NEXTSTEP 4 Prerelease 1 UI demo
For those interested. I thought I'd never see it in action, but here it is. It's the NEXTSTEP 4 prerelease 1 (essentially beta 1), which had a never shipped UI. The shipped version of NEXTSTEP 4, or OPENSTEP for Mach, ended up having the NEXTSTEP 3.3 UI.
Here's a screenshot:
Of particular consternation was the elimination of the Shelf in the file browser and the implementation of the tabbed shelf dock on the bottom of the screen. The tabbed shelf dock could be dragged up and down for more or less space. Any system object (files, directories, colors, fonts, etc) could be dragged and dropped there. Here are the videos:
The videos go through that tabbed shelf dock a bit.
The time frame for this, as I recall, was the spring of 1995 when rumors were rampant with it. It was all nuked by the summer, and NeXT had to march towards being a WebObjects company the following year. Of note from the videos, Mail.app (MailViewer), TextEdit (Edit), Terminal, Project Builder, Interface Builder, Preferences, app badges, "stacks", Miller column browser obviously all made it to Mac OS X. NEXTSTEP also had live icons that never made it to Mac OS X.
Obviously, the menu design could not move on as the world would have ended if that happened.
It seems Jobs et al had already decided the single button bar app design (as seen in Mail) was the way to go for app design. That single button bar type design now lives on in iWork.
Also, notice the marble textures, embossed buttons, shadows, and icon style. Suffice it to say, it was the NeXT designers (from Jobs on down) and engineers who love that sort of thing.
Now that all the NeXT guys are gone, save for Federighi and Bud Tribble in senior positions, I think Apple has started a post NeXT phase since the reorg with Forstall ousted last Fall. In 1996, Apple essentially paid NeXT $400m+ to take over Apple. Many NeXT guys ended up taking high-level positions at Apple in both software and hardware. Their sensibilities have guided OS design in Mac OS X and iOS for the past 15 years. I think most of those guys are now gone. Losing Forstall I think was what broke the camel's back.
Let see how it goes.