Lack of Vision

March 17, 2024

We’ve truly lost sight of how to make good apps. There’s a serious lack of vision and taste in the industry. Everyone’s given in to the lowest common denominator in the design of apps, simply mimicking what others do without understanding if it’s even the right choice.

After the death of Steve Jobs, no one with good taste rose to the position of the visionary at Apple. They still don’t have one. They have designers, engineers, and businesspeople. But no one to lead them with a strong vision of what Apple should be.

And Steve didn’t just lead Apple, his insanely great taste led the entire industry. His vision influenced everyone who used Apple’s products, especially those who made software for their hardware. He set the bar so high.

Over the last 15 years, Apple has lowered that bar considerably. In the absence of Steve, Apple has systemically removed artistry from the process of making apps almost entirely. They have subtly and sometimes silently made choices that eliminate the need for developers to work with designers or artists altogether.

Apple has simplified their software design aesthetic to a point where it’s soulless. With their immense influence over the industry, they encourage developers to do the same.

Before Steve died, there were rumors of people coming into Apple to assess what Apple’s DNA was. I don’t know if that was real, if they ever figured it out, or if it even amounted to anything.

But Steve had already said what it is. On a few occasions, Steve would show this slide of street signs, saying that Apple existed on the corner of Technology and Liberal Arts. (Still disappointed about Apple Park.)

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.

Apps are as much about form and feeling as they are about features and functionality.

No one is going to make a good app by only focusing on the technology while surrendering the other half to Apple’s deteriorating perspective of the liberal arts. You can’t ignore the history, the anthropology, or the artistry of apps. These are inherently important for creating good products for Apple platforms.

To make insanely great apps, you necessarily need artists.

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