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Jony Ive expected to replace iOS, OS X textures with clean edges & flat surfaces

post #1 of 188
Thread Starter 
Software designed to look like real-life textures, such as linen or felt, is expected to become a thing of the past at Apple now that designer Jony Ive has taken over the user interfaces of iOS and OS X.

Scott Forstall was previously in charge of iOS software, but his departure from the company was announced this week, while Ive will serve as head of Apple's Human Interface decision making. Forstall, along with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was a strong advocate for skeuomorphism, which is a type of design that replicates real-world objects digitally.

But Ive is said to loathe skeuomorphist designs, which means Apple's software is expected to have a significantly different look and feel in the future.

"You can be sure that the next generation of iOS and OS X will have Jony's industrial design aesthetic all over them," one unnamed Apple designer told The New York Times. "Clean edges, flat surfaces will likely replace the textures that are all over the place right now."



Another unnamed source suggested Ive would have to work to win over Forstall "loyalists" who remain at Apple. That former employee said they worked in software for several years, but never saw Ive in a meeting.

Some skeuomorphic designs are helpful to users, like the trash bin utilized in OS X for deleting files. Some who spoke with the Times also justified the digital paper shredder that appears when deleting items in Passbook for iOS 6, saying it is "a good way of reinforcing the idea that potentially sensitive information has been wiped from the device."

But other design choices not related to the use of the product have been criticized by designers at Apple as well as those outside of the company. In particular, the felt, casino-style table top in Game Center, and the "Corinthian leather" that appears in the Find My Friends and Calendar applications.

In recent years, Apple has brought many of the designs found on iOS devices back to the Mac platform. Today, in Mountain Lion, applications such as Calendar, Game Center and Notes have identical looks in iOS and OS X based on real-life objects.

Rather than skeuomorphic real-world interpretations, Ive is a proponent of minimalist designs that place functionality above all else. As head of Human Interface at Apple, Ive is expected to cut back on the type of unnecessary flourish that can be found in some of the company's current software offerings.
post #2 of 188

Yes! I am glad to see them go away. 

 

Some skeuomorphic designs make perfect sense but it's getting a bit carried away. 

post #3 of 188

I never heard a word out of Forstall's mouth that didn't sound like it originated from Jobs. When one is going through what Jobs went through, it helps to have an energetic surrogate, but now that Jobs is gone...

post #4 of 188

"Flat" doesn't sound promising.

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post #5 of 188
This isn't even in the "rumour" category. This is merely repeating the idle speculation of other bloggers.

Personally, I doubt that Ive will have much "hands on" with iOS design at all. Industrial and 3D design shares almost nothing with 2D and software design. Just because Ive can design an iPhone, doesn't mean he has any idea what to do when it comes to software.

I've said this before, but one only has to look at Ive's horrible taste in clothes and the intensely tacky house he recently bought to see that his skills are not as wide as some people believe.
post #6 of 188

I for one, like many probably, was blown away when i first saw Notes in Landscape on an iPad - beautiful leather and stitching - but im glad if we are moving away from that.

Even the green Phone APP on the iPhone shows a very dated receiver - at what point are all the icons no longer representative of real world implementations?

Back in the day, as window and icons took over from command line - every icon was essentially a picture of the staid real life object - but its all getting to be old-hat

 

looking forward to refreshing, meaningful design. 

 

Gripe - the disappearing slider in current Lion still needs work, IMHO

post #7 of 188
I actually liked the Apple designs(skeuomorphism) so far.
post #8 of 188

This confuses me.  I had an Android phone before the iPhone. I've played with Windows phones.  I rather like the bit of character added into iOS.  While I love Ive and I love minimalism, I am worried it's going to just look like the other platforms.  I'm ok with a fresh look to iOS or OS X, but I hope they don't veer too far from what's already there.

 

Bottom line, spend more time on functionality, but please keep some character!

post #9 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

Yes! I am glad to see them go away. 

Some skeuomorphic designs make perfect sense but it's getting a bit carried away. 

I believe dropping ALL the skeuomorphic designs would be a mistake. While it can certainly be overdone, I don't think that the current iOS or Mac OS X is anywhere near overdoing it.

People complain about the fake leather in the calendar. Just what harm does it do? Absolutely none. But what it does do is make the app more approachable and attractive. Game Center gets a lot of criticism, but it's clear that you're at a game table when you use that app. Again, I don't see how it could possibly detract.

