“Until today, there had been 4 different variations of the Aqua theme used by Apple for its OS X software: The standard Aqua theme, the new Platinum theme (I believe that’s what its called), the much distained [sic] Brushed-Metal theme, and the funky Woody theme,” Kortney Hohle writes for hohle.net. “Commentators have pointed out on more then one occasion that while Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) has guidelines for which theme to use where, even Apple disregards those rules and uses whatever theme some unknown source in the company chooses. (I’m not even going to mention the Apple Pro apps which use a completely different theme and widget set.)”
Hohle writes, “With [the] release of iTunes 5, we get a fifth variation of the aqua theme, a darker variation of the Platinum theme, and once again a seemingly arbitrary choice that goes against Apple’s own HIG. Certainly Apple can justify this tangential decision by toughting [sic] features that would necessitate a theme change, right? From what I can tell, there’s not much substance behind the style.”
Hohle writes, “So was this additional theme needed? Personally, I like the new look, but that’s not what this is about… I can’t really say that iTunes 5 is any less intuitive then any of the previous versions of iTunes, so the only card that really leaves me to play is the consistency card. Is it important that all apps are skinned the same way, or only that they follow the same general theme?”
Full article, illustrated with comparison screenshots, here.
Sandy McMurray also tackles this topic for Corante here.
John Gruber also provides a very funny take (contains explicit language) on the issue for Daring Fireball here.
Maybe Apple changes things to keep things “fresh” and also to keep the Sonys of the world at bay?
Sony’s new Windows-only ‘Connect Player’ bears eerie resemblance to Apple iTunes – September 09, 2005