Jony Ive, iOS 7, and what Apple learned from MySpace

“While we don’t know when iOS 7 will make its debut, here’s what we do know: it will be the biggest reinvention of Apple’s flagship OS in years — perhaps ever,” Ben Parr writes for CNET.

“If Scott Forstall was skeuomorphism’s biggest advocate, then Jony Ive is its biggest opponent. Ive is well known for his appreciation of simplicity and flatness — neither of which describe iOS. But if recent reports are accurate, Ive is putting his stamp on iOS in a big way,” Parr writes. “iOS 7, which should make an appearance at Apple’s WWDC in June, will feature a flatter, ‘de-glitzed’ interface. It’s such a big overall that Apple is pulling additional resources to complete iOS 7 on schedule.”

Parr writes, “With iOS 7 set to take the iPhone in a completely different direction, the big question is this: how will users react? As Facebook has taught us, major changes to a popular user interface will always cause controversy and dissent. There’s no doubt that users will question Ive’s decision to drastically change a familiar interface with a foreign one. The initial backlash will not be pretty. MySpace taught us a more important lesson, though: if you don’t evolve, you die.”

Read more in the full article here.


      1. Absolutely – bang on answer.

        Apple Inc. became the new companys’ name as iPhone was rolled out. The direction of the company was to embed its system on regular devices to enhance our lives. There is lots still to come.

    1. The concept of “Flagship” is not about numbers. It’s the ship that you are most proud of, the one that carries the most powerful armament, the one that often carries the admiral, the one that is most special, and for Apple, that’s the Mac.

      The flagship of the US Navy is the USS constitution, a wooden frigate, launched in 1794 still in active service.

      OS X is the flagship operating system of Apple. Only a moron analyst would call iOS the flagship OS.

      1. The word ‘flagship’ originates from the days of the wooden masted sailing ship that flew the flags of the Admiralty. Ships of the line would obtain their commands for battle from the flagship which would be relayed from ship to ship by a system of flags hoisted on the mainmast that would be tall enough for all the surrounding ships to read the message conveyed by the flags.

        Using the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 as an example, Admiral Horatio Nelson’s ship, The Victory, was the flagship of the fleet because the commands originated from that ship and not from any other ship, despite the fact that there were other ships in the fleet which carried more guns and were heavier than The Victory.

        Nelson’s famous series of flags hoisted just before battle commenced said, “England expects every man to do his duty,” which has gone down in the annals of history as the most iconic message before a sea battle.

        A flagship OS for Apple would be the one where the most cues were taken and that remains OS X as iOS is an offshoot of OS X.

        1. Wow, I am duly impressed. Actual knowledge spewing from BLN.I’m retired Navy myself, and was about to post how ships became designated a flag ship.

          In modern parlance, Admirals have their own flag called a pennant. It is flown on the top most mast aboard the ship the Admiral is posted to. That ship is chosen for its living quarters and fleet command/control infrastructure. In today’s Navy that means a carrier.

        2. IOS may have originally come from OSX, but now OSX is getting features that came from iOS. IOS is where the fierce competition is. The days are gone where some new feature is a strong driver of Mac sales. But the fierce completion with Samsung and Android means than iOS is the flagship for Apple’s latest ideas.

      2. in business its about revenue and profits

        MBP’s are the best development workstations these days and the Acura/Lexus choice for consumers. but computer purchases are like washers and dryers these days. its something you buy for the next 5 years or more.

        iOS is what everyone is talking about these days

        1. Sadly, Apple would not have survived long, if not for iOS.

          The devices completed the idea of the Apple ecosystem. The need for a desktop in order to connect to your video camera or iPod meant OSX was very important.

          Now that iOS can has been freed from the PC connection – things are going to get very interesting.

      3. “the one that carries the most powerful armament” – are you telling us this wooden frigate of 1794 is still the US Navy most powerful ship? OF course you aren’t – It was the Flagship of its time and is still regarded in honour of the US Navy as the height of the fleet – with all due respect.

        One can consider OSX as the flagship… however, iOS has been the turning point.

        It provided the power to change the minds of the world and aided in the decline of the PC. Not only is it about the power of its numbers but the aim of the company itself moved towards.

