When Jony Ive took over the role of leadership for Apple’s Human Interface in October of last year, many speculated that the style of Apple’s design language across iOS and Mac OS X would also shift towards a flatter, more clean style. This speculation was fueled mainly by Ive’s feelings towards skeuomorphism and his minimalist design aesthetic.
Starting with today’s emailing, Apple has completely redesigned the look and feel of its iTunes promotional emails (Thanks, Nicholas). While perhaps not as stark of a change as something like the podcasts app update, this redesign falls in line with many of Apple’s other recent interface changes, primarily the use of lighter typography and less visual noise.
iTunes 11.0.3, which was launched last week, was a fairly minor update, aside from a new MiniPlayer design which sheds some of the traditional iTunes feel in favor of a flatter design. When viewing large thumbnails of your album art, gone is the glossy title bar and playback controls, replaced with a fairly plain and utilitarian flat black UI.
2013 WWDC Announcement
When Apple sent out its promotional emails for WWDC this year, they created quite a stir around the web thanks to the design of the graphic. Compared to past years, 2013′s announcement is much cleaner and flatter, thanks mostly to its plain, stark typography and lack of heavy textures and rich details. Apple’s trend toward thinner, more modern fonts started last year with iOS 6, and has been becoming more prominent throughout their branding ever since. When Apple ditched Google Maps in favor of their own solution in 2012, they decided to display the map data in Avenir, a slim, modern font new to iOS. This typography also made it over to some of Siri’s results panes.
In addition, iOS 6′s updated weather application also shed its heavy typography in favor of a more elegant look. Similar fonts can be seen on Apple’s iPhone 5 webpage. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see more fonts of this nature appear in iOS 7.
Overall, Jony Ive has only been in charge of Apple’s Human Interface for a few months, and it’s hard to tell in exactly which way he’ll take software design. However, if the changes we’ve already seen are any indication, Jony Ive is taking the same approach to software as he does to hardware: taking an already great product and refining its design down to its purest form.
Update: Apple’s online store homepage has just received a redesign that many have noted includes elements that are rather flat compared to the old design. Gone is much of the rounded edges and new is a much more streamlined, rectangular design: