A Brief Visual History of Apple Home Page Tabs

This week brought announcements of new iPhones, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch, as well as the quiet departure of the iPod classic, the last remaining click-wheel product in the iPod lineup.  It also brought something that happens much less often than new product announcements—changes to the look and lineup of tabs at the top of the page at apple.com.

We can see a few different things by looking at how these have changed over the last fourteen years.

Apple Home Page Tab History

Click for the full-sized image

First, we see how the user interface has evolved.  The tabs begin with the natty pinstripes and bubblicious tabs of the original Aqua interface, appearing on the home page immediately after Aqua was introduced in January 2000.  This was the first production use of Aqua elements by Apple—the release of Mac OS X, 10.0 was over a year away.  Through the next fourteen years, we see the designs become simpler as the candy look becomes more subtle before disappearing entirely.  With the removal of dividing lines between items, the original tabs have finally morphed into a simple menu bar.

This week’s update also ended the reign of Lucida Grande as the font of choice—the honor now belongs to the Apple variant of Myriad.

The content of the tabs shows an interesting progression as well.  The Apple logo, Store, and Support tabs are a common thread throughout with Search appearing surprisingly late in the game in 2007.  These unchanging outer items are like bookends around the changing world of Apple over time.

For the first seven years, the inner tabs mainly focused on software (QuickTime, Mac OS X, iTunes) and different incarnations of online services (iReview, iCard, iTools which became .Mac).  The first hardware to appear on a tab was iPod, but it had to share a tab with iTunes for almost seven years before getting a tab of its own.

With the release of the iPhone in 2007, the tabs became more hardware-centric, with Mac and iPhone getting their own tabs.  With the introduction of the iPad in early 2010, the center of the tabs became all hardware lines, with the exception of iTunes (both software and a service).

And, of course, this week Watch joins the lineup. It seems a little odd not to use the full product name Apple Watch or <Apple logo>Watch, especially since Watch is both a noun and a verb.

Although the appearance and focus of the tabs have changed over time, it is interesting to note that almost all tabs name something that has been an enduring part of the Apple ecosystem (the exceptions being iReview, iCards, and the Switch campaign).  Details may have changed—iTools begat .Mac begat MobileMe begat iCloud, Mac OS X is now OS X—but there are some very consistent through lines.  Here’s hoping the Apple Watch is one of those through lines for a long time to come.•

I used the Internet Wayback Machine to help track these changes down. If I’ve missed any changes, please feel free to let me know!

iOS Device Summary: iPhone 6 Update

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary to include the new iPhone 6 models.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for the rationale behind the summary as well as PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

At $199, the 16 GB 5th generation iPod touch is still the most affordable compact iOS 8 device.  It allows you to test on the slowest processor supported by iOS 8, with a screen resolution shared by the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s. There is, however, no iPod touch that provides a less expensive way of testing the new screen resolutions on a device.

Of the two new iPhone 6 models, the iPhone 6 Plus seems to be the more important device to have on hand for testing, with both a new scale factor and a greater likelihood of providing a modified user interface to take advantage of all that lovely screen real estate. •

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

Check out the iOS Device Summary page to learn more and download printable PDFs of the summary.

An Eclectic Breakpoint Jam in Columbus

The 2014 Fall Tour kicked off at CocoaConf Columbus with the most eclectic collection of instruments ever assembled for a Breakpoint Jam.

It was a night for newcomers to the Breakpoint Jam.

Every breakpoint in the house was conditional except for veteran Breakpoint Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking. Daniel, fresh from the latest revision of his new book, A Swift Kickstart, delivered a fantastic keynote before working his slide-advance magic.

Eric Knapp (@ejknapp) of Madison College introduced the crowd to the Chapman Stick playing a solo song before giving familiar James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs a new twist.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Have you tried the Breakpoint Jam?

CocoaConf mainstay Will LaFrance (@wjlafrance) made his debut as a Conditional Breakpoint on classical guitar.

Reprising his initial performance in Washington DC last March, Mark Dalrymple (@borkware) of Big Nerd Ranch showcased his talents on trombone on Modelin’ Man and vocals on The Liki Song.

Josh Smith (@kognate), co-author of the recently-released Build iOS Games with SpriteKit, arrived at the conference in the midst of transporting a xylophone across state lines, giving Josh a chance to join in the jam as well.

Thanks to everyone in Columbus, we had a great time and hope you did as well!

The Fall Tour continues in at CocoaConf Las Vegas in September, where James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will make their Vegas debut! •

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iOS Device Summary: iOS 8 Update

I’ve updated my iOS Device Summary for iOS 8 with the info Apple has publicly posted.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page for the rationale behind the summary plus PDF downloads—including optimized files for printing.

