Apple’s known for sleek metal+glass gadgets, with clean lines, no stickers, and nothing that isn’t absolutely necessary. It’s also known for software filled with faux linen, leather, felt, candy-colored buttons, and previously, transparency, pinstripes, and brushed metal.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has set itself on a new design course, with plain colors, flat lines, and sharp typography. The new design style, previously called Metro, is a stark departure for Windows’ previous glassy Aero style, or the bubbly plastic XP Bliss style.
Microsoft’s not known for innovating on the UI front, but their recent changes in Windows 8 and their other apps has set off a wave of changes across the industry. Moving away from skeuomorphism, many newer apps like Loren Brichter’s Letterpress and Ulysses III‘s “Pure Mode” have a design that’s reminiscent of the Metro design. And now, with Jony Ive taking over UI design at Apple, many have speculated that OS X 10.9 and iOS 7 will gain a flatter UI with less skeuomorphism than Apple’s known for.
We’re wondering which you prefer. Do you love UIs that look like something real, say, a bookshelf, or does the new Metro text-first design style appeal more to you? We’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below!
In recent iterations of iOS — Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — and in recent versions of OS X on the desktop, you will undoubtedly have noticed a move towards visual elements that mimic real-life objects. The ruled, yellow notepaper for the Notes app, the torn-paper effect at the top of the stitched, leather-bound Calendar app, and more are examples of this.
These software design elements mimicking real world objects have introduced a new word into our vocabularies: skeuomorphism. Such effects have, however, divided opinion, and it is just possible that we will see Apple shift away from these elements in future.