A flat gray everywhere would be boring and unattractive - and creates exactly the same problems that the current design is supposed to create - it makes people focus on the UI rather than the task at hand.
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post #10 of 188

As described Ive's designs sounds like they're going to be very boring.  A little bit of "unnecessary flourish" can go a long way.

 

Won't be sad to see the end of stitched leather and felt though...

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post #11 of 188
I hate the wood and the leather, but I really like the tweed. I'll be sad to see it go.
post #12 of 188

I read on the 'Internets' that Jony Ive will replace the 'merican iOS dictionary with the 'King's English' dictionary.

 

'Oh my God!'  will now be: 'Cor blimey, Guvna!'

 

True story.

 

 
post #13 of 188
Am I the only one on these forums who loves these skeuomorphic designs?

For example, the green felt in Game Center is fun & whimsical!

And the leather stitching doesn't bother me at all... I kind of like the nice attention to detail that is paid to it.

Nobody else is doing skeumorphic designs, which is another thing that sets Apple apart.

And remember how loudly the audience laughed & cheered when Forstall introduced the paper shredder animation. People definitely appreciate these things.
post #14 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"Flat" doesn't sound promising.

sounds like the UI formerly known as Metro.  But this is all speculation still

post #15 of 188
Let the Designer hiring spree begin.
post #16 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

I never heard a word out of Forstall's mouth that didn't sound like it originated from Jobs. When one is going through what Jobs went through, it helps to have an energetic surrogate, but now that Jobs is gone...

 

I think Forestall is (perhaps unconsciously) aping his mentor again by getting "fired" at the peak of his career.  Remember, Jobs was an abrasive asshole as a young man also.  Now Forestall will spend a few years in "exile" doing some other project that won't work out, only to return to Apple after he has matured as a saviour of sorts in 2022 after Tim dies and Schiller has retired to his lazy-boy recliner.  

 

As for skeuomorphism, it gets a bad rap because most of the tech press is, well ... techies.  And they have no idea about design or the possible reasons for such skueomorphic designs.  True, they have gone a bit too far lately but many of Apple's designs in this category are not only successful and popular, they are necessary.  

 

Think about it.  If iBooks wasn't a book shelf but a simple list of titles for example, how does the average user tell the difference between a list of books on their device and a list of items in the store?  They *need* two separate metaphors there.  

 

It's also confusing enough for the average person to tell the difference between iTunes the store (on their device) and iTunes the player (on their device).  Apple is introducing a whole new group of people to computers for the first time with iOS.  People who didn't previously use them because they found the whole deal confusing.  Just because a bunch of techies don't like skeuomorphism, doesn't mean that HUGE numbers of average people aren't greatly assisted by the concept.  

 

Try showing Microsoft's "flat" "modern" Metro UI to a bunch of seniors and then come back and tell me how flatter is better and that skeuomorphism isn't needed.  Metro just a bunch of pretty squares to most non-computer savy folks and completely unusable.  

post #17 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"Flat" doesn't sound promising.

 

It's called Microsoft 'TIles' Jony style...

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post #18 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

and the "Corinthian leather" that appears in the Find My Friends and Calendar applications.

 

700

 

lol.gif

post #19 of 188

Designers Needed - Minimum 5 years experience doing 'flat' at a professional level. 

post #20 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Am I the only one on these forums who loves these skeuomorphic designs?
For example, the green felt in Game Center is fun & whimsical!
And the leather stitching doesn't bother me at all... I kind of like the nice attention to detail that is paid to it.
Nobody else is doing skeumorphic designs, which is another thing that sets Apple apart.
And remember how loudly the audience laughed & cheered when Forstall introduced the paper shredder animation. People definitely appreciate these things.

 

Agreed.  

 

The only one that really bothers me is Contacts as I feel that the book metaphor (especially in OS-X), really gets in the way and actually detracts from the application.  But then Contacts is a horrible ugly thing on any platform and pretty much always has been.  Every time they change it at all it seems like a change for the worst, like the recent change in iOS 6 with the way it handles groups (even poorer than before!).  

post #21 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Am I the only one on these forums who loves these skeuomorphic designs?
For example, the green felt in Game Center is fun & whimsical!
 

