Apple’s latest Mac OS X Leopard build shows unified interface, buh-bye brushed-metal

Apple Store“The latest development build of Mac OS X Leopard [build 9A410] finally tackles issues with consistent style that many say have plagued the Apple software for years,” Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider.

Malley reports, “While most of the test versions of the future operating system have so far handled only the many bugs still left in its code, this week’s edition allegedly contains the first signs of obvious visual differences between itself and 2005’s Mac OS X Tiger.”

“The brushed-metal look that first appeared in earnest with Panther has almost completely faded away, according to reports. Well-known holdouts for the style, including Finder, Photo Booth, and Safari, have purportedly abandoned the metallic sheen in favor of the simpler, gradiated style that first appeared in Apple Mail 2.0 and later transferred to Leopard’s version of iChat and the more widely available iTunes 7,” Malley reports.

Full article with screenshots and links to more images here.

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eWeek’s Morgenstern: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard delay is no big whoop – April 13, 2007
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RUMOR: Apple Mac OS X Leopard to replace ‘Aqua’ with ‘Illuminous’ – December 11, 2006
Apple confirms ‘resolution independence’ and more coming in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard – October 23, 2006


  1. Oh, you mean that certain OS that took five years to release the latest Service Pack for, including one year used in an desperate, emergency effort to stop rampant virus attacks? Yeah, I can already see the similarities with the Leopard delay.

  2. While I can perhaps see that neat-freaks like to have everything consistent and the same, I prefer my windows to be clearly different because it makes them much easier to identify when there are many windows open and overlapping. I don’t really like GarageBand’s wood grain look, but it does make it easy to distinguish from iTunes, Quicktime, Adium, and my E-mail, which all look different.

    Is there a best of both worlds? Yes. It would be nice if Apple would give the user a simple ability to tint each app just a bit differently, perhaps allowing them to adjust the colours; one as greyish, another greenish, another bluish, etc.

    I think the real reason behind these changes are that they remind the user of Windows. When you are focussing on getting people to switch, that’s a big issue. It gives them a feeling of familiarity. To a Mac user like me it’s blasphemy, but I won’t leave because of it, so Apple wins on both sides.

  3. The gradients will make for faster screen draws than brushed metal.

    “Lots of us?” Not likely. As a designer, the slight inconsistencies have never been a problem for me or anyone on any of my design teams. Matter of fact, some variation is a plus when navigating through many windows.

  4. I’ve noticed a gradual introduction of depressing gray and more blandness in Tiger, perhaps to appeal to the corporation types.

    I fully expect the three colored window buttons to disappear soon.

    I get depressed just thinking about it.


  5. Yeah, I’ve always thought Apple has made a mistake by not going with the glass look properly. Now we are back to flat grey. God, you could do that in Windows 3.1, but who would have? I really like the touches of black glass that you see rarely on a few Apple apps that has been copied (yet again) by Windows and apps like Toast 8.

    I am still holding out for colourisation, which may be possible with this grey look, as some have already posted. But again, the problem is that idea is 15 years old. I want soemthing cool and glassy and that I don’t want to change!!!!

  6. I like the new look at alot, it fits together really well and sort of stays out of your way better. The grey is darker and stands out against the rest of the window. It all makes the colors appear more vivid in apps and icons.
    Have I mentioned Safari’s new Find? It’s beautiful. It highlights all instances of a string and colors the current focus orange, while greying out the rest of the page. No more searching for that one tiny little highlighted sting on a wordy, busy page (like MDN, for instance).
    It’s coming along very nicely. =)

  7. I liked the brushed metal for certain apps. I feel that Apple could go as far as to give users a method of easy customization where people could select the color, texture, and button setup for each app or for all. It would be nice to set up OSX to have a different color for each app so that its easier to see whats open and track things easier. I would love for Apple to buy shapeshifter and add it to OSX so people could customize the look of their machine the way the linux desktops allow.

  8. UNO rocks! Been using it since day one. Brushed metal was cool for awhile, but it has appeared dated to me for some time now.

    I love the look of Mail. Xtorrent and Acquisition too. Unified is the way to go. I can’t wait to see core animation integrated into the UI as well.


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