Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 9th Sep 2005 10:46 UTC, submitted by Jonathan Hohle
Mac OS X "Until yesterday, there were 4 different variations of the Aqua theme used by Apple for OS X: the standard Aqua theme, the new Platinum theme, the much distained Brushed Metal theme, and the funky Woody theme. Commentators have pointed out on more then one occasion that while Apple's Human Interface Guidelines has guidelines for which theme to use where, even Apple disregards those rules and uses whatever theme some unknown source in the company chooses."
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Its nice
by tiiim on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:07 UTC
tiiim
Member since:
2005-09-02

Im a mac user and the new iTunes theme is very nice if i were apple i use this theme more and get rid of that annoying brush metal look!

Unless Apple are doing a grander scale of things and using different themes for different type of apps? Who knows what they are doing. But no doupt in 10.5 Apple will turn everything on its head once again.

Either way if Apple do get rid of the brush metal look that would be great, well done on the new iTunes UI though much nicer.

Reply Score: 1

bad
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:12 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm not so fond of using 6 different themes (its pro apps also have a seperate theme). Tiger looks far less polished than Panther due to this (Tiger saw the introduction of that Plastic theme, ie. in Mail).

Personally, the themes don't look bad or anything (except the new one in iTunes). It's just that I value consistency a great deal, and it's that consistency that I appreciated about OS X-- it now looks as if Apple is randomly using themes everywhere, without a logical explanation behind it.

Too bad, I hope they get their act together on this.

PS: I detest the new look of iTunes 5. It's ugly.

Reply Score: 5

RE: bad
by jeremy on Fri 9th Sep 2005 14:38 UTC in reply to "bad"
jeremy Member since:
2005-07-13

I agree 100% on that the new iTunes theme is ugly. I would throw in the new Mail.app theme too. The old Mail.app, even with it's crazy draw to access folders was better....

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bad
by Dually on Fri 9th Sep 2005 23:37 UTC in reply to "RE: bad"
Dually Member since:
2005-07-26

I kinda miss the draw for folders... wish I had the option to turn that back on. Wish I had the option to change the themes for the apps just 2 or three styles would be fine.

As for the many faces bit... sure some apps are different in their overall skinning but all have similar functions and placement and layout like you would expect. Easy to use and easy to see what you want using exposes since they all have just a bit of a difference in their skinning. If they looked too close to each-other it may increase the difficulty of differentiating the window you want to access.

Reply Score: 1

RE: bad
by Gryzor on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:05 UTC in reply to "bad"
Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

PS: I detest the new look of iTunes 5. It's ugly.

I love it; does that make me more evil?

;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: bad
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 23:31 UTC in reply to "bad"
Anonymous Member since:
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Ugly? You clowns have got to be kidding. The new iTunes look is almost sheer perfection. Clean and sleek. Jeez, I bet you think the Honda Element is a nice looking vehicle.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bad
by junior on Sat 10th Sep 2005 11:27 UTC in reply to "bad"
junior Member since:
2005-07-07

I disagree completely. The previous iTunes skins look downright coarse compared to the iTunes 5 UI. If this is the way Apple is going I'm all for it. Very and slick.

Also, I don't see why so many people have a problem with different themes for different apps (as long as it's tasteful of course). Consistency? It's consistently refined.

And I'm not an apologist either, I hate Apple for a number of things, but I regard their UI designers and UI policy very highly.

Reply Score: 1

Does it matter?
by MikeGA on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:14 UTC
MikeGA
Member since:
2005-07-22

Does it matter that much what theme Apple goes with for their applications? I find that despite the different looks of various Apple apps, they are still generally fairly easy to get to grips with. Most of the time it's a cosmetic difference between the apps, rather than one in behaviour.

Personally I preferred the old iTunes look, but meh, what I am going to do about it. I was also hoping for more from iTunes 5, ideally a complete re-write in Cocoa, but I'm out of luck ;) Also, I'd like to see better music sharing features - i.e. the ability to control your library from another copy of iTunes, not simply play tracks from it.

What really annoys me though sometimes, is the proliferation of small applications by various Freware/Shareware developers where they've used the Brushed Metal look simply because they think it makes their app look more professional. Generally it doesn't, and instead makes it clunky and awkward to use.

