Controversy over the third-gen Apple TV today, as a former Apple designer responsible for the last-gen set-top box's interface criticized the new UI as old ideas recycled now Steve Jobs is no longer around to veto them. Michael Margolis took to Twitter to comment on the recently announced 1080p Apple TV, suggesting that "those new designs were tossed out 5 years ago because SJ [Steve Jobs]didn't like them" and that "now there is nobody to say "no" to bad design."
The comments unsurprisingly kick-started a cycle of speculation that Apple's design team for the set-top box has been waiting for a less stringent, controlling hand on the aesthetic tiller to push. Jobs was known for his hyper-obsessive interest in hardware and software design, believed to be incredibly frustrating at times to designers, but resulting in products that often surprised in how simplicity of interface hid underlying complexity.
However, Margolis quickly countered that speculation with further comments on the UI, arguing that it was an obvious sign of Apple looking to harmonize the Apple TV with other app-based iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, and positing that it's another step on the road to the STB gaining app support of its own."SJ didn't like the old grid" he said, "but may have *loved* this new iOS style."
Questions abounded whether Apple could continue on its path without Steve Jobs at the helm, though the company's rising fortunes under Tim Cook would seem to belie those fears. Still, the new UI for the Apple TV has proved divisive, though that could all change if app support was added in.
Full details on the new Apple TV in our review.