A few things to note:
  • The iPhone 4 is the only device that supports iOS 7 that will not support iOS 8
  • At $199, the 16 GB, 5th generation iPod touch is the most affordable compact iOS 8 device
  • At $299, the 16 GB, WiFi iPad mini is the most affordable iOS iPad

Chart depicting iOS devices by screen size, processor and supported OS version

Update 6/26/14: Updated to reflect new price of 16 GB iPod touch.

Check out the iOS Device Summary page to learn more and download PDFs of the summary.

Breakpoints Recap WWDC 2014

There was no WWDC ticket for me this year, but it was still a very enjoyable and busy week for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints. Here are some of the highlights from last week in San Francisco.

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NeXTEVNT Cartoon Art Museum Fundraiser

In its third year, this fundraiser celebrates the heritage and history of NeXT, featuring black hardware as well as OPENSTEP and NeXTSTEP running in virtual machines. Even more fascinating is meeting up with folks who lived and breathed this platform from its early days—building apps with the frameworks that would evolve into Cocoa and Cocoa Touch.

As part of the evening’s entertainment, we played a short set of songs in support of the Cartoon Art Museum. If you are a fan of any sort of comics, cartoons, animations and the like, check it out next time you are in San Francisco. If you couldn’t attend the event during WWDC, you can still donate or join as a member.

 

LIVE near WWDC 2014

We had a great time on Wednesday night at 50 Mason Social House. The house was packed as Breakpoints from six different cities in five different time zones across two continents took to the stage to perform a show chock-full of Cocoa-inspired songs.

The evening served up an acoustic guitar sampler with a flight of Breakpoint guitarists—Nathan Eror (@neror) of Martian Craft, Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Cocoa Manifest, and Ben Scheirman (@subdigital) of NSScreencast.

The show marked the debut of The Breakpoint Horns with Sam Davies (@iwantmyrealname) of Shinobi Controls on trombone and Daniel Pasco (@dlpasco) of Black Pixel on trumpet playing on Modelin’ Man.

(Any tenor sax players out there for next year? Please let me know.)

The talented Mr. Pasco also played electric guitar on that modern tale of momentary loss and redemption, Almost Dropped My iPhone. Conditional Breakpoint Uli ‘Object Alloc’ Kusterer (@uliwitness) of Elgato joined in with The Liki Song chorus. And of course, slide-advance keyboard legend Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) was on hand to keep that space bar hoppin’.

Thank you to all of the Breakpoints and also a big thanks to: Luke Scholefield (@lukescholefield), Adam Tow (@atow) and Rae and for taking photos and video; Daniel Steinberg () for recording sound off the board; and James White (@thecolourfool) for running the merch table.

(For more fantastic photos of the show—check out Adam Tow’s photo journal.)

Finally, an enormous thanks to everyone who came out to the show — your support is what keeps this going.  We had a great time this year and hope you all did too!

 

A Look Back at Alt Conf

On Friday, I presented A Look Back—the closing session for Alt Conf 2014.  With the surprise announcement of Swift earlier in the week, the talk took a look back to the beginning of the Objective-C era at Apple, tracing how technologies of that time have evolved into the environment we use today.  To accompany this look back, the talk also featured the first public preview of tracks from the soon-to-be-released James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album.

James Dempsey at podium with blurred hands applauding

James wraps up AltConf 2014 with ‘A Look Back’
Photo by Daniel Doubrovkine (@dblockdotorg)

Thank You

The technology announcements of WWDC 2014 will have repercussions for us as iOS and Mac developers for many years to come.

Beyond learning about new technologies, the week gives us a chance to gather together and talk, to share ideas, some laughs and perhaps one too many drinks.

Thank you so very much to everyone who came out to see the talk and performances. Your support and feedback is greatly appreciated and means a lot to me—it was fantastic to meet so many folks this year.

With WWDC 2014 now in the past, it is time to turn my attention to finishing up the album and getting it out into the world.  Someone we are all familiar with said “Real artists ship” and that is my next order of business. •

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Close Enough To Taste It

This week I reached a milestone that means a great deal to me.

On Tuesday, I finished recording the final lead vocal for the long-awaited James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album.

There is still work to be done—some backing tracks to record, final mixing and mastering of each song—but all the lead vocal and core instrumental recording is now complete.

This album is the realization of a dream fourteen years in the making.

As you might imagine, all of this has me on a sort of euphoric emotional tilt, bouncing from joy to gratitude to relief to excitement and even fear.