Reply Score: 2

Apple is not perfect I guess
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:14 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I'd prefer one theme for all apps, that I can adjust from a preference panel. But I don't use OSX so what do I know?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Apple is not perfect I guess
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:35 UTC in reply to "Apple is not perfect I guess"
Anonymous Member since:
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I am with you. If all my apps can be changed to a different type depending on the model mac I am using. On my TI-Book The new iTunes theam and brushed metal looks good and fits well. But if I had an iMac the Plastic would look better. if I had an older G4 PowerMac, or a G3 iMac Aqua would work better. The theams are fine I would rather have them consistent.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Apple is not perfect I guess
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:25 UTC in reply to "Apple is not perfect I guess"
Anonymous Member since:
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>Apple is not perfect I guess

How dare you?

Reply Score: 0

I don't see what the fuss is all about
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 11:26 UTC
Anonymous
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I've never figured out why anyone cared that apple used different themes in different apps. The themes don't clash and generally the apps look nice. In fact I very much like the variation.

Besides, most of the time I am using firefox or other thrid party products so I wouldn't get this vaunted consistancy anyway. At least the variation in themes makes for a consistantly heterogenous enviornment rather than makeing my other apps stick out and look strange.

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

've never figured out why anyone cared that apple used different themes in different apps.

Probably because one of the advantages of the MacOS used to be a consistent look-and-feel across applications. And it might be seen as a bit hypocritical, as Apple has a history of threatening legal action against people who making themes/theming programs for OS X.

Besides, most of the time I am using firefox or other thrid party products so I wouldn't get this vaunted consistancy anyway. At least the variation in themes makes for a consistantly heterogenous enviornment rather than makeing my other apps stick out and look strange.

I'm not so sure if consistent inconsistency is a good thing.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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"Apple has a history of threatening legal action against people who making themes/theming programs for OS X."

Got links for that? I'm intrigued.

Reply Score: 0

the real point
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:03 UTC
Anonymous
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The real point with Mail and now iTunes 5 is that Apple is obviously experimenting with the user interface.

The have to completely ditch parts of Aqua and brushed metal, in order to be ready when Long-delay-horn aka Windows Vista comes out.

Vista wil look 2004 whereas Mac OS X 10.4 / 10.5 will look 2006 by the time it's 2006.

Reply Score: 0

RE: the real point
by tiiim on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:36 UTC in reply to "the real point"
tiiim Member since:
2005-09-02

I agree Apple are up to something and i think by the time 10.5 is out we will see a bit more of a revamp GUI.

MS are just playing around with their GUI at the moment and when the final look is released then we will see. Apple have had many years with the 21st century look, while XP was 98 with colours. Apple's GUI is 21st century and is useable. While with Vista MS are finally trying to catch up into the year 2000 in a very short period of time. Apple have years to know what people like and what they dont like. So when 10.5 comes out it will be more pratical in the working enviorement than bloated Vista.

Notice: MS have just discovered transparent Windows. Apple have ditched a lot of that since 10.3 because users complain. Linux has done transparency for a while too. The future is not transparancy its userbility. See you on 10.5 on an intel chip.

Reply Score: 2

Actually...
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:14 UTC
Anonymous
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Apple is experimenting with the look... the theme of the GUI. The interface guidelines have not been touched. For example, placement of buttons, position of menus, windowing behaviour, etc. All are laid out in the AIG and have not changed.

Reply Score: 0

Consistency
by iskios on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:22 UTC
iskios
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have to say that I really like the way iTunes 5 looks. It could be made a bit more consistent, but they may be working on that.

I wonder though why Apple does not set a specific look and apply it system wide. Is there really a need for applications like iTunes, Safari, etc. to be different from Photoshop and Dreamweaver?

I like the Aqua look, but because of the inconsistencies, and I hate the brushed metal look, I bought Shapeshifter and applied a nice and more consistent look, and demetalifizer to diminish the number of metalized apps.

I switched from Windows about a year ago, and now have finally gone completely Windows free with the PC running Fedora, and I will not be going back any time soon. My next PC will be a Macintel, no doubt.

Reply Score: 1

About...
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:38 UTC
Anonymous
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"So was this additional theme needed? Personally, I like the new look, but that's not what this is about. This is about consistency and usability."

Nope, this is about someone getting his name in lights... Who cares if there are different themes? They're all fundamentally similar.

