Jony Ive

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.

In April, we reported that iOS 7 would have a fresh, yet familiar interface, embracing a flatter style thanks to Jony Ive’s new leadership. In order to get an idea of what we might see in iOS, lets take a look at some examples of how Apple’s design aesthetic has already changed since Jony Ive took over.
iTunes Emails

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.

Podcasts App
Apple launched its dedicated Podcasts app for iOS in June of last year to much controversy. One of its headline features was the prominent reel-to-reel playback interface that took over much of the UI. What was thought by many to be a Scott Forstall influenced design choice was removed in March, when the Podcasts app received a major redesign, losing all reminders of real world, physical objects. Its new interface is much more subtle and clean, and while it loses some of the charm of iOS, puts forward a clear vision for Apple’s new style.

iTunes MiniPlayer


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

WWDCWhen 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:


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About the Author

Michael Steeber

Michael is a Creative Editor who covered Apple Retail and design on 9to5Mac. His stories highlighted the work of talented artists, designers, and customers through a unique lens of architecture, creativity, and community.

Contact Michael on Twitter to share Apple Retail, design, and history stories: @MichaelSteeber