 

That is the most egregious example!! It looks like a cheap Vegas casino playing table. Its absolutely garish and horrible.

post #22 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I believe dropping ALL the skeuomorphic designs would be a mistake. While it can certainly be overdone, I don't think that the current iOS or Mac OS X is anywhere near overdoing it.
People complain about the fake leather in the calendar. Just what harm does it do? Absolutely none. But what it does do is make the app more approachable and attractive. Game Center gets a lot of criticism, but it's clear that you're at a game table when you use that app. Again, I don't see how it could possibly detract.
A flat gray everywhere would be boring and unattractive - and creates exactly the same problems that the current design is supposed to create - it makes people focus on the UI rather than the task at hand.

I disagree. The fake leather look is completely ornamental and non-functional. Even if Forstall stayed on, it would probably be replaced with some other thing texture-of-the-moment in 2-3 years, since it has no basis in function. I think it's completely at odds with Apple's philosophy and aesthetic. An "Intel Inside" sticker wouldn't hurt anybody either, but it would be a travesty on an Apple machine. Ditto ripped paper, glossy wood, etc. They're distracting to the eye and only stick around until some designer falls in love with the next cool texture, like OS X's pinstripes, glossy plastic, milky white, and brushed metal over the years.
post #23 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

 

That is the most egregious example!! It looks like a cheap Vegas casino playing table. Its absolutely garish and horrible.

 

What would look better, though? I'm asking honestly.

post #24 of 188
"Software designed to look like real-life textures, such as linen or felt, is expected to become a thing of the past at Apple now that designer Jony Ive has taken over the user interfaces of iOS and OS X."

This is complete and total speculation. Ive has been on record in the past that textures are fine so long as they are in good taste, elegant and subdued,

"But Ive is said to loathe skeuomorphist designs, which means Apple's software is expected to have a significantly different look and feel in the future."

Likewise, he has also said visual metaphors can be useful and appealing provided they are done well. I think iBooks is great, but Find My Friends is garish. Many of the designs serve a useful purpose to users unfamiliar with digital functionality. They're not going to just go away. Look for more refined, elegant designs that enhance the functionality of the app, not detract from it.
post #25 of 188
Some instances of skeuomorphism are lame--in particular, OS X Contacts is terrible. However, I do like it in some places, such as Notes and Reminders. A balance needs to be struck. Hopefully any future Ive design won't swing the pendulum too far back the other way.
post #26 of 188
If Jony Ive places functionality above all else, why is the new iMac so thin that the RAM is now non-upgradable? How is that a benefit to anyone (unless you spend your time gazing fondly at the new iMac's slim profile)?!
post #27 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This isn't even in the "rumour" category. This is merely repeating the idle speculation of other bloggers.
Personally, I doubt that Ive will have much "hands on" with iOS design at all. Industrial and 3D design shares almost nothing with 2D and software design. Just because Ive can design an iPhone, doesn't mean he has any idea what to do when it comes to software.
I've said this before, but one only has to look at Ive's horrible taste in clothes and the intensely tacky house he recently bought to see that his skills are not as wide as some people believe.
And Steve Jobs had great taste in clothes? Or Scott Forstall for that matter? Man are you reaching here.
post #28 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

That is the most egregious example!! It looks like a cheap Vegas casino playing table. Its absolutely garish and horrible.

Not that I disagree with you, but have you ever been to Vegas? It's not exactly subtle. lol.gif
post #29 of 188
Personally, I hate the skeuomorphism when it serves no function- rubbish bin and folders yes as they convey real information but fake leather? Why? What for? However, I cannot imagine it is beyond the wit of Apple's software guys to give us a choice. Those that want the tinsel and rotating mirror balls can have them so long as I don't have to go to the Terminal to get rid of them. More importantly, get back to real MacOS interface guidelines that we can all understand and use and don't turn the Mac into a fake iPad without the touch interface.
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post #30 of 188
I always felt that the skeuomorphic designs played into one Apple's strengths - the lack of variety in target screen sizes - thus allowing app designers to make pixel perfect designs.
post #31 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post


Not that I disagree with you, but have you ever been to Vegas? It's not exactly subtle. lol.gif

Six Januarys in a row :) Going back this coming January for CES 1smile.gif

post #32 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

the intensely tacky house he recently bought.

 

It's a house that will perfectly fit in London. If you weren't raised in Europe you just wouldn't understand.

post #33 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


People complain about the fake leather in the calendar. Just what harm does it do?

At the very least Apple is inconsistent: iPhone calendar is not skeuomorphic at all.


Edited by paulmoscow - 11/1/12 at 10:48am
post #34 of 188
inspired by WP 1rolleyes.gif ?
post #35 of 188

I happen to like the textures.  