Jeez, someone does HCI 101 in University and thinks they're Tog.....;-)

Reply Score: 0

Like the look
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:51 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I love the new look as well. The brushed look is ugly in comparison. Because the new look is also more "compressed" and takes less screen space, I find it a bit easier to browse through my MP3 collection.

I hope that the new theme is released for all Mac users. I wish Apple would release some new themes instead of having to use Shapeshifter.

Reply Score: 0

Die brushed metal die
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 9th Sep 2005 12:52 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

I sure hope that the dark platinum theme is the sign of brushed metal's impending death. It's almost as if Microsoft and Apple are trying to out-do each other WRT to who can create the ugliest UI that is the most inconsistent with their own stated guidelines.

"Oh yeah? Well I'll see your Tiger Mail and raise you a Windows Media Player!"

The number of visual styles is pretty silly, but brushed metal is particularly hideous. The first thing I think every time I see a brush metal window is, "Hey look, a shitty wallpaper image from Win3.1." Someone at Apple must have missed the lesson the 70s and 80s taught us: fake textures look like ass.

Reply Score: 1

it sounds like...
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 13:23 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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..the typical desktop linux discussion with people complaining about their qt apps looking different from thei gtk+ apps, but in this case are all aqua apps!
by the way, who cares??? the important how applications work not how they look!!!

Reply Score: 0

v What happened to choice?
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 14:07 UTC
RE: What happened to choice?
by jeremy on Fri 9th Sep 2005 14:42 UTC in reply to "What happened to choice?"
jeremy Member since:
2005-07-13

Actually at one point (around the 10.1-10.2 days) there was a utility that let you change the default themes and load custom ones. Of course it was not supported by apple but I never had any problems. I wonder if that program is still around...

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Of course it was not supported by apple but I never had any problems. I wonder if that program is still around...

It's called ShapeShifter and it's still very much around, and it's a *really good* application.

http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/shapeshifter/

I made my iBook look like OS9 with that for a few minutes.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: What happened to choice?
by jeremy on Fri 9th Sep 2005 15:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What happened to choice?"
jeremy Member since:
2005-07-13

Great! Thanks for the link!

Reply Score: 1

i agree
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 14:37 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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The author's spelling is poor, and his rant about iTunes 5 features was tangential to the topic of the article, but I generally agree. The first thing I thought when I saw the new interface was "Great, another twist on Aqua from Apple." I really wish the window themes were more consistent. Hopefully they will overhaul the Aqua look and consistency in 10.5. That being said, the new iTunes look is a lot cleaner and better looking than the brushed metal theme. I do not, however, like the fact that there is *no* border on the left side of the window, and only a one-pixel line separating the playlists from the songs.

Reply Score: 1

how I see this
by propropro on Fri 9th Sep 2005 15:22 UTC
propropro
Member since:
2005-07-06

there is something in common between the new iTunes theme and the Mail theme, don't you see it? the new iTunes theme is the brushed metal equivalent of the Mail theme. Or at least that's how i see it ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: how I see this
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 15:31 UTC in reply to "how I see this"
Anonymous Member since:
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I like the look of iTunes 5 a lot but was supprised it's so close to Mail but still different. When comparing the two apps it looks like someone was trying to match the look of Mail but couldn't get it just right.

10.5 must have complete uniformity throughout the OS, it's iApps and Pro apps.

I think the look for iTunes 5 is a great updated look.

Reply Score: 0

resistor
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wonder if this might be an indication that apples is trying to lessen the number of used themes. We now have Platinum, which is basically a refinement/reworking of traditional Aqua, and iTunes 5, which is the same refinement/reworking applied to Brushed Metal.

It seems like a reasonable bet that they might be intending to phase out both Aqua and Brushed Metal in favor of their updated versions.

Reply Score: 1

Brushed metal is pissed
by ralph on Fri 9th Sep 2005 15:35 UTC
ralph
Member since:
2005-07-10
RE: Brushed metal is pissed
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 16:08 UTC in reply to "Brushed metal is pissed"
Anonymous Member since:
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Oh man, I read that last night. Funniest thing I've read in a while. Absolutely awesome.

Reply Score: 0

iPod nano
by rhowell on Fri 9th Sep 2005 16:30 UTC
rhowell
Member since:
2005-07-27

I want a black iPod nano theme, system-wide. You know, glossy black (with light reflections), and an occasional chrome popping through (say on the rotating cube).

