Apple redesigned its own website today and there are many kudos to go around. To wit:
- A nicely unified top navigation with, amazingly, only seven tabs at the top. I can’t imagine how hard it was for Apple’s marketing, sales, and technology executives to agree on these final top categories. There was probably blood on the large, wide conference table up until launch.
- It’s been predicted for a long time that Apple was going to lose its aqua-look interface and tabs (which Vista adapted in the past few months). Apple did so with its brushed metal theme. But here’s the brilliant part: They didn’t overdo it. The metal shines, just gently, and it doesn’t make its way into every little aspects of the rest of the site. For instance, there’s no brushed metal hanging on to every subnavigational element, nor is there brushed metal gradients on the background of every section or page. I don’t love it, but I do like it a lot.
- Apple has a whole new section called <a href="Downloads. This is a huge big deal, akin to opening a new store within the site. It puts the company in direct competition with two sites that I visit a bit too often (okay, once a day): MacUpdate and <a href="Version Tracker. Both of these sites detail and track the latest independent and corporate applications developed for the Mac. For Apple to have gotten into this game means that third-party software is now critical to their business model; too, my guess is that it will help further differentiate the company from Microsoft and its Windows operating system in that it directly points visitors to a range of powerful and inexpensive third-party solutions.
- The new iPhone is front and foremost on the site, with its own little item at the top. I wish that tab well.
- A lot of things are the same. Same widespread use of the Lucida Grande font, thankfully. Same cute, discrete headlines: “Hello, tomorrow.” “Mail. Think outside the inbox.” Same three column Store.
- Safari, the native Mac browser, is now available for Windows. More brilliance. If it works as well on Windows as it does on OS X, a few million people are going to have the ability to see what makes looking at websites a pleasure.
- Downgraded is Apple’s .Mac service. In fact, upon a quick review of the new site, I can’t even find .Mac. Quicktime, too, got whacked.