In light of the upcoming launch of iOS 7, designer Stu Crew and other designers have imagined what a version of the OS X operating system with iOS 7 design principles could look like. Crew’s design matches iOS 7 by removing the heavy, metaphoric textures from OS X. The image above showcases a look at a desktop with many of the apps, and you can see how Finder, Calculator, Contacts, and iTunes received inspiration from iOS 7.

With iOS 5, iOS 6 and OS X Lion, OS X Mountain Lion, Apple moved to unify both the feature-sets and user-interfaces of its mobile and desktop operating systems. This fall, due to a leadership change at Apple, iOS and OS X will see different design philosophies. iOS 7 is “flat,” lacks heavy textures, while OS X retains its long-existing silver/metal design, keeps the green felt in Game Center, but drops the leather in Calendar and Contacts.

With integrated experiences and uniformity embedded into Apple’s DNA, it would not be surprising to see OS X look like iOS again in coming years. Below is a full gallery from Crew (in addition to some more mockups from other designers) of what an iOS 7-inspired OS X could look like.

Another mockup here (click image for full-size):


Notification Center concept from Dribble:


Messages concept from Dribble:



Reader Edgar Rios put some of his own mockups together:





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72 Responses to “A look at what an iOS 7-inspired OS X could look like [Gallery]”

  1. Looks strikingly similar to Google+ and ChromeOS…

  2. Umm … Can we all agree, this looks terrible?

  3. Don’t give ideas, please.

  4. Liam Wise says:

    The calculator looks nice and the Finder window looks pretty cool. Everything else though…

  5. First mockup and two from the Dribble are not bad actually.

  6. Seriously… on a post like this… please user the correct grammar! the moment I find a grammar mistake I loose respect for your whole project! how can you not pay attention to such details when you’re designing something for Apple?

  7. E.j. Hunyadi says:

    God, I hope not. It looks like OSX Vista. Ugh.

  8. you guys are going the right direction, but need to put many more house to perfect this. It still looks like a touch controlled operating system on a large screen. don’t just bring the screenshots of the iOS 7 and put them in a frame. Think what the best way would be to implement those features. creates new ideas. make it BETTER! you know?
    like the circles on the top left corner, why are they hollow? fill them. and when you hover you can see the ‘X’ and the ‘+’ signs. and make system bar on top thinner a bit and see what it will look like.
    if OS X is a big step, start with the Apple TV OS and see if you can make it better with the minimalist iOS 7 inspirations.

    • mattjt21 says:

      Did you seriously make remarks about proper grammar in a post 5 minutes prior to this? Really? From your post, “but need to put many more house to perfect this”; how many more “homes” should they put in to perfect this? I am not trying to be a jerk, but… really?

    • mattjt21 says:

      It may be autocorrect. But there are several other spots as well. I just hate it when those rip someones grammar and then can’t spell the word. I am not an English major, nor do I pretend to be. I normally won’t comment on someones spelling, etc. Unless they do it and fail.

  9. Absolutely awful and terrible :(

  10. first impression, i thought i was looking at a windows 8 machine

  11. Some of this looks good, but I think the designers really miss the mark. I like the metallic look of OS X, and I know a lot of other people who do too. My only problem with the UI in Lion, and Mountain Lion has been the use of the leather appearance in Calendar, and Contacts. Over time, Apple has made less use of the original Aqua look, and moved toward flatter buttons. That’s a good thing. It’s good to have refinements as time goes on. I really don’t understand this obsession with “flat” that so many people have. What’s so offensive about metallic textures, and 3-D elements, and photo-realistic icons? My access to iOS 7 has given me some appreciation for the new UI, but it has left me wanting to go back to iOS 6 (which I did recently). True, iOS 7 is still beta software, and I totally expected there to be bugs, and there still are, even after several preview releases. Once i tested the functions that I wanted to test, I happily went back to iOS 6. I think the rush to move to a “flat” interface could leave a lot of people wishing for the old look. Changing the look of the UI just for the sake of doing it really doesn’t have any benefit. I hope that Apple understands this. For the most part, I’ve always loved the changes that they have made, but slapping a “flat” UI over everything without any real benefit is just dumb.