Don't screw it up Jony.

 

Time will tell.

post #36 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I've said this before, but one only has to look at Ive's horrible taste in clothes and the intensely tacky house he recently bought to see that his skills are not as wide as some people believe.

???

Wow! That is a very bold statement! Some would argue that his taste is actually quite impeccable, hence his top design position at one of the most design savvy tech companies in the world. I am curious what your definition of good taste is?
post #37 of 188

I think Ive's choice of house is rather nice, not at all "tacky" as some jealous individual sucking on sour grapes suggested. The house looks rather British. I've seen many houses looking like that in the posher parts of Oxford.

 

As for the unsophisticated skeuomorphic designs I will not be sad to see them go - particularly the unusable-for-business Templates in iWork. I've written loads of times to various execs in Apple complaining of these for years now, perhaps now we can tear off the frills and actually have things work better for a change? Maybe the once-famous but recently declining software integration Apple was famous for when I switched 7 years ago will now get the attention that was previously put into the awfully kitsch software designs. I am really looking forward to seeing the changes!


Edited by SwissMac2 - 11/1/12 at 10:53am
post #38 of 188

Good, the sooner the better. iOS is looking dated, especially next to Microsoft's metro/tile interface. Oh and Jony's new San-Fran home is actually quite nice if a bit on the frilly side! I suppose it reminds him of Blighty, and he's married right? So his other half probably had a major role in choosing it too.


Edited by 1983 - 11/1/12 at 11:04am
post #39 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I think Forestall is (perhaps unconsciously) aping his mentor again by getting "fired" at the peak of his career.  Remember, Jobs was an abrasive asshole as a young man also.  Now Forestall will spend a few years in "exile" doing some other project that won't work out, only to return to Apple after he has matured as a saviour of sorts in 2022 after Tim dies and Schiller has retired to his lazy-boy recliner.  

As for skeuomorphism, it gets a bad rap because most of the tech press is, well ... techies.  And they have no idea about design or the possible reasons for such skueomorphic designs.  True, they have gone a bit too far lately but many of Apple's designs in this category are not only successful and popular, they are necessary.  

Think about it.  If iBooks wasn't a book shelf but a simple list of titles for example, how does the average user tell the difference between a list of books on their device and a list of items in the store?  They *need* two separate metaphors there.  

It's also confusing enough for the average person to tell the difference between iTunes the store (on their device) and iTunes the player (on their device).  Apple is introducing a whole new group of people to computers for the first time with iOS.  People who didn't previously use them because they found the whole deal confusing.  Just because a bunch of techies don't like skeuomorphism, doesn't mean that HUGE numbers of average people aren't greatly assisted by the concept.  

Try showing Microsoft's "flat" "modern" Metro UI to a bunch of seniors and then come back and tell me how flatter is better and that skeuomorphism isn't needed.  Metro just a bunch of pretty squares to most non-computer savy folks and completely unusable.  

I like a lot of the flourishes. I even liked the brushed metal. I never understood what some people hated about it. The grey that followed is bland and boring.

One reason natural materials are more interesting to us it that their surfaces are far more complex. Wood grain or stone is very complex. When we look at Corian, for example, trying to imitate marble or granite, it isn't as satisfying because the particles are too evenly matched as to size and shape. It looks artificial. Even the fake leather in Apple's designs are far more complex that the simple greyscale used, and are more interesting.

The thing is, while many designers, and techie types, may hate them, the average person likes them. Sometimes, simplicity for simplicities sake isn't better. Microsoft has gone to the extreme with Win 8, and it looks horrible. It's as about as bland and boring as can be possible. I surely hope Apple won't follow that path. Even if they do, it will still be better looking, as Microsoft doesn't ever seem to have talented designers working on these things. I don't think I can ever have said that any Microsoft software looked good. It has always been clashing colors that don't go together, poor type selection, etc. Very amateurish.

I hope iBooks won't give us the flat page that both the Kindle and Nook apps have. They aren't easier to read, if anything, they're more difficult. I do agree with one criticism on iBooks. If they're going to imitate a book, they should have the thickness of the pages change as we read through. Start with a page on the left, and a large number on the right which changes as we move to the end.
post #40 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by alansky View Post

If Jony Ive places functionality above all else, why is the new iMac so thin that the RAM is now non-upgradable? How is that a benefit to anyone (unless you spend your time gazing fondly at the new iMac's slim profile)?!

Weight.

Size.

Highly valuable functions.

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