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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 198
    netroxnetrox Posts: 681member


    Yes! I am glad to see them go away. 


     


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

  • Reply 2 of 198
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,415member


    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...

  • Reply 3 of 198


    "Flat" doesn't sound promising.

  • Reply 4 of 198
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 198


    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

  • Reply 6 of 198
    ramkramk Posts: 13member
    I actually liked the Apple designs(skeuomorphism) so far.
  • Reply 7 of 198


    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!

  • Reply 8 of 198
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    netrox wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 198
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,606member


    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...

  • Reply 10 of 198
    I hate the wood and the leather, but I really like the tweed. I'll be sad to see it go.
  • Reply 11 of 198



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }
    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.


     


     



  • Reply 12 of 198
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 198

    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

  • Reply 14 of 198
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    Let the Designer hiring spree begin.
  • Reply 15 of 198
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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.  

  • Reply 16 of 198


    As long as it's not inspired by Windows 8

  • Reply 17 of 198

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    "Flat" doesn't sound promising.



     


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

  • Reply 18 of 198
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,540member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



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


     


    image


     


    image

  • Reply 19 of 198


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

  • Reply 20 of 198
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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!).  

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