Apple Home Page Tabs History—September 2015 Edition

The year 2015 has been a busy one in Apple Home Page Tab history.

It’s been over a decade since there have been this many changes to Apple home page tabs in a single year.

Image of Apple home page tabs

Click for full-sized image

The only other time Apple home page tabs changed three times in a calendar year was back in 2003.

All three of the home page tab changes that year revolved around the introduction of the iTunes Music Store. The Switch tab for the Mac Switcher ad campaign changed to Music with the introduction of iTMS in April 2003. This lasted five months when iTunes replaced Music. This lasted only a month when the tab became iPod + iTunes.

There were no visual style changes to the tabs in 2003, just repeated content changes to that single tab as Apple adjusted how it presented its new foray into digital music to the world.

The changes of 2003 came full circle this past June, when the iTunes and iPod tabs combined to become a Music tab with the introduction of the new Apple Music service—but even bigger changes were right around the corner.

August 2015: Store to Shopping Bag

In August 2015, a redesigned apple.com combined the shopping experience of store.apple.com with the product information found on the main Apple site.

With the online store no longer a standalone site, the venerable Store tab—a fixture in the Apple home page tab lineup since the very beginning—had outlived its usefulness.

The Apple home page Bag icon containing a blue dot to show it has contents

Shopping Bag is the first tab to show state.

For its entire tenure, the Store tab was the constant companion of the Apple tab, its steady commerce-oriented neighbor to the right.

The new Shopping Bag tab is the logical successor to the Store tab, but it is not its replacement in either location or behavior. 1

The Apple and Shopping Bag tabs are now the first and last items serving as bookends for the rest of the home page tabs.

In terms of behavior, clicking the Shopping Bag tab displays a menu of shopping-related choices, similar to the ‘shopping cart’ on most e-commerce sites.  It is the first Apple home page tab to indicate state, showing a blue dot if the user has items in their bag. 2

A New, Responsive Design

The updated apple.com also included visual and functional changes site-wide and to the tab bar in particular.

The tab bar became translucent black with underlying page content visible beneath, a refinement to the visual style introduced in September 2014. 3

The updated website design is also responsive, with the tab bar changing appearance based on page width. For a width 768 and above, the tab bar shows all of its tabs.

The Apple home page tab bar adjusted for narrow width shows a menu button to access other tabs, a centered Apple item, and the Bag item on the right.

The responsive design hides most tabs and adds a menu tab when viewed at narrow widths.

For narrower widths, only three items are visible. The Apple tab appears in the center. The Shopping Bag tab is on the right edge.  A new menu tab is on the left edge. All other tabs are presented as menu items displayed by clicking or tapping this new tab.

In the narrow layout there are other minor changes—the tab bar becomes slightly taller and the Apple and Shopping Bag icons slightly larger.

September 2015: TV no longer a hobby

In September 2015, Apple announced the fourth generation Apple TV with Siri Remote and a tvOS SDK for developers to create apps for the new device. Along with that announcement, a new TV tab was added.

This tab was a long time coming. Apple TV was first announced under its code name iTV nine years prior, in the fall of 2006. For many years, Apple referred to Apple TV as a ‘hobby’, indicating that it was not a core product such as Mac or iPhone. History indicates that hobbies do not warrant a tab on the Apple home page.

So, with the announcement of the new Apple TV and the addition of the TV tab, it seems TV is no longer a hobby for Apple. •

Since the last update, I’ve been cited as the ‘unofficial Apple home page tabs historian’ in articles at The Loop and Six Colors.  Here are a few past articles on this topic that you might enjoy:


The name Bag was the label Apple originally used in the tab’s web accessibility ‘aria-label’ tag. As of September 29, 2015, this appears to have changed to Shopping Bag

Some earlier tab bar designs would indicate selection state, darkening to indicate which section of the site you were visiting. The shopping bag is the first tab that carries state or status independent of selection.

The images used in the A Brief History of Apple Home Page Tabs graphic are screen captures of the tab bar over a white background

 

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. 

Introducing Backtrace

Album Art for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints Album 'Backtrace'

We are beyond thrilled to announce the release of Backtrace,
the debut album from James Dempsey and the Breakpoints.

It feels great for this to be finally out in the world.

We hope you love every track.

And if you do, please don’t keep it to yourself.

We hope you spread the word.

(tweet, facebook, review and blog like the wind!)

