New Apple TV UI Was Rejected by Steve Jobs 5 Years Ago: Ex-Apple Engineer

 
on March 26 2012 10:17 AM

Earlier this month, an update to the Apple TV brought along a brand new user interface for the set-top box, but it appears it's not that brand new after all.

According to Michael Margolis, a former Apple TV engineer, the software redesign Apple recently rolled out to its Apple TV set-top box had been presented to Steve Jobs five years ago, but the late CEO did not care for it. Margolis' LinkedIn profile shows he has worked as a Professional Hobbyist, Apple TV, and Senior Software Engineer at Apple.

Aral Balkan Mocks AppleTV 'New' UI

A few days ago, designer and entrepreneur Aral Balkan posted a tweet on his Twitter page, expressing his disappointment at the new design. Wtf happened, Apple, did a rainbow throw up at one infinite loop while having sex with a designer from Samsung? wrote Balkan. Margolis added several tweets in response to Balkan's, including I implemented much of the AppleTV 2.0 UI years ago. The new homepage UI makes me cry.

Ex-Apple TV Engineer Margolis Tweets in Response to Balkan

Also on Friday, March 24, Margolis added another tweet: Fun fact - those new designs were tossed out 5 years ago because SJ didn't like them. Now there is nobody to say no to bad design.

The software update Apple rolled out for its Apple TV set-top box comes with a revamping of its user interface, making it resemble the grid of apps found on the home screens of iPads, iPhones, and Apple's LaunchPad feature on Lion. The new user interface features services such as Neflix, YouTube, Vimeo and others as icons, rather than being placed in the menu.

Apple TV, 'Easier than Ever to Use,' Says Apple's Schiller

Apple executive Eddy Cue had presented the new user interface as a simplified design allowing users to access features on the set-top box more easily. Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing, said the new interface makes Apple TV easier than ever to use.

Margolis later clarified what specific elements in the user interface did not seem appealing to Steve Jobs, and acknowledged that the updates are likely a smart move to bring the Apple TV UI closer to the company's iOS products. Most of the AppleTV UI remains unchanged since AppleTV 'Take 2' and I think that's a testament on how good it was. Great design is timeless, wrote Margolis. According to him, it was the grid design that Jobs didn't like, not the glossy icon design.

The New UI Was Bound to Happen

The new UI shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. There is a clear effort at Apple to make everything match the look and feel of their popular iOS products - starting with Lion and increasing momentum with Mountain Lion, added the former Apple TV engineer. Moreover, Margolis stated that making the UI look more like the iPad was probably a very smart move, although some users still prefer the old one.

(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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