Reply Score: 1

themes etc.
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 16:32 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Apple controls the themes of it's OS because, quite frankly, people on average are just horrendous in their implementations and creations.

The number one way people get to learn about a Mac is through friends who have one. So instead of the UI reflecting on the merits of the user, it reflects upon Apple.

If your serious enough, one can hack and apply their own theme. But at least it's out of the capabilities of most people thank god.

I think Apple, with it's different themes intermeshed, is offering gradual change, but trying to keep it looking good.

First Mail got changed and now iTunes 5. More serious it seems.

Oh well, we will get used it it I guess

Reply Score: 2

exposť
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 16:45 UTC in reply to "themes etc."
Anonymous Member since:
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osX has exposť. perhaps every application is better to recognize in the small version, when they look more different to each other.

thats perhaps the reason, apple chooses the different themes for their main-apps.

--
ralf tauscher

Reply Score: 0

v RE: themes etc.
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 17:43 UTC in reply to "themes etc."
RE: themes etc.
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 21:53 UTC in reply to "themes etc."
Anonymous Member since:
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I think that asking Apple to an easy way to change the themes is like asking them for a computer without any apple logo. They just want that OSX can be recognized from miles away.

Reply Score: 0

Fixing Tiger Mail's ugly buttons
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 17:15 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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If you just search google for a free program called CageFighter, you can download and run it to change the settings of Mail.app so that the buttons don't have that rounded orb behind them. Once you do that, the Mail toolbar looks very much like the new iTunes look, except the gray they used in Mail is lighter.

Reply Score: 1

much ado about nothing!
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 17:55 UTC
Anonymous
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n/t

Reply Score: 0

v Anyone home?
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:02 UTC
RE: Anyone home?
by japail on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:29 UTC in reply to "Anyone home?"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

Personally I hate the iTunes interface. I've never liked it. I've long since given up any hope of applications looking a way that really makes me think, "this is a really aesthetically-pleasing program." I settle for just not being so annoyed by the appearance/interface of a program that I can use the program without consciously criticizing it. Unless it's really grotesque in appearance (Mathematica/X11, Windows Media Player, Java Metal, ...) or interface (Windows Media Player, basically the way any "tab" interface handles large numbers of tabs, any "professional" tool that uses "knobs" in its interface, ...) it's not that hard to spend most of one's time not especially annoyed while doing work.

Reply Score: 0

New theme and usability
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:12 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I like the new theme and I hope iLife '06 uses it, and kudos to Apple for getting the iTunes player and music store closer to being a single application. Both got the search bar and the player got the browser. The power seach would be too much for a person's library, but works great for 2 million songs. I would like to see a button on the search bar that says "Go To Store" when you are in your library and "Go To Library" when you are in the iTMS.

The layout in iTunes and Mail is very similar, but there are a few differences. iTunes has a dark toolbar and it does not change when it loses focus, but Mail has a light toolbar and when it loses focus the toolbar has pinstripes. I am guessing this is the original Aqua interface, but I did not switch to the Mac until iTunes for Windows came out so I do not know how apps looked prior to Panther. I think the apps should have the dark toolbar when they are the active window and the light ("Platinum"?) toolbar when they are not the active window.

Reply Score: 1

RE: New theme and usability
by Gryzor on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:14 UTC in reply to "New theme and usability"
Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

I think the apps should have the dark toolbar when they are the active window and the light ("Platinum"?) toolbar when they are not the active window.


Me too.

Reply Score: 0

I have the solution..
by ma_d on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:27 UTC
ma_d
Member since:
2005-06-29

Make a utility which lets users tweak application themes on a per application basis. Then they can't complain about slight differences or total conformity...
Complain complain complain. I don't like OS X, but critiquing them on having different themes (especially when all the themes are nice)?!

Reply Score: 1

Mail
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 18:27 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I don't get the hatred of Apple Mail in 10.4 - I use Thunderbird on my PC and Mail in 10.3 Panther on my Mac, and the right-hand folder list tray really irritates me. If Mail could be upgraded to the latest release on Panther I'd do it in an instant, it looks far better and having played with Tiger in an apple store seems more usable too.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Mail
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Sep 2005 19:06 UTC in reply to "Mail"
Anonymous Member since:
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is the folder list you are referring to the mailbox drawer? i actually preferred that to what tiger has done; though there were many (i think) that were irritated with it. but people adapt and it is usable on both tiger and panther; i prefer tiger for the rest of the useability and it seems to have made my eMac a little faster.