Now available for download worldwide via iTunes

Download on iTunes

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!

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.

(Interested in the soon-to-be-released James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album?
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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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Breakpoint Jam Atlanta—Virtual Fireworks and iPhone Slide Guitar

The fall tour of the Breakpoint Jam wrapped up at CocoaConf Atlanta with some memorable moments including some iPhone slide guitar and a newly-minted Breakpoint.

Amidst bursts of virtual fireworks, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking was formally inducted into the Breakpoints.

Daniel joins the fabled group after his stellar performances on slide-advance keyboard as a Conditional Breakpoint during jams across the country this past year.  Congratulations Daniel, thank you and welcome!

Brandon Alexander (@balexander) of Black Pixel brought along his electric guitar and his Mesa Boogie to amp up the jam more than the usual acoustic performance.

The ever-versatile Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards played guitar, sang backing vocals and played percussion on the cajón—all in his trademark rockstar glasses.

Also sitting in was Conditional Breakpoint Rusty Zarse (@levous) of LeVous and the Atlanta iOS Developers group.  On The Liki Song, Rusty improvised a slide guitar, with his electric in his lap and the edge of his iPhone as the slide. Never have laser-chamfered edges sounded so good!

The performance in Atlanta was the final Breakpoint Jam for the year. We had a lot of fun and would like to thank everyone for the support.  The jams will continue in the new year—we hope to see you at one! •

We are planning Breakpoint Jams at CocoaConf in Chicago, Washington DC, San Jose and Raleigh. Come join the fun and check out the early-bird pricing.

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Some Sweet Atlanta Jam

Breakpoint Jam Boston — Fall Tour Continues

On an October evening conveniently situated between World Series games, the fall Breakpoint Jam tour continued at CocoaConf Boston.

James Dempsey sings while Daniel Pasco, Ben Scheirman and Jonathan Penn play guitar for the Breakpoint Jam at CocoaConf Boston 2013

The Breakpoints were out in full force for this jam playing a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

The evening was also a reunion of old friends with composer Tony Angeles dropping by to sing backing vocals as a Conditional Breakpoint. James and Tony sang together at Penn.

The fall tour rolls on to its last jam of the season this Friday night at CocoaConf Atlanta.

Thanks for all the support so far—we’ve been having fun and hope you have been too! •

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Breakpoint Jam Columbus — Fall Tour Begins

The fall Breakpoint Jam tour kicked off last week at CocoaConf Columbus.

A mix of full and conditional breakpoints joined in to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd.

Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards was inducted as a full Breakpoint following his stellar performance at the Live Near WWDC 2013 show in June.  In Columbus, he donned some shades and jammed on guitar and backing vocals.

The jam also included a few Conditional Breakpoints—folks who jam in the pickup band when they happen to be in town.

Nathan Sjoquist (@nathansjoquist) was on hand, taking a break from iOS development for some guitar and backing vocals.

And finally, on the all-important slide-advance keyboard was keynote speaker extraordinaire, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking.

The Breakpoint Jam fall tour rolls on to CocoaConf Boston later this month and then CocoaConf Atlanta in November.

Thanks for all the support in Columbus!  And if we’re coming to a town near you, I hope you can join us in Boston and Atlanta!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Almost Dropped My iPhone Available on iTunes

Cover art for 'Almost Dropped My iPhone' by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints. A black and white photo showing an iPhone in midair.

Almost Dropped My iPhone, the second single by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, is now available in worldwide release on iTunes.

Inspired by actual events, Almost Dropped My iPhone captures the full emotional range of this modern tale of momentary loss and redemption.

Listen to an iTunes preview of this fun song that gives voice to an experience shared by millions of people around the world.

Here’s what people are saying about Almost Dropped My iPhone:

“★★★★★ – Fun song about that instant of observed panic when your digital life flashes before your eyes.  Encompasses coffeehouse acoustic folk to barroom guitar licks in just under 3 minutes.  Go ahead, give it a try.  It’ll put a smile on your face, and you might catch yourself humming it later.”
Common Rob

“★★★★★ – Who among us hasn’t been there? James Dempsey and the Breakpoints capture the moment beautifully, with the musical playfulness we’ve come to expect. A great and worthy addition to your Breakpoints collection!”
illium

Almost Dropped My iPhone is available on iTunes.
For more details about the song, liner notes are available here.