24 May
   Filed Under: Announcement, Icon Design, iPhone   

As I alluded to earlier today, Sean Patrick O‘Brien and I are working on the very first Mac application that will be released under the Cocoia ‘brand’: Composition. Composition allows you to take any image and get a pixel-perfect preview of iPhone’s default effects at regular home screen size and Settings/Spotlight small icon size. It also lets you look at your icon in a virtual home screen to achieve a native look (and yes, both iPhone and iPod touch home screens will be represented), and export it for further usage on websites and other materials.


Composition is not an icon generator or designer in any way; it is made for people who care about the way their icons look, and want to get a break from the horrible workflow of mashing previews of icons together in Photoshop. There will be several easy-to-access Photoshop templates accessible from the app, but the actual design work is left to applications that are excellent at that kind of work. It will also be completely free!

I will announce more news about it as the application nears the beta milestone; in the mean time, drop an email to this address to get a spot on the list.

24 May
   Filed Under: Apple, Icon Design, iPhone   

iPhone icons are gorgeous. The home screen is a beautiful display of icons that have been extremely carefully designed to achieve a stylistic balance. On the desktop, the same applies, but icons have far less ‘rules’ imposed on them, and are generally very diverse in their appearance. One could conclude that there is less consistency in the design of desktop icons than there is in iPhone application icons.


As a result, icons in the Mac OS X dock also generally have less trouble looking good and blending in with the system icons. There’s simply more room for creative freedom and slight stylistic differences. The iPhone is a different story. I keep all third-party application icons (apart from a few notable exceptions) off my home screen, because they stick out like a sore thumb. Why is this, when it is so seemingly simple to fit into the consistent design standard, and what can Apple do about it?
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07 May
   Filed Under: iPhone, Personal   

Steven Frank puts into words what we’ve all been feeling for almost a year:

It continues to kill me, seeing that iPhone apps are still getting rejected for ridiculous reasons.

The Cocoa Touch platform is so great, and this approval nonsense is so absurd that it’s hard for me to reconcile.

Almost a year now, and Apple still has a stranglehold on the platform. I’m an adult, and I am quite sure most iPhone owners are adults, but apparently there still needs to be someone who decides that I can’t use anything that has as much as a nipple in it on my phone. In the mean time, people I know that aren’t very tech-savvy have heard about the news buzz over strange App Store screwups and get completely turned off.

I’m not afraid of competition to the iPhone. I’d be really happy with a good competitor to keep Apple on its toes. I’m much more afraid, however, that something that is qualitatively far worse (but ‘good enough’) than the iPhone platform comes along and wins out because it’s perceived as being more open and people feel like they can do with it what they want. Which may be some really stupid stuff that Apple doesn’t allow on their store. The platform just needs to be ‘good enough’ and not buried in critical news coverage.

Sounds a bit like the old Mac vs. IBM PC battle for supremacy, doesn’t it? We all know how that one ended.

06 May
   Filed Under: Commercial Work, iPhone, Software Releases   

With its .99 dollar sale price and upcoming 2.0 update, Groceries warrants a blog post. I’ve worked with Sophia to make a few icons for this great, polished iPhone app. I can’t go to the supermarket without it anymore.

If you’re not so sure about why you’d want to have a shopping list application on your iPhone, you can do what I did; go through your iPhone notes and discover a few dozen old shopping lists, and then reminisce about that last time you were in the store and wanted to add something to the list. Kind of annoying, isn’t it? Groceries has almost all possible items you can encounter while you’re out shopping in its database, and lets you add them to the list with but a few virtual keystrokes or taps.

Grab Groceries (link opens iTunes) for $ 0.99 during its sale.

And yeah, doing some testing of layout features of Cocoia Blog 3.1 here. If you see general weirdness ensue, please bear with me or report the weirdness to me via Twitter or email.

16 Apr

Currencies by iPhone app maker Edovia (known from Apple TV ads featuring Rocket Taxi) has been submitted to the App Store. It was a real joy working with Luc on this simple, straightforward, yet powerful currency converter.


I’m not sure about you, but before I had a build of Currencies on my iPhone, I used Google for my conversions between ten and twenty times each day (thanks to American clients and my love for Japanese collectibles). I am very happy to have something much more elegant now, and I’m eager to see this application hit the App Store to read user feedback.

It’s available right now, for $0.99 in the App Store: Click here to go open iTunes and go straight to the application page.

While working on Currencies, I also made some images of my new workspace. I get a lot of questions over email or twitter about the way I got my desk set up, and it’s been moved in such a way that I can now fully enjoy this year’s summer season without having to suffer ‘withdrawal symptoms’ from not being with my dear workstation. I got some really neat Japanese figures and mecha set up on it (some from Japanese clients), which I will blog about sooner or later.


Click here to go to Flickr and see more images of the figures and angles of the workspace. This setup with the Wacom Cintiq is really enjoyable; I can just put aside the bluetooth keyboard and (not-so-mighty) mouse and then just draw and doodle at my leisure. Splendid.

17 Mar
   Filed Under: Apple, Design, Interface Design, iPhone   

Apple’s iPhone software 3.0 event came and went without a mention or hint at new hardware. There have been a lot of rumors about a possible new iPhone, and a lot of these rumors assumed a potential connection between this new software for the iPhone and the new hardware, which could be unveiled around the time of WWDC this year.

I posed a question on Twitter earlier today, and since there’s (unsurprisingly) been no mention of it today, I wanted to get my thoughts down on this difficult issue Apple faces when it comes to the future of the iPhone platform. At some point in the future, iPhones and iPod touches will get a better screen, with a better resolution. A good example is the move of Apple’s flagship notebook, the Macbook Pro 17″, from a 1680 by 1050 pixel resolution screen, to a high-DPI (dots per inch) screen boasting an impressive 1920 by 1200 pixels. The screen remained the same size in inches; it just packed a lot more pixels in each inch of screen size.

This happens in the arena of mobile devices as well. Some modern cell phones feature screens with a massive resolution of 800 by 600 pixels; comparably, the iPhone offers a ‘meagre’ 480 by 320 pixels. In the future, Apple will change to a better (not necessarily ‘bigger’) screen, and developers of iPhone apps will face a huge issue: how do we scale the interface?

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