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Design

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First, they came for your phone's headphone jack—is the USB port next?

When Apple released the first iPhone without a headphone jack two years ago, many - critics, consumers, and competitors alike - were quick to cry foul. The decision was widely derided arrogant and unfriendly, and CMO Phil Schiller took a well-deserved beating in the court of public opinion for calling the removal of the 3.5mm jack “courageous.”

Imagine, then, what would happen if Apple was to remove the charging and data port from the iPhone entirely.

It's not as wild as it sounds. A report from trusted Apple leaker Mark Gurman recently revealed that the company had considered doing just that with the iPhone X.

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Chrome Duplex UI updated with bottom bar that mirrors top toolbar options

Google Chrome's Canary build offers "bleeding edge" features so they can be tested ahead of possible graduation to the more stable versions of the app. Recently, Google has been experimenting with the traditional top-positioned toolbar in response to ever taller Android handsets, first by moving the whole thing to the bottom (Chrome Home), and then by replacing that with a swiping up gesture to access the new tab page (Chrome Duplex).

The latest evolution of this test — controlled by the #enable-chrome-duplex flag in chrome://flags — introduces a brand new bottom toolbar that exactly mirrors the options at the top of the screen.

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[Update: Rolling out] YouTube is testing yet another UI modification, this time for collapsed video playback

Spring cleaning of the YouTube Android app is continuing apace. Already this month we've seen tests for seek bar video previews and an iOS style bottom nav bar. Now, some users are seeing a new interface for collapsing the currently selected video, offering more than just a picture-in-picture window. The new UI moves this into a floating bottom bar including a play/pause button, as well as the option to close without having to swipe away.

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Google launches Material Gallery tool for design collaboration [APK Download]

One of the hot topics at Google I/O 2018 has been the evolution of Material Design. The website has been overhauled and lots of new guidelines have been added, with some of the changes being discussed in sessions at the conference. Material Theming is also being introduced to help developers implement the design language in their apps while retaining their own style. Another tool, Material Gallery, has just been launched to help designers organize their projects.

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[Update: Shifty Jelly statement] Google re-imagined Pocket Casts with a beautiful, modern Material design

Pocket Casts was just recently purchased by a group which includes NPR, and the developers have reassured us that their plans for the app haven't changed. But what if Pocket Casts had a slick new look to show for it? Google just released a partner study on its Material.io site, teasing a vivid re-imagining of the popular podcasts app. 

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Android Developers site gets a fresh coat of (white) paint

Google's been updating a ton of its services with new looks recently, including the modern new Gmail UI that landed earlier today. But this year's spring cleaning isn't just about refreshing things for consumers. Developers are also getting a bit of love. Google has just updated its Android Developer site with a new design. 

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Chrome OS notification center and system tray are getting merged

Notifications in Chrome OS are currently located in an expandable section highlighted by a bell icon. It's been this way as long as I can remember, but it looks like a change is coming. We recently saw a new system tray quick settings design in the Chrome OS dev channel, which can be enabled with the following flag: #enable-system-tray-unified. That same flag is now responsible for merging the quick settings and notifications together in the canary channel.

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ZTE's crazy 'Iceberg' concept has two display notches

Display notches are the controversial smartphone design trend du jour: while the Essential Phone beat Apple to the punch, the notch is the defining trait of the iPhone X, and, for better or worse, it's being aped by a whole bunch of Android OEMs. Reactions have been mixed. If you're not a fan, avert your eyes—ZTE has a concept it's calling "Iceberg" that features not one, but two display notches: one at the top, one at the bottom.

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New Chrome OS quick settings menu takes design cues from Android P

The first developer preview of Android P was released earlier this month, and some of the most noticeable visual changes were to be found in the quick settings panel. Icons are now placed inside circles which are blue if active/on and greyed out if inactive/off. It's too early to say for sure if these changes will remain the same in the final version, but if Chrome OS 67 is anything to go by, they may be pretty much final.

The latest version of Google's desktop, laptop, and now tablet OS introduces a new style for its quick settings panel, and it's clear the design teams within Google are working together to create a unified look.

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Alvar Carto lets you create beautiful map wallpapers for your phone

If you're anything like me, you probably change your wallpaper pretty often. I'm both easily bored and fickle, so I'm always searching for the next cool photo or artwork to make my homescreen pop. The guys behind Alvar Carto have provided me with my next great wallpaper, and I can't recommend it enough.

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