    • fjpoblam says:

      Don’t worry, Howie. (Well, really, I suspect you’re not, but rather amused, as I am.) “Flat” is just the latest fad, like skeumorphism, and rounded corners, and gradients, and centering, and table layouts, and frames, and classless CSS, and Comic Sans, and on, and on. Lots’ll try it for about a month to six months in their websites and apps and then grow up and move on. (Heck, already, I’ve seen posts about another coming fad within the “flat” world — long shadows on icons. Imagine that.)

    • dsnwiirocks says:

      “Flat” is the result of people switching preferences as time goes on. I personally love both skeumorphic and “Flat” designs. Both iOS 6 and Windows 8 strikes a chord with me. But consistency is an issue. You have, on iOS for example, translucency (like in Reminders), then a completely white menu (like Settings). Yes, it looks like one product, but the philosophy is so loose it almost makes it like 2 different operating systems. That is the issue with iOS 7. Not balanced, and overuse of UI elements by someone who have no idea how to design software. I’m talking to you, Jony Ive.

  12. Joe Bennett says:

    yeah, uh, this is dumb. The reason to go more flat and to remove all skeuomorphism, shadows, etc., on a phone is because (a) the screen real estate is small, (thus all that stuff makes it a bit noisy), and (b) people are now used to touch screens, so the idea of teaching somebody to “press here” because it looks like a button is not necessary.

    The more screen real estate you have, the more you should be able to experiment with things like shadows, buttons, gradients, etc. Windows 8 took this crazy “simplification” thing to its extreme, and the desktop mode of Windows 8 looks worse than Windows 3.1 IMO. (Vista/7 were awful because they has too much eye candy, but the Win8 desktop mode look is simply idiotic).

  13. maulrat says:

    that would look awesome right next to someones Hello Kitty collection, unfortunately I’m lacking said collection … otherwise I think Apple is heading down the path of pure evil, Micropple

  14. This looks like some crappy window manager I was running on my Linux box back in the year 2000.

    But, OTOH, so does iOS 7, so nothing will surprise me.

  15. Andy Brooks says:

    Looks like crap for the sake of looking like crap… Has no depth, no gloss, no shadow, no quality, completely unoriginal, no context between frames, buttons, tool bars, ext.. Aqua was best OS design feature that i have ever seen. It looked so good you wanted to lick it. This is the compete opposite.

  16. Ugh. I hop not. II’m not sure I care for the looks of iOS 7. I guess I’ll have a better idea once the upgrade is on my iPhone.

  17. Eventhough his concept is very well executed, there’s some stuff that I would like for Apple to do differently.
    Remoing the gradient off the Menubar has made it more iOS7-like, but I keep getting a feeling of Windows 95 or Apple’s tiger with the menubar and finder’s sidebar. Also, I know Apple chose Helvetica for the overall system font for iOS7, but I don’t see Apple removing such great font as Myriad Pro. Since OS X is designed for bigger screens, the change for Helvetica Neue isn’t needed.

  18. Ezhik says:

    I don’t think Apple’s idea for iOS 7, whatever it’s called would work so well for a desktop OS.

  19. this is coming! Mac OS 11 right here. I think it looks great and its the next logical step

  20. I love the new look for iOS 7 on phones and tablets, and I love the integration of features from iOS to the Mac OSX, but I’d much rather have the current look of OSX on the MacBook than iOS 7. Having a clear distinction from both systems is a good thing and the look of OSX is much more fitting for the desktop. Yeah, definitely keep it separate, the iOS 7 mobile look would not be a good fit for the desktop OS. Take a look at windows 8 phone and desktop, the look is great on phones, when I have it on bootcamp on my MacBook I kinda cringe.

  21. Mmmm. Plain and boring. Must appeal to accountants. I am just not reacting well to this change. To each their own I guess. We have options.

  22. Steve Grenier says:
  23. My eyes… This is, to me, extremely ugly. This looks like something that came out of redmond. What the hell has happened, from 1996 when i started to use mac to 2012 apple did one stunning design after another, and then suddenly with IOS 7 they totaly lost all style. I am desperate and feel lost. Fire cook and Ive and make forstall CEO!

  24. Alex Butin says:

    If this is the way how to make Steve alive, he should kick Ive’s ass as much as he can!

  25. Hate it!

    iOS7 looks unfinished. Anything that I could create using Microsoft Paint does not constitute an appealing interface. I understand the need to innovate, but there is nothing in the new OS that has not been done before. One of the main benefits of both the iPhone and iPad is the brilliant display, capable of displaying beautiful details, contrasts and colors. This is entirely lost in an OS that is so meh.

