How It Works

Mark Gurman:

While Apple did, indeed, announce a health tracking application and an API for partners to hook into, the interface did not match up with our screenshots from March. The reason, a source confirmed this week, is that Apple revamped the user-interface and dropped the “Healthbook” name late in development due to the leak. While the icon and interface is new, the entirety of the earlier reported functionality and in-app graphics are identical. […]

As you can see, the icons for each data point are identical in our March screenshots to the ones in the current iOS 8 build. The only change is the overall interface, and many Apple employees that I have spoken to agree that the original Healthbook UI is far superior in usability than the current look.

Let me get this straight. Apple completely scrapped a superior interface to Health because Mark Gurman published screenshots back in March. That is to say, Apple cared more about the surprise of revealing a never-before-seen Health interface during the keynote than they cared about the actual design quality of an interface that will be used by hundreds of millions of iOS users for years to come.

It’s public knowledge that Jony Ive now oversees all software design at Apple. So in this scenario, we are to believe that Ive is so petty, juvenile, and impetuous — and more concerned with secrecy than design quality — that he either approved or himself demanded a radical design overhaul not because it was better but merely to have something un-leaked to show on stage last week. This, for a feature which was deemed worthy of less than three minutes of keynote time (68:30 to 71:20). Jony Ive.

OK, sure.

(Another possibility: Health’s design was far from finished in March, and the intervening months of Apple’s iterative design process resulted in what we saw last week. Designs within Apple are never born finished, and often, if not usually, change radically before shipping. And though Mark Gurman is prodigiously talented, his youth has led him into the solipsistic trap of thinking that his personal perception of Apple — as a guardian of secrets — accurately reflects Apple’s actual institutional priorities, when in fact nothing, not even secrecy, trumps design in the halls of Cupertino.

But what do I know?)

Monday, 9 June 2014