Jony Ive leaves his mark as Skeuomorphism vanishes from Podcasts app

“It has been nearly six months since Tim Cook fired long-time iOS manager Scott Forstall. Now, we’re beginning to see what this shakeup has meant for the company, and for iOS,” Brian M. Wolfe reports for AppAdvice.

“Very little is known about iOS 7, Apple’s first mobile OS without Forstall as a manager,” Wolfe reports. “However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Ive is pushing a ‘flat design’ that is ‘starker and simpler’ than past versions.”

Wolfe reports, “The first indication of what the iOS reboot may ultimately look like takes the form of the recently updated Podcasts app. Version 1.2… includes a number of new tools. However, its biggest change is the loss of the reel-to-reel skeuomorphism of past versions.”

Read more, and see the screenshots, in the full article here.


  1. I found Skeumorphism enchanting early on, but I got bored and annoyed by it fairly quickly. This is a positive step, and I can’t wait until it is implemented across all of OSX.

      1. I’m not a fan of skeumorphism either, but I DID like the virtual reel-to-reel tape machine in the Podcast App. The visual display in conjunction with fast forward and rewind gave the user really excellent feedback.

        Shame really.

  2. You knew the reel-to-reel was going to be the first symbolic thing to change. Not very Apple like even thought I kind of liked it.
    It had no function, I would have liked to used my finger to drag the tape back a little when I wanted to hear something again, it had to go.

  3. I know the reel-to-reel scheme is needless eye candy in terms of UI design, but as someone who is old enough to have owned high end reel-to-reel tape decks when they were the epitome of tech, I will miss the nostalgia inducing imagery.

    1. I think there is a middle ground between pseudo-leather desk calendars and lists of appointments. The trouble is good ideas in the software user interface just seem to come and go without warning. I’m hoping for a consistency that will let you always know when you’re using an Apple app just like you always recognize current Apple hardware, even before you see the logo.

    2. Apple will not offer you a choice. Apple knows exactly what you need and will give it to you. Good gawd, fanboi, are you not fully assimilated yet? Better finish your Kool-Aid, the last train to Zombieville is leaving the station.

    1. There’s not need at all to use LaunchPad unless you really want to. And enough people like it that there’s no reason to get rid of it, since it’s not the only way to launch applications.

  4. I work in audio production, so the first time I saw those reel-to-reel tapes in podcasts, I thought it was cute. After that, there wasn’t much to say about it. The cuteness was gone, quickly, and then it seemed like half the screen was being used to display something that wasn’t really helpful. The only feedback it gave was showing different amounts of tape on the different reels to show how far you were in the podcast. That was clever and all, but way less intuitive than the timeline than was also on the screen.

    Skeuomorphism is sometimes talked about like it is an always negative thing. It absolutely is not. But in this case, there just wasn’t a benefit from it, so it’s not surprising that it went away.

  5. YES – I have been waiting for this thread.

    Everything, that all the complainers complained about, was fixed, added, and removed from the PodCasts. App.

    What I love the most, On-The-Go. I lived without it. However it makes my drive to work so much better. Organized play in the order I choose, the podcasts I choose. Brilliant.

    Well I am mixed on loosing the R-R. However I can live without it, if it added to instability. The app does seem more stable and efficient.

    Thanks Jony. Keep it up. Let’s apply this to the whole iOS 7. Can we cast him in gold? Please, I need an effigy.

    People, start getting excited. Three more months to the “reveal”

    1. “Everything, that all the complainers complained about, was fixed, added, and removed from the PodCasts. App.”

      I still can’t listed to my Podcasts from Oldest to Most Recent. Apart from the early bugginess I have always loved the Podcast app, even the skeumorphism.

        1. Thanks BLN, that works within a single podcast, but not within a Station.

          I want to use the default ‘All UnPlayed’ podcasts playing the oldest first, but the Settings here only allows ‘My Podcasts Order’, ‘Most Recent’ or ‘Manual’.

  6. Skeumorphism strikes me as a transitory step, as we’re still early days in moving from physical to the digital in many ways. I expect the natural progression will be where the design increasingly adapts itself solely to the new devices without need for visual reference to what it replaced.

    Remember how early car designs were hitched (ha) to buggy and coach designs for awhile before they became their own thing? Or electric guitars were simply acoustic copies for a long time? Example — look what’s becoming of the quaint old uke!

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