Perusing the Safari 4 Beta gave me an uneasy feeling that this kind of product might be what we have to look forward to without Jobs at the helm. People have said that it shows signs that Google's Chrome browser has got Apple rattled, and, reluctantly, I'd have to agree.
What a travesty then, that Apple should see fit to copy so many aspects of Chrome's UI in the new version of Safari - an app previously noted for its influential, clean looks. Gone are clever innovations like the progress bar integrated with the URL field, and the inverted tabs. Instead, we have the cluttered, confused messiness of tabs integrated with the title bar, which commits three key UI gaffs:
- Confuses two functions: dragging the entire window, vs moving the tabs
- Draggable handle looks more like a window re-sizing tools
- Inconsistent with every other window in Mac OS X!
The other piece of surprising news this week is what a great job Amazon appears to have done with the Kindle 2. Certainly, it picks up on many design cues from Apple - the uncluttered white front, the metallic rear panel, the integrated wireless store, and the stylish packaging. But unlike Apple's hapless competitors in other sectors, some of Apple's magic does seem to have rubbed off on this product. I think that Amazon may have a huge hit on their hands, and Jobs may rue the day that he (rather ignorantly) claimed that no one reads any more.