Jonathan Ive Rumored To Give OS X, iOS A Bold Face-lift
As you may have heard, possibly due to issues with the Maps app, Scott Forstall is no longer the Senior Vice President of iOS Software at Apple. According to the New York Times, this shakeup of Apple’s leadership may give Apple’s knighted designer, Sir Jonathan Ive, unprecedented power in determining the way Apple’s software looks. According to the Times, Steve Jobs and Forstall were advocates of skeuomorphism–the practice of modelling software after physical objects–while Sir Ive hated the practice, instead favoring “clean edges and flat surfaces”. Jonathan Ive is now in position to set the look of Apple’s software.
If you want examples of skeuomorphism in Apple’s software, look at the lined paper in the default Notes app, the virtual “book” in the iPad’s contacts app, or the “fine linen” texture in the background of the iPhone’s Notification Center (I had always assumed it was supposed to be a metal or carbon fibre). Depending on your view, Apple’s skeuomorphism may look dated or charming. It can be reassuring to see familiar objects on a digital landscape, but it’s also unnecessary and anachronistic. (But then again, this is the platform that spawned Instagram. Comforting anachronisms might be the name of Apple’s game.)
An example of an alternative to Apple’s skeumorphism is Microsoft’s design in Windows 8. If you want clean edges and flat surfaces, Windows 8 is the trend setter in that direction. Their entire Metro interface is rectangles filled with gradients of color. It’s a risky redesign, it’s controversial, but it isn’t leaning on real world objects.
Do you want to see Apple’s design shift to something more industrial, stark, and digital, or do you like Apple’s current approach of mimicking real-world objects and textures? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.