to the Newsstand application on iOS devices. Additionally, it will enable publishers to better merchandise their content through Newsstand push notifications (Push notification is an apps alert that iPhone and iPod touch owners get for content updates, messages, and other events) and icon covers of the latest issues displayed on its shelf.

A number of publishers including Conde Nast and Reader’s Digest have utilized Adobe’s publishing tools to bring their content to the iPad, making Newsstand the one-stop digital platform for their latest issues and accelerating magazine subscription on tablet devices.

Moreover, Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite is not restricted to iPads alone. It can also be used for the creation and introduction of digital editions on Google’s Android tablets and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Playbooks.

Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite will be available to publishers soon after Apple releases iOS 5 and the Newsstand application.

Authorized Steve Jobs Biography

Authorized Steve Jobs Biography

Sep 01

I think it’s fit to talk about Steve Jobs after my vacations.

I’ve started to work with a Mac in 1988 using a Mac Classic. I still remember what a revolution it was…

Since then, Steve Jobs changed the way we do many things. Not only in technology, but also in the music and film industry. We have to wait and see how things progresses after he resign as Apple CEO. Meanwhile, we have to wait just a little bit to get his authorized biography by Water Isaacson until Nov. 21, 2011. The title is currently available for preorder from Amazon in both hardcover form, as well as in a digital Kindle edition.

iPad Companion Apps for Photoshop: Eazel, Nav, Color Lava

iPad Companion Apps for Photoshop: Eazel, Nav, Color Lava

May 12

Adobe has released its first three Photoshop CS5 companion apps for the iPad. The apps were originally announced in April as a demonstration of what could be accomplished with their new Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit.

The three apps include:

Adobe Eazel ($4.99)

With Adobe Eazel, you can use your iPad and your fingertips to paint beautiful works of art. Paint across your entire iPad screen, and easily access the tools you need. Send your artwork directly to Photoshop CS5 from any locationall you need is a network connection between your iPad and computer. Or do all your painting in the app, and share via email.

Adobe Nav ($1.99)

With Adobe Nav and a network connection between your iPad and computer, you can customize the Photoshop CS5 toolbar on iPad to easily access the tools you use most. Browse, reorder, view, and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop documents on iPad. Tap a document on iPad to make it the active document in Photoshop CS5. Disconnect from the network and use iPad to easily share files in person with others.

Adobe Color Lava ($2.99)

With Adobe Color Lava, you can use your fingertips to mix colors on your iPad and create custom swatches and five-swatch themes. Instantly access them in Photoshop CS5all you need is a network connection between your iPad and computer. Or use the app wherever inspiration strikes, and then bring your colors into Photoshop CS5 when you’re connected. Share colors via email, too.

Meanwhile, 3rd party developers are also working on their own apps to take advantage of the new Adobe SDK. Adobe Photoshop CS5 version 12.0.4 (released last week) or later is required.

InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad

InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad

Mar 21

If you are interesting in create eBooks in EPUB format for Kindle and iPad, have a look in the tutorial “ – InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad” from Anne-Marie Concepción. It shows publishers and designers how to use the software they already use to create print books and apply it to the emerging eBook market. The course shows how to prepare existing InDesign files for optimal EPUB and Kindle conversion, as well as how to design new projects for a dual print/eBook output, and apply professional text formatting, add links, and include search engine-friendly metadata. Instructions are also included for validating EPUB and Kindle files and setting up accounts at the major ebook distribution channels, including the Apple iBookstore, as well as selling ebooks directly to readers.

Using Freehand in Snow Leopard

Using Freehand in Snow Leopard

Jan 24

If you need to use Freehand in the latest Apple operating system (Snow Leopard), sure you’ve found that the old Macromedia Freehand will not work. The problem occurs because Freehand software is incompatible with the latest operating system. Luckily for us, there is a solution for this problem, you just have to download this file and place it on Hard Drive / Library / Application Support / Macromedia / and ready, the lifelong Freehand will work like a charm.