I am admittedly immersed in the Apple ecosystem. Everytime I try to climb out (buying Win 8 products or a Chromebook), I still get sucked back in. One of the things I can’t stand about Apple’s current GUI on their OS and iOS is the use of skeumorphism.
In a nutshell, skeumorphism is taking something digital and making it look like paper. For instance, the Notes app is designed to look like a yellow legal pad written upon with a black marker. The iCal app has “leather-bound” edges. Apple’s Address Book looks like, well, an old-fashioned address book.
Wired.com points out today that Apple is on a hiring spree. With Steve Jobs gone and Scott Forstall ousted, we’re entering a new era of design under Jony Ives.
“The early days of the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad perhaps necessitated skeumorphic design to acclimate users to new apps and programs that accomplished tasks in new ways. But it’s no longer needed. The concept of the desktop and the graphical user interface isn’t foreign anymore. We’re grown comfortable with the swipes, double taps and myriad other gestures that can dismiss applications or open up shortcuts in the blink of an eye.”
Apple is hiring senior software engineers to help re-imagine the graphical user interface, someone to develop new APIs and frameworks (iOS) and even someone to help give Siri a personality.
Brilliant design doesn’t happen overnight but here’s hoping, infused with new ideas and creative energy, Apple can eventually move away from the skeumorphism that looks to the past and moves into the clean lines and gesture-based design of the future.