Reply Score: 0

color themes
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 19:08 UTC
Anonymous
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Anyone know how to change the colors in aqua. I have the brushed metal look, but I've seen an orange theme-look that I really liked.

Ken

Reply Score: 0

Interface
by kaiwai on Fri 9th Sep 2005 19:15 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, I prefer the new iTunes interface; you could say, "streamlined brushed metal" - now, if they made their browser, Finder and Mail application all adopt the same consistant look, I would be a very happy chap.

But regarding HIG, I think people need to realise that HIG is more than just skin deep; it relates to menu layouts, menu setups and so forth; yes, the look does play a roll, by the main idea behind HIG is to ensure there is a consistant layout, thus ensuring that the maximum skills can be transposed from one application to another, with the end user always knowing that a certain function will always sit in a certain location either in the menu or how the widgets are layed out in a window form.

With that being said, I wished they had just stayed with Aqua the whole way through; I personally don't see the buzz as to why they need to use different themes as to make their applications, 'cool', 'hip' and 'funky' - when in reality, it makes it look like amateurish crap designed by an over zealous, theme obsessed 15 year old who is experimenting with XCode for the first time.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Interface
by Arun on Sat 10th Sep 2005 14:51 UTC in reply to "Interface"
Arun Member since:
2005-07-07

With that being said, I wished they had just stayed with Aqua the whole way through; I personally don't see the buzz as to why they need to use different themes as to make their applications, 'cool', 'hip' and 'funky' - when in reality, it makes it look like amateurish crap designed by an over zealous, theme obsessed 15 year old who is experimenting with XCode for the first time.

THe answer to that is here:

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/...

I think Apple's philosophy is each app should have a distinctive appearance that immediately attracts a user to it and makes it easily recognizable as a unique entitiy. Like the iMac and eMac are easily identifiable.

Reply Score: 1

The question 'why'
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 20:59 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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All the themes are not nice. Brushed metal is on a par with the Atari ST system font.

What would be good is a decent article on WHY Apple foist this abomination on a system which has user interface at its heart.

Reply Score: 0

v boo hoo hoo
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 23:38 UTC
boo hoo hoo
by Anonymous on Fri 9th Sep 2005 23:43 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Boo hoo hoo....boo hoo hoo...but I like brush metal... Stop crying you babies!!! I'm so glad they are killing brush metal.

Reply Score: 0

What about ITunes for Windows?
by Drumhellar on Sat 10th Sep 2005 00:57 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

The menus seem like they're in the right spot to me. The Windows version works more like a Windows app that most other media players I've used.

Reply Score: 1

Apple's success on the desktop
by monkeyhead on Sat 10th Sep 2005 04:46 UTC
monkeyhead
Member since:
2005-07-11

This is the reason apple hasn't succeeded on the desktop. There is no unified user experience or API. Once apple gets this right there might be hope for them on the desktop.

*slaps knee*

mod away!

Reply Score: 1

themes
by Anonymous on Sat 10th Sep 2005 13:15 UTC
Anonymous
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Interesting. I place a lot of value on having my apps look similar (I go out of my way to use Qt apps). Consistency seemed a strength of OSX, and one that was slipping away lately.

But reading TFA, It occurred to me that finding iTunes in the middle of a bunch of other apps would actually be easier if it looked different. It might actually be nice to have apps look different.

Of course, you might accidentally get Safari or Quicktime when looking for iTunes (<=4). With enough apps, the theme used is by itself not enough to find the one you want. Having a different theme for each and every app isn't too good either..

It seems like 4 or 5 is a good number. They still go together, there aren't too many for that. And there are enough to differentiate apps, unless you have a ton open at once.

Different themes might be a good thing. Time to figure out how to get different themes per app in KDE, test it out ;)

Reply Score: 0

What u c
by Anonymous on Sun 11th Sep 2005 07:26 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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With vista's classy glass look, ms is finally beating apple at it's own game again! It is clear isn't it?

Reply Score: 0

RE: What u c
by Anonymous on Sun 11th Sep 2005 09:56 UTC in reply to "What u c"
Anonymous Member since:
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Vistas not out for ages yet, who knows Apple X 7 will be looking like then, MS are playing catch up.

Reply Score: 0