        Apple Inc. is no longer Apple Computer.
        It remains strongly a Software & Hardware company offering the complex package.

        1. *complete package

          The business model is been the same…
          insanely great products inspired to think difference.

          The quality of hardware is one factor, the beauty of its software is the difference.

          This time around iOS is the software making the differences here at Apple.

      1. Yes by all means we should go back to the 50’s. Before Civil rights, women’s rights, the Leave it to Beaver, when everything was right in America. That is, if you were WAP.

        We should forget teaching evolution in our schools as well. Forget moving forward to ensure everyone’s rights including the LGBT’s.

        The conservative movement is killing itself. They are all afraid of being beaten in a primary election by the far leaning right of the Tea Bagger’s. They have done it to themselves and I can just sit back and laugh.

        1. Be very careful what you wish for; enjoy the current moment, for it will leap up and bite you soon enough. Rejoicing in one’s political views that exclude (in hate for) others in their “rights” leads to anarchy, pure and simple!

      2. Good saying! Though I hope that is not the case this time. I have to agree a little, so far I vote the OS I find most productive to be Snow Leopard. The Lion Family isn’t doing much for me, yes it has some improvements but many “Why did they do that” moments as well. Snow Leopard’s strong point is logical bells and whistles and not a lot of stuff that just gets in the way.

        Lion was the first OS ever, and I’ve used them since ’85 that I just didn’t fall in love with. But I use it.

    1. Well said. Personally, I’m extremely nervous about this major shift. Jony and Steve J. worked together many years. I’m wondering why Steve never previously put him in charge of software design?

      1. I think Steve was smart enough to see people’s strengths and value. iOS has always been a prime example of great UI design, the gold standard for many years. It’s only now that it’s starting to look a little long in the tooth.

  1. It’s not as if Apple’s culture is facing such change for the first time. As a previous story posted on MDN noted, Apple went from System 9 to OSX, three CPU changes and several major Mac hardware changes (no floppy, no CD-ROM, from SCSI to Thunderbolt, HD to SSD, etc.) Jony Ive has already put his stamp on the hardware, albeit with a lot of monitoring from Steve, and we’ve seen his handiwork for more than a decade now. It will truly be interesting to see what he comes up with.

      1. Wow. Two short posts without swearing or name-calling. But in the third, just had to resort to personal insult.
        By the way, as far as “blot on this forum” goes — you may not reeeally want to use that on other people.

            1. The comment isn’t for you. It’s for others. What often serves to take away power from bullies and jerks is social disapproval. And your small-minded, poisonous petulance certainly has considerable disapproval here.

              How about your try to post without any name-calling or swearing — just putting your opinion forward without any vitriol?

            2. is it okay if I just call you “poisonous little toad?”

              hypocrisy |hiˈpäkrisē|
              noun ( pl. hypocrisies )
              the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

            3. re “hypocrisy”

              My name-calling towards you, bottvijerk, is an extreme behavior in response to a pervasive negative presence. I don’t engage in name-calling with any “normal” posts, where I may, for example, disagree with someone’s views on the use of faux-leather.

              So again I propose — How about your try to posting without any name-calling or swearing — just putting your opinion forward without any vitriol?

          1. His swearing, insulting and name-calling is so pervasive, it never occurred to me for one second that calling Rorschach a blot was “merely” a word play joke. Presumed it was just more of his poison.

            And botvijerk, instead of “lol, you’re the dumbest motherfucker that ever lived. It was a joke” why can’t you write something like, “Ah, I see. You missed my joke”?
            Why does so much from you have to so easily explode into such a vomiting of bile?

            1. You may like to read this paper in the American Academy of Family Physicians on “bilious vomiting”…

              Bile is also use as a general term to mean something that is unpleasant to the degree that it is toxic — like many of your posts.

              But enough quibbling — the central point remains — why do you so very frequently swear at and personally insult anyone whose opinions you disagree with? Can you not conduct yourself here without doing so?

            2. ” Rorschach a blot was “merely” a word play joke.”

              You’ve really never heard of a Rorschach test? Seriously?

