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.”