Apple Identity Crisis?

apple website

Is it just me, or does the Apple site seem to be going deeper and deeper into an identity crisis? Once upon a time, most, if not all, of the interior pages on the Apple site had a pretty consistent look. These days it seems like every page looks different from the next. Some have light backgrounds, some have dark. Some use solid colors, some use gradients. Some have hard, square edges, and others have rounded corners or feathered edges. What’s going on over there?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some diversity, as long as a unified underlying theme is maintained to hold the design together. These days it seems like they just can’t decide what to do, or there are too many people working on the site… doing whatever they want.

We’ve definitely seen this trend pop up in the OS at times too. Mail 2.0 is a good example of that. It looks very different than any other app that came with Tiger. Also, if you look closely, you see variations on the gel buttons used throughout the OS and applications.

5 thoughts on “Apple Identity Crisis?”

  1. I’ve noticed a shift in apple’s package designs as well. I mean look at the boxes for Pro and then check out the boxes for iLife 05. Quite a drastic design shift. But in saying that, apple’s graphic design dept are one of the best around.

  2. I think that the site looks very nice! I think that the diversity of the site makes it more appealing, it isn’t just the same old thing on everypage, it is a mix of things that seem to go pretty well together. I like it!

  3. I’ve just downloaded itunes 5 and as an architect I’m a little disappointed that the brushed stainless steel effect has gone and I’m not sure about the look of the new search text headings – looks a bit windows xp to me!
    Although I am looking at this through windows xp, it may look better through OS X.

    All that being said I do find the new itunes search facility useful.

    Love the new ipod nano, I just hope the battery life is better than the ipod mini, mine is less than a year old and lasts for less than two hours!

  4. Actually, the example screenshot you’ve provided shows a level of consistency that I find refreshing on a corporate site. If you study the shots, you find a consistent top-level navigation, consistent use of the corporate font (Adobe Myriad Pro), and a fairly consistent top-level structure, including average page-width, centering, and layout concepts.

    At the subsite level, each section has its own identity, which I really think Apple is trying to bring to bear across the board. Look at the Pro apps subsite, or the iWork subsite.

    Not everything has to look the same. I’ve seen houses that only contained matching elements and hid everything that didn’t fit. I found them sterile, boring.

    Does the difference in Apple’s subsites slow me down? Not perceptibly – everything is still laid out in an easy-to-use and quick-to-understand manner. Do Apple’s interface inconsistencies (rounded corners vs. not-so-rounded corners; aqua vs. metal vs. plastic) slow me down? Nope.

    Do I find some of these things ugly? Yes. I changed the Mail icons back to the older style. And I’d personally love to see the flat iTunes button (as in the podcast section) and the mail sidebar style become preferred interface elements.

    But I’ve been wrong before :)

  5. It’s interesting that Apple is allowing for so much diversity on their web site while (I say, forcing a segway) still only giving the option for either grey or blue scroll bars on the OS. A small thing admittedly, but an interface ommision that has always botherd me.

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