  26. looks awesome! I’d love to see that

  27. I would say that looks better than the current Mac OS X, wouldn’t mind seeing it in a future version.

  28. Jon Gilbert says:

    I’m really liking that.

  29. I realize this is just a mockup, but if this actually gets done there’s no WAY I’m running OS X anymore….forget about it.

  30. if this or something like it, we need shapeshifter again.

  31. Allan Bell says:

    Shocking how divisive this is, I fall on the ‘love it’ side of the fence, I just like minimal flat desktops so would have no issues if this mock-up or something similar became a reality.

  32. Before iOS 7 came out, Apple fan boys dissed the “flat” approach so much…Now that Apple did it officially, there’s no problem no more…As many said, the Aqua UI is the shit and that’s why it will stay.

  33. I hate flat period. Stop listening to the bloody hipster bloggers and out of work designers/critics. They are out of work for a reason. Stick with what works and slowly evolve your product. Be a leader instead of a follower Apple.

  34. This is beyond horrible. I really hope any changes to OS X are subtle and thought-through.

  35. gngrwzrd says:


  36. Dear god is that calculator awful looking.

  37. Gary Dauphin says:

    Yuk. Now having second thoughts about the UI of iOS7….

  38. En vez de mejorar o quedarnos con lo con lo que mejor se veia, parece que todos toman la idea de recaer en texturas simples la verdad se ve horrible, espero que se conserven las texturas como hasta ahora porque la verdad no me gusta como se ve OS X con el estilo de iOS 7

  39. These designs remind me of…System 7.

  40. John Mason says:

    If I wanted my computer to look like a phone…

    OS X shouldn’t seek the lowest common denominator, it needs to once again raise itself to the heights it once enjoyed; the de facto standard for those who use computers for more than gaming and social networking. If I want “one size fits all” Microsoft is the answer. I can join the race to the bottom. If I want quality computing, it (well,once was) buy Mac.

    Mac and Apple are distinct brand identities. MacBook, Mac Pro, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad. Let’s keep it that way±!

  41. Ryan Brophy says:

    Will all the nerds in the room chill the carp out! Here is the thing… This is a concept, for all the people who are to stupid to notice. Oh, and you guy just need to deal with the fact that Apple is going to be a different company now. if you want in, then stay… But if you want out then leave and never come back! I’m sick and tired of you people complaining!

  42. newebx says:

    I only like Notification center.

  43. Apple without Steve Jobs is not an encouraging history, and if OSX ends up looking anything like these mockups, not an encouraging future either.

  44. This is horrible. Not many things could make me dump OSX, but throwing away 40 years of desktop UI design in favor of a UI designed to run on smartphones would do it. And frankly, the more they make OSX look like Windows, the less I want to use it. Flat is a fad.

    Steve would vomit.

  45. I know this is ultimately just an unofficial mock-up, but for the most part, I personally like it. I have always liked minimal design and I am sure if Apple did make a UI change like this it would be more polished. If people dislike it so much then apps like Shape Shifter will come back. Someone will code a skinning app if they hate it that much. In my humble opinion, if Apple wants to appease the people on the fence then they should make it an option you can enable or disable. For me, I like it.

  46. I actually love the first concept. As someone who loves iOS 7, I would love to see this happen.

  47. Red Bastard says:

    Icons look like they’re designed for pre-schoolers, no thanks!

  48. Mike Trad says:

    oh god no. please no!

  49. This would probably be the worst thing in the history of OS X.
    If 10.10 would be ‘iOS7 inspired’ like this, ill never update my 10.9…

    • Haha nobody has come back to this article now that OS 10.10 is EXACTLY like these concept photos. It’s actually scary how dead on they were. Down to the Close,Minimize, Full Screen buttons and the transparency, the consolidated new spotlight search, and pretty much everything else.

      But I bet like the Apple fanboy you are you’re probably praising the new OSX and bragging about how Apple did an amazing job as always.

  50. I’m glad Apple is moving forward and getting rid of this overwhelming skeuomorphic aspect.
    That leather in Calendar… uhh…

  51. Mark Addams says:

    Oh look! Isn’t that Windows 8! Apple copying Microsoft? I don’t think so.

  52. this should be done by now -.- they have pictures of it. can i beta test it?