Apple design teams get cozier as Jony Ive pushes toward a more ‘flat design’ that is starker, simpler

“Last October Apple Inc. announced a management shake-up designed to increase collaboration across its different divisions. Sure enough, some walls have come down, though many others remain,” Jessica E. Lessin reports for The Wall Street Journal. “One of the biggest areas of change has been design.”

“For years, even the esteemed designers of Apple’s mobile iOS operating system, were cut out of the loop on specifics related to new mobile devices their software would be running on, according to several people familiar with Apple’s process. Apple’s industrial design team, led by Jonathan Ive, tapped its own stealth group of software developers to help with prototypes,” Lessin reports. “That dynamic is changing, according to the people close to the company. The stealth software developers still exist. But now, Apple’s mobile software, or ‘human interface’ team, which has been led by executive Greg Christie, is being briefed about industrial prototypes earlier, these people said. The person described the change as ‘a thawing.'”

Lessin reports, “Ive, who is well-known for his sleek, iconic hardware designs, now sits in on the human interface team’s regular review sessions to vet new designs, these people said. Some suggested that in Apple’s next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more ‘flat design’ that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Starker and simpler? Yes, yes, yes – more, please, er… less!

Less is more. – Mies van der Rohe via Robert Browning

Go, Jony, go!

Related articles:
Apple design, Jony Ive and the rise of skeuomorphobia – February 13, 2013
Jony Ive hasn’t been given too much power at Apple – because he’s always had it – February 5, 2013
How Jony Ive will make checking the weather on your iPhone a religious experience – November 2, 2012
Jony Ive’s minimalist design sensibilities likely to reshape the future of iOS, OS X – October 31, 2012
Now the real Jony Ive era begins at Apple Inc. – October 30, 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
Steve Jobs left design chief Jonathan Ive ‘more operational power’ than anyone else at Apple – October 21, 2011


  1. Ok, but don’t stop making what you have and expose the sales to “unavailable” or “not shipping at this time” like was done last October to December that screwed the sales and crushed the investor’s stock value.

    This screw up can never happen again! Steve Jobs would have fired people over what happened and was what triggered the exit from the PowerPC to Intel when IBM and Motorola could not supply the CPUs and delayed the iMac for about a month and a half after the MacWorld show that year.

    1. If you and others are going to bombastically whine about something, at least make it something original…. instead of this going on and on and on and on about the same thing.

      1. Great use of the word bombastically!

        I don’t see what al the brouhaha is all about, they screwed up but it’s fixed now and we will only find out if they’ve learnt their lesson when a new product is released.

        My advice; go out and take a walk, breath in the air brother.

    1. If the Mac OS is so boring to you, go use something bright and brash, like, say, Android.
      Oh, wait, as soon as Apple redesign iOS, Android will suddenly take on a flatter, sleeker appearance.
      In which case you’re screwed, son!

      1. @Rorschach: don’t be such a dickhead.

        SnowLeo had the best interface. I get the idea of making the interface monochrome so that the user concentrates on the content, but Macs are not just for content consumption. They are for content creation and colour is an important distinguishing characteristic that helps to quickly identify the tools – the depletion of color in Lion and ML is very counterproductive.

        Another problem is that the old philosophy of making the most often required functionality immediately accessible has been replaced by a more Windows-like approach. iPhoto 08 was good, the last two versions got progressivly worse (just ask my father, he still isn’t used to iPhoto 11 after over a year).

      1. In their day they were THE high tech expensive gadget to get if you wanted high quality sound recording and reproduction. I still have mine, gathering dust, that can do sound-on-sound recording which was sooo totally kewl in its day for an aspiring musician. Change is inevitable, and in this case it was a good thing.

            1. I used both the 4.2 and 4.S for many years. Built like tanks, utterly reliable, mic input amps with massive amounts of headroom and you could run with these buggers while recording and not get an iota of flutter—try doing that with a UHER 😀

              Load that puppy up with a reel of PER 368 and you’re good to go.

              The Nagra DII was also a killer piece of kit—oh for the good old days…


            2. FYI, the 377 was a hotrod version custom-built by ITA in London. The problem with the A77 was that the control panel protruded out over the deck making getting your chinagraph in to mark your edit point a bit of a fishing exercise. The 377 made the whole thing flatbed, putting the controls flush with the tape desk, made the EOT light switchable (great when you came to rewind the tape) and had all three tape speeds from 3.75 to 15 ips. There was even a version that went from 7.5 to 30 ips for the serious nutter.

              Wish I still had it—I’ve got reels of Ampex Grand Master to be transcribed.


            3. Well, if your tapes haven’t got signal deterioration from cosmic radiation, or the iron oxide isn’t flaking off, or the tape hasn’t become brittle. Be ready to transcribe the first, and possibly only, time you play the tapes.

            4. Yehhhh. I also pine for the first portable video camera I used. A deck hanging from the shoulders – about 16x16x6″. The batteries on a belt like a diver’s belt – and able to function as one. And the camera itself — about the size of three generation 1 cell-phone bricks put together. 🙂

    1. At last and much needed. It actually loads straight away instead of 10-20 seconds, icon view is now usable, the pointless reel-to-reel is gone and all round a better app. I’ll actually use it now.
      Skeumorphism begone!

  2. Ive is pushing a more ‘flat design’ that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details

    This doesn’t make much sense to me. Here we have a renowned engineer and designer in the 3D space working with GUI designers, who traditionally work in the 2D space, which is by definition FLAT. So…

    My belief is that Jony Ive is actually moving the 2D GUI folks into the 3D GUI space, with wonderful results to begin showing up in the next rendition of OS X, or OS XI or whatever is the next revolution.

    It would sort of make sense to start with the manipulation of 2D objects within a 3D space as a method of carefully bringing the user up the learning curve. This stuff is fundamentally new to everyone. What little there has been in 3D GUIs hasn’t been much more than zooming stuff and camera rolling around stuff. There’s a whole world of virtual reality 3D GUI to for us all to explore.

    I remember when the first work with 3D virtual reality began circa 1993 or 4. A friend of mine was coding it for one of the pioneering VR companies over in the UK. I remember putting on the giant headset and walking around the VR space using the fat glove to manipulate clunky stuff. So here we are about 20 years later with it finally about to enter the OS GUI space in a real way. I can hardly wait. 😀

    1. VR was way ahead of the processing power required to make it work well, but man, I’m looking forward to it becoming utilized by someone. I recall reading an article in Rolling Stone in about ’93 about VR pioneer Jaron Lanier and how he taught himself to juggle using virtual balls whose velocity was slowed down by software. He gradually sped up the program and after practicing in the virtual world was able to juggle in the real one.

  3. I trust these guys. If there are leaks, who do these leaks benefit? Us or the copiers? I am perfectly happy to remain in the dark till the reveal. OK. I never shook my Christmas Presents. I loved the surprise. ‘Course, it wasn’t as if the neighbour kid was going to copy my Christmas presents if he knew what they were

    1. Yeah, but you can bet the hacker crook kids working for the parasite corporations (hello Samsung!) would LOVE to hack into Apple and steal all the code. They’d be shaking the hell out of the Christmas presents, X-Raying the boxes, viewing them through IR cameras, ad nauseam.

      1. I think you missed my point. I was only suggesting that the folks who leak the information through the regular channels, news, blogs, etc. aren’t doing me any favours. I trust Apple to make insanely great products. Apple Security should be tightened up even more to keep everyone out. Hackers, bloggers, news-dicks, all of them. Just let them get on with doing what they do best. 🙂

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