Now That Jony Ive Is In Charge Of iOS Design, Apps Could Start Looking Like This [Concept]


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As part of the recent executive shakeup within Apple, industrial design guru Jony Ive has been put in charge of a new department that oversees the design of all hardware and software made by Apple. In essence, Ive is the quintessential tastemaker at Apple, a role formerly filled by the late Steve Jobs.

By now you’ve probably heard that Ive isn’t a fan of skeuomorphism, the make-it-look-retro-to-feel-familar design style that has been implemented in iOS under the guidance of Scott Forstall. That’s why Apple’s apps have so much Corinthian leather and stitching, or why the Compass app is designed to look like a literal compass.

Now that Ive is in charge of the overall look and feel of iOS, expect skeuomorphism to start fading away. Concept designer and Cult of Mac reader Adrian Maciburko sent us his take on a new iOS interface design that relies less on the analog aesthetic and more on the digital.

“The idea behind my Crystal Interface concept came from trying to find a balance between skeuomorphism-heavy iOS apps and the more digital metro UI on Windows Phone,” said Maciburko over email. “The challenge was finding a way for the platform to evolve without making drastic changes, because it needed to remain familiar to the huge iOS user base.”

Microsoft has done something original and refreshing with its Metro interface. iOS is starting to feel crippled by Apple’s affection for leather textures and wooden bookshelves. Apps like Messages and Maps feel modern and clean, but then there’s the Notes app. Hopefully iOS 7 brings some consistency to Apple’s minimal design taste.

“After exploring some options, I decided that the Windows Phone Metro UI is too far on the digital end and the apps feel cold and lifeless,” said Maciburko. “Although, I believe a balance between the two directions may be possible. Apple needs to focus on the content and let hardware fade away into the background, and the same needs to happen for the UI.”


  • TECreasey

    I’m liking the ‘crystal interface’ idea. Lets hope Ive and Co does something like this!

  • extra_medium

    Let’s just be done with it and take this to its logical conclusion. Lines of text on a screen. DOS was the ultimate in minimalism.

  • YSR50

    Let’s just be done with it and take this to its logical conclusion. Lines of text on a screen. DOS was the ultimate in minimalism.


    What’s worse? Poorly executed skeuomorphic designs or everything looking the same?

  • MacHead84

    So basically without any contrast and dull?

  • CharilaosMulder

    Skeuomorphism can be great. OSX has always been full of reference to real life objects. Files, folders, an desktop, trash, a dock to put stuff on, textures all over the place (even before Lion). Hack even the language we use everyday is full of age old references. The functionality and usability of apps throughout iOS is highly consistent. It’s the looks of the apps that help you differentiate them, same as on the later versions of OSX.

    True, some apps look kind of ridiculous. Compass, Voice Memos and Find my Friends being the most ridiculous. But let’s not make it too unfamiliar. I’m fine with less textures and other references to real life, but as long as it doesn’t get as bad and boring as most android apps.

  • Jcibicek

    I hope they will make bigger UI changes in the next iOS’s. For me (and i think not only for me) its boring and hackneyed using that almost same graphic design for over 3 years.

  • JamesGunaca

    So, is the Notes app the only one he mocked up? Would love to see the others…

  • Robert X

    I like the original.

  • technochick

    I think many folks will be disappointed that iOS 7 doesn’t cut all the ‘crap’. Yes some of the utterly pointless like the torn paper edge and button shadows. But the leather, green felt etc may just stick around.

  • Allan Cook

    Hope you’re right. Skeuomorphism is silly.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    Lame and BORING!!! I like skeuomorphism! The death of Apple will be listening to all of the idiots online that scream to do stuff their way, instead of doing it the way Apple wants which is how Steve Jobs ran things.

  • alanfabricio_

    Something hás to change ASAP. IOS Apple design hás became boring and kind of OLD. It’s like only the old ones want to use. Ok, it’s very functional and works well, but it’s time to bring 2007 again. The UAU thing. Make users want to use it, use it and use it. It’s like a very looking good meal. First you look it and than eat it.
    Changes NOW APPLE.

  • dcdevito

    Android is winning and is causing the iOS panic

  • C17H19N5

    Given the obvious split of opinion on this issue, why not give the user the choice of a skeuomorphic look or one where the font and background can be customized?

  • tiny_mind

    I’d like to see more of the “Crystal Interface” (sounds like a late 60s early 70s faux punk band) – Notes doesn’t give you a chance to show off much. Looks fine, however.

  • bdude52

    So, is the Notes app the only one he mocked up? Would love to see the others…

    So would I! can you make some more please?

  • Inginious

    I haychu!!

    stop trying to make iOS into plain Android… skeuomorphism sets iOS apart from the bunch!

  • ppanah

    So basically, iOS will start looking like android and windows 8? not looking forward to that.

  • Mystakill

    It’s the looks of the apps that help you differentiate them, same as on the later versions of OSX.

    I’m predicting that everything will become drab, monochromatic, and more difficult to use, much as Finder did when they stripped the color out of and homogenized the sidebar icons. That was *so much better* than before…

  • Steve Lawrence

    When iOS 6 was in beta, people were falling over themselves to see the little-metal-volume-knob-that-glints-when-you-tilt-the-phone, which one could argue is the ultimate in so-called skeuomorphism design. Now half the iPhone community seem hell-bent on tossing it out in favour of what? A featureless grey circle? These design flourishes are what sets Apple apart from the others – the attention to detail. Anybody can do clean and stark – hell, even Microsoft can do it!

  • Mike Sabino

    I like the addition of note Titles, but I would also want to keep the auto-titling if non specific title is entered by the user. Aesthetically this is fine, but overall it doesn’t go far enough.
    -1st, why still keep the ugly yellow if we are going away from the notepad skeuomorphism?
    -Maybe the location size and coloring could be switched between the Date and Title, depending upon how the list is organized?
    -In general, why not place most of the menu buttons on the bottom of the screen rather than the top? Our thumbs are naturally already there thanks to the home screen. Additionally, with the long new iPhone 5 screen, this would be more ergonomic. Also the keyboard is placed at the bottom, so its easier to move form keyboard to function buttons/menus.
    -Is the arrow-like button to enter the note, necessary? We all know to just tap on the main body or title, and as long as there is a line there to separate, this will be obvious. Perhaps, the date can be moved back there, as there will be more space.

  • Troo

    Bad design. On the left, I instantly know that I’m in the notes app. On the right, not at all.

  • FilthyMacNasty

    Every app icon should be reevaluated, with the exception of Otto. I love that little automator.