I’ve never been a fan of the cheesy leather stitching that’s crept into OS X and iOS 6.
Actually, let me rephrase that:
I loathe it.
It’s not like I’m alone. I’ve never had a problem finding people equally repelled. Many in the design community have openly expressed their contempt.
This is the “skeuomorphism” issue that has reportedly been a point of dissension inside Apple between the Scott Forstall and Jony Ive camps. Should apps be designed to look like their real-world counterparts?
It’s one thing to create a skeuomorphic theme for an app. It’s quite another to create one that dates back to ancient times. I’ve never had a “desk blotter” calendar. Maybe my father did. Certainly no one under 40 can relate to it.
And what is it about the Find My Friends app that deserves the leather stitched treatment?
Particularly in OS X, this type of design is a noticeable blemish in an elegant interface whose muted grays are designed not to distract.
Fortunately, Tim Cook has just restored order. Jony Ive alone is now responsible for “human interface” across all Apple products.
If you think about it, Tim just fixed a huge problem. Apple has always boasted that it creates superior products because it controls the hardware and software. Yet there was one person in charge of hardware design, another in charge of iOS 6 and another in charge of OS X.
Each OS needs a capable person to manage it, which they now have. Putting Jony in charge of interface across all products makes perfect sense. No longer will Jony’s team design amazing devices, only to have another team compromise them with questionable software design.
Back when the skeuomorphic design first appeared in Lion, I published a critical article about it.
That post concluded with the following sentence: “I just have one request for the next version of OS X: please run it by Jony before you do anything rash.”
Thank the technology gods that this will now be Apple’s official policy.