iOS 7 ‘black, white and flat all over’: Why Jony Ive doesn’t like skeuomorphic design

The "black, white and flat all over" look of the iOS 7 is not really a great surprise. With Apple co-founder Steve Jobs gone and Scott Forstall, creator of the iOS, ousted by current CEO Tim Cook, Sir Jonathan Paul "Jony" Ive, SVP for industrial design, can now impose his vision. For years, rumors have been going around that Ive does not like skeuomorphic design. The iOS 7 will be a confirmation of that.

The iOS 7 will drop the heavy textures of the earlier versions of the iOS and inject a subtler and more unified black, white and flat feel. The new software will do away with the usual lock screen and instead introduce a shine-free interface to access the device. Round buttons will be introduced for the security code interface and notifications will be more useful with more options for interactivity. Expect the wooden shelves on the newsstand to be gone, and users will be treated to more useful widgets.

The Old Design Will Not Thrive Says Ive

According to sources, the Cupertino-based company has been working on the design of the iOS for quite some time, and is not focusing too much on adding new features but on giving it a fresh look.

Ive, the champion of designs at Apple, thinks that skeuomorphic design elements that come with physical metaphor do not have what It takes, to last. This information was shared by an unnamed source that personally know of the design discussions between Ive, Forstall, Jobs and Greg Christie, vice president for human interface at Apple.

The source said that Ive sees the differing designs used for the current applications of iOS to be quite confusing for users. One good example is the yellow pad Notes app contrasting the looks of the white and blue Mail, silvery look of the Maps app, and the casino feel of the Game Center.

Ive is now faced with a great challenge of giving the iOS a seamless and pure look as his great work with the aluminum and glass combo for the Apple devices. The new software must impress the customers or the brand has to worry about a good number of complaints from about half a billion current owners of its products.

Sources also said that Ive's touches wafted through every corner of the of the iOS 7 while he makes sure that the software still has that essential touch to make it click to every segment of the target market.

The British designer will give the iOS 7 a good dose of conformity with the new black-white-flat scheme that he has been thinking and tinkering for quite some time now.

More than Just a Facelift

As iOS 7 kills the skeuomorphic looks, the change might be more than just superficial.

Tim Worstall, on his article on Forbes, took note of the possible implications of the changes. Will it be really good for end users? Somehow, skeuomorphic design hits a certain spot with consumers. One will be more comfortable writing on a notepad that really looks like a real-world notebook.

Of course, our ways changes and the new design will serve as a transition as the imagination and creativity of Ives looks to take Apple into the next decade.

Apple is expected to launch iOS 7 at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June and the company probably is hoping that the design facelift given to its mobile operating system will be accepted well by iOS fans.

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