It must have irked one of the best designers of our time Jony Ive to no end seeing that when you unlock his industrial metal-and-glass marvel, the iPhone, you get to see iOS the way Scott Forstall envisions it. Faux linen background in the pull-down notification bar, stitched leather notepad.
It is called skeuomorphism
and supposedly comforts users with familiar images for their tasks that they are used to from the physical world, but a reel-to-reel tape in the Podcasts app? Steve Jobs, with his calligraphy background and artsy escapades was a big proponent of skeuomorphism, which spilled over to his iOS chief and protege Scott Forstall as well, and never left.
The world, however, is moving along, and today's kids would hardly ever crack a book with covers even, let alone use a paper calendar, or be soothed by a tape reel image. Now with Jony Ive in charge of the design&software synergy at Apple, he can finally apply his award-winning paradigms to iOS too. Sources from Apple said for the New York Times that this unwillingness to change and bow before Sir Jony Ive's vision was one of the main reasons Tim Cook had to let Scott Forstall go, not just the popularized Maps apology fiasco
Hardly anyone can argue that Apple has been at the forefront of handset design lately, coming with unique propositions, while the laggard has been precisely the iOS look and feel, all masked under unsubstantiated arguments of "user simplicity" and "familiar look and feel." Microsoft, which was not known for taking huge gambles, offered its users such a drastic user interface overhaul with Windows 8, tearing down the past, and reports as far back as September
told about internal struggles at Apple giving this overhaul as an example for ditching skeuomorphism for the most part. As a design trendsetting company, the proponents argued, Apple should rise up with something more creative.
A designer working for Apple who declined to be named, said for the NYT that while Jony Ive has been kept at bay for software design meetings so far, "You can be sure that the next generation of iOS and OS X will have Jony’s industrial design aesthetic all over them. Clean edges, flat surfaces will likely replace the textures that are all over the place right now.
We can only imagine the concepts Jony Ive has mentally lined up for iOS going forward, just waiting for a chance to apply them one day, and with the trust laid upon him by CEO Tim Cook, now he has a free pass to do so. Next year is a software year for the iPhone, as this edition just underwent a design overhaul, so are looking forward to some real UI race between Android, iOS and Windows Phone, all for our amusement and benefit.