tvOS and watchOS Device Summary: April Edition

After updating the popular iOS Device Summary in March, it seemed the beginning of April would be a good time to introduce summaries for devices running the most recently introduced Apple operating systems: tvOS and watchOS.

I hope you find these as useful as I have. •

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

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

Apple Home Page Tabs History — June 2015 Edition

Last fall, I posted A Brief History of Apple Home Page Tabs which showed a visual history of each change in the tabs on the apple.com home page since they were introduced in January 2001. That post also called out some of the major changes and common themes in both interface style and products over the years.

On June 8th, 2015, about 9 months after the previous change, the Apple home page tabs have changed again.

Image of Apple Home Page Tabs

Click for the full-sized image.

With the introduction of the Apple Music service, the iPod and iTunes tabs have been replaced with a single Music tab.

The Apple home page has had iTunes and iPod in a tab for almost twelve years.  The iTunes tab first appeared in September 2003 with iPod being added for a combined iPod + iTunes tab the very next month in October 2003.

They shared a tab together for close to a decade before being broken out into separate tabs in March 2010, where they have remained until being combined into a single Music tab last week.

Music tab on the Apple home page is not entirely new, nor is the term Apple Music.  A Music tab first appeared at the introduction of the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003.*  In addition, posters commemorating the launch listed the site address AppleMusic.com.

That tab lasted until September 2003, when it changed to an iTunes tab.  Time will tell if the Music tab and the Apple Music brand hang in there longer this time around. •

Poster of Gibson ES-335 electric guitar with AppleMusic.com in upper right corner of poster.

Poster of the original AppleMusic.com from 2003.

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!

*The original post listed the addition of the original Music tab in May 2003, which is the earliest archive I found in the Internet Wayback Machine.  However, this change almost certainly went live on the day the iTunes Music Store was introduced on April 28th, 2003. 

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, iCards, 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!