              Did you ever read “The Watchmen”? Did you not even get what Rorschach’s mask was based on? Egads.

  2. “Ive is well known for his appreciation of simplicity and flatness”

    Or in other words, he has good taste.

    Inappropriate ornamentation is not tasteful. Good taste will still be stylish in many years time, while fashion dates rapidly.

  3. “…here’s what we do know: it will be the biggest reinvention of Apple’s flagship OS in years”

    Or not. Software takes time. There may simply have not been enough time for Sir Jony to get a consistent design permeating the OS.

  4. From Apple DOS to SOS.

    1984 was not so 1984 because of colour and user interface.
    The birth of GUI all started with Mac OS.

    A departure from the grey mundaneness of the butler, servant, in the background. A well rooted – well reasoned use of simple flat, iconic symbols of OS 1 to 5, (colour and textures in 6 to 9 Mac OS classic). After all the system began on a monochrome screen… there was no need for colour. Though television was. Commodore Vic was. Today, “Flat” evokes that of the past. Is there a need to return to the birth of Macintosh now the World is seen in colour, textures and shine?

    Aqua came, it opened the visual language of colour depth rich textures – glossy shiny happy people; full of yummy candy coated icons – a breath of fresh air. Excitement visually. And so, iOS was spun off of OSX and the theme of that rich dimensional lively interface was adopted. Naturally… and not Scotts doing.

    Now lets consider, iOS is so simple that there virtually is no interface. Besides point, press, swipe, pinch…
    iOS is no more then a home page of all it’s apps.
    It could not be simpler.

    But, Android messes that up with its alias – LOL. iOS could not be more direct. The interface is of its Apps. And the Apps visually have provided the excitement. Represented by softly rounded, welcoming buttons, gorgeously painted with graphic symbols and imagery unique to each developer and easily recognizable to the users. FInd the App – use the App.

    Press – Hold – Wait and we get prompts in words as to cut, copy, paste, style, bold etc., – not that intuitive nor graphical – however lets see what Jony does about that. Android uses graphics on that part and it s by no means helpful… the words are better. We learnt not to save – by quitting our work was saved for us. Many odd but reasonable and clever functionalities exist in iOS. On its surface its simple and easy to use, underneath it is quite complex and evolving. Perhaps as it does, the grey mundane look is needed?

    But consider, removing highlights, textures and depth – all artistic terms extremely useful to create realism and less mechanical robotic sensitivity. Then consider, why not, removing colour too… could not get anymore flatter than grey. Right?

    Now we are back to, Simple dull monotone icons / buttons which have no actual purpose in bettering or improve the user experience. Appearance and looks have a hard time expressing true functionality. A back arrow, is that a u-turn sign or a return arrow or a back to home icon? Not always clear. Simple can get confusing. Must be done with extreme care.

    Hurray, So, is Ives bringing back the Newton? I can’t wait to see and try it. But people, this new iOS7 will effectively cast the same theme onto OSX… so be prepared for a double shock.

    1. There’s no evidence that Sir Jony prefers “flat” whatsoever! It’s just rumour at this stage. What was “flat” about the iMac for example?

      1. And, wherever the word “flat” came from, it is inappropriate here. There is a world of difference between “I paint my house white because I have no artistic sense whatsoever” and an amazing Japanese flower arrangement made from one flower, one twig and three leaves. The simple elegance of a master designer is far from “flat”.

        1. The beginner sees a phone, with a screen and a home button.

          The student sees pixels, buttons, scrollbars, widgets and apps, all of which look like other things.

          The master sees a phone, with a screen and a home button.

  5. I make a point of taking in the latest version of Windows, Mac OS, and now iOS, regardless of changes. I try to use all default settings. I learn to adapt to the new environment.

    Why? One, it keeps me on my toes. Second, a lot of energy went into the design of the software. Sometimes they get something wrong, but more likely they learn to do something better. When users complain, they complain for reasons of insecurity. I look beyond that.

    Now thats not to mean I don’t like stability and consistency. But I make a stab at it and if I can, adapt.

    1. I don’t think MySpace’s decline was down to it’s UI. MySpace’s downfall was due to Facebook. I’m not sure any comparison with iOS is valuable.

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