“Whether they realize it or not, all of those who swipe a finger down from the top of the iPhone’s screen to check for notifications are bearing witness to a big sore point within Apple,” Nick Wingfield and Nick Bilton report for The New York Times. “There, behind a list of text messages, missed phone calls and other updates, is a gray background with the unmistakable texture of fine linen.”
“Steven P. Jobs, the Apple chief executive who died a year ago, pushed the company’s software designers to use the linen texture liberally in the software for the company’s mobile devices,” Wingfield and Bilton report. “He did the same with many other virtual doodads that mimic the appearance and behavior of real-world things, like wooden shelves for organizing newspapers and the page-flipping motion of a book, according to people who worked with him but declined to be named to avoid Apple’s ire.”
“The management shake-up that Apple announced on Monday is likely to mean that Apple will shift away from such visual tricks, which many people within the company look down upon,” Wingfield and Bilton report. “As part of the changes, the company fired Scott Forstall, the leader of Apple’s mobile software development and a disciple of Mr. Jobs. While Mr. Forstall’s abrasive style and resistance to collaboration with other parts of the company were the main factors in his undoing, the change also represents the departure of the most vocal and high-ranking proponent of the visual design style favored by Mr. Jobs.”
Wingfield and Bilton report, “The executive who will now set the direction for the look of Apple’s software is Jonathan Ive, who has long been responsible for Apple’s minimalist hardware designs. Mr. Ive, despite his close relationship with Mr. Jobs, has made his distaste for the visual ornamentation in Apple’s mobile software known within the company, according to current and former Apple employees who asked not to be named discussing internal matters… Axel Roesler, associate professor and chairman of the interaction design program at the University of Washington, says Apple’s software designs had become larded with nostalgia, unnecessary visual references to the past that he compared to Greek columns in modern-day architecture. He said he would like to see Mr. Ive take a fresh approach. ‘Apple, as a design leader, is not only capable of doing this, they have a responsibility for doing it,’ he said. .People expect great things from them.'”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Can’t happen soon enough.
In the early days of computers skeuomorphism often helped users. Steve had it right. He and his minion failed to adapt later on. Nowadays an OS X calendar doesn’t require a faux leather bindings and illusory ripped paper for users to feel comfortable using it. Nor do electronic books need to be housed on fake wooden bookshelves, etc.
The last thing Apple should ever be is wedded to the past.
Throw it all out, Jony!
What does Apple’s chief hardware designer Jony Ive think about Scott Forstall’s faux paper shredders, stitched leather, green poker table felt and other skeuomorphic software designs?
“My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that’s our focus and that’s our responsibility. In terms of those elements you’re talking about, I’m not really connected to that.” – Sir Jonathan Ive, May 23, 2012
Very diplomatic, Jony!
“True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. It is organic with the structure it adorns…” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Analysts upbeat on Apple following Tim Cook’s major management shuffle – October 31, 2012
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Apple software designers sick of doing things Scott Forstall’s way; ‘civil war’ said breaking out – October 10, 2012