Joy

There’s a real sense of joy towards the end of a long journey when the destination is finally in sight. An exuberant psychic “Land Ho!” rings out through your entire being.

This journey began with writing that very first song fourteen years ago.  I had always hoped to get the chance to record my material and record it well. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to take the time to produce a fully realized version of each song.

Listening to the rough mixes, I am incredibly happy with the results!  I usually reserve my exclamation points for tweets and exhortations, but wow!  I am absolutely beaming! I can’t wait to get these tracks out into the world!

Gratitude

I am very grateful to everyone who lent their time and talents to the album. Having the privilege of working with some wildly talented musicians on this effort has been humbling—as has been witnessing them add their own magic to the songs I’ve written.

A dozen or so musicians have contributed to the album. Among them are three who perform on the lion’s share of the tracks: Gordie Freedman (@modenaboy) on guitar, Darren Minifie (@minofifa) on bass and our producer Russell Bond (@russell_bond) doing all sorts of percussion and drums.

Hearing the tracks, it’s often the little things that make me smile the most—a guitar riff from Gordie, a subtle bit of bass from Darren, a drum fill laid in by Russell.  For a sampling, you can check out their handiwork on our single, Almost Dropped My iPhone, but just wait until you hear what they’ve done on the rest of the album!

Relief

This milestone also brings with it a sigh of relief—there were a few times when it felt like this project might stop dead in its tracks.

When we first went into the studio back in early 2012, I was very excited to have found a great studio and a great recording engineer and producer: The Annex Studios and Russell Bond. Both already had a long and storied past with Apple and the Mac. (Read more about them here)

Big honkin’ console in Studio A at The Annex Studio

Big honkin’ console in Studio A at The Annex Studios
Photo by Adam Tow

Three months into recording, the studio building’s owner dealt a harsh blow.  The building was sold and The Annex Studios had thirty days to vacate the premises.  After a nearly 40-year history, the beautiful space where we were working on the album was suddenly no more.

Our first single, The Liki Song, was the last thing recorded at The Annex Studios before it was dismantled.

This derailed progress on the album, but much more disheartening was watching our friend Russell go through this major upheaval in business and life. And now, a big part of the relief I feel is knowing that he emerged from that tumultuous time with his well-being intact.

As for the album, after a hiatus, we resumed recording at HowlingPoint Studios, high up in the Santa Cruz mountains.  This is Russell’s in-home studio, a much more intimate space. Gone is the giant mixing console, but now Julius the studio cat keeps us company while we make our music.

I know that I won’t breath that last sigh of relief until the album is up on iTunes, but this week I’m feeling great.

Julius the Studio Cat, an orange tabby

Julius the studio cat, listening to the meow mix.

Excitement and Fear

It’s an understatement to say that this week I’ve been experiencing a lot of excitement and a healthy dose of fear.

This time of year always gets my adrenaline pumping—anticipating the barrage of WWDC announcements, prepping for the big show on Wednesday night (details here), looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

And now, knowing how close we are getting to release throws all of that into overdrive.  I’m so excited by how it is progressing, it’s hard to contain myself!

But there’s also that fear.  Over the years I’ve written a bunch of code and now I’ve written and recorded a bunch of songs.  What I’ve never done before is promote an album.

My fear is that I will not succeed in getting the word out to the wide world of iOS and Mac developers who might enjoy the fun of this album.  I am very open to thoughts, suggestions or any opportunities to spread the message.  Feel free to tweet them at me or, better yet, email me at info@jamesdempsey.net.

And, of course, when the album is released, if you enjoy it, please don’t keep it to yourself. Let other developers in on the fun.

Almost a Wrap

If you’ve enjoyed these songs in the past, I ask that you please join our mailing list so we can let you know when we cross that finish line and the album is released. I’m really looking forward to getting these songs out into the world, and I think you’re going to enjoy how this all turns out. •

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WWDC After Dark

When James Dempsey and the Breakpoints play live near WWDC, sometimes things progress beyond the sweet sounds of nerdy, nerdy music.

Last year, a new event appeared on the conference schedule—WWDC After Dark. A little investigation turned up some interesting results, which, judging from the audience response, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

As we get ready for this year’s big show on Wednesday night, June 4th (Full Show Details Here), here’s a little bit of fun from last year’s concert.

With announcer Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) and Daniel Pasco (@dlpasco) on guitar, please enjoy WWDC After Dark. •

Come out to Live near WWDC 2014 on Wed, June 4th at 7 PM!
Bring your friends, we’d love to see you!

View Full Show Details and Map Here

ics file Download event to your calendar.

 
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