Apple could revise its design with the introduction of a new look
Apple will hold its annual developer conference in June 2021, where the company is expected to unveil major software upgrades for its best-selling gadgets, including the iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and iPhone. While little is known about these new operating systems, we’re starting to see some evidence that whatever Apple has planned for the iPhone could drastically change the visuals on your smartphone.
If Apple follows the same naming convention that it has been using for over a decade, we can expect the successor to iOS 14 to be called iOS 15. In addition to the usual stability and performance improvements, we’re starting to see some hints that Apple could be planning a more substantial visual redesign.
In recent days, Apple has reworked the icons for two of its apps, Apple Music For Artists – used by recording artists to manage their profile and view listening stats from the music streaming service Apple Music, as well as App Store Connect – which Used by producers to distribute music, movies, and TV shows to customers in the iTunes Store. Since both industry apps are a small niche, the changes went under the radar.
Both app icons have been moved to a white background, with a thin border around the iconic circular circle shape. While the logos themselves – a musical note and the letter “A” – remain unchanged, Apple has added a number of new shading effects to create the impression of depth. Rather than a colorful digital logo, these new icons look like depressions on a real, physical surface.
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Like macOS, Apple seems to add shading to give the impression of a real physical object with depth
The fact that both changes took place very recently, and both use the exact same look, suggests this is more than a whimsical tweak from the design team at Apple. It suggests this is a new design philosophy within the company that will be everywhere when iOS 15 rolls around.
And if you think that’s a bit of a challenge considering we’ve only seen two (pretty obscure) iPhone app icons adopt this style so far … remember when Apple redesigned macOS’s visuals last year, each app icon exactly the same style used. While a number of shared applications between macOS and iOS have similar icons, Apple has incorporated a sense of depth into the icons on macOS Big Sur, which were announced at the developer conference last year and shipped in the fall.
Some tipsters believe that a white background on all app icons allows Dark Mode to turn these shades of black
Thanks to the new specially designed M1 processors, the latest models of MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini computers from Apple can all run an iOS application on the desktop. And with more M1 powered computers on the way, this is something that’s only going to get more common. Do we really expect iOS to take such a dramatically different approach to design than macOS in the future – even though the two will appear side by side on some Apple laptops and desktops?
That doesn’t really seem like an Apple-esque approach.
When Sir Jony Ive, the man behind the iMac, iPhone and a dizzying array of Apple’s other iconic designs, took charge of the iOS design, he urged the team to make everything appear as flat and minimalist as possible. Gone was the imitation yellow lined paper in the Notes app, replaced with stark whiteness. Gone was the casino-esque green felt in the Game Center app, replaced with a gray menu.
With the recent redesign of macOS and these new iOS app icons, it looks like Apple is entering a new era of design. While we’re not going back to imitation fabric and paper in our digital apps, it looks like the company is looking to add some depth back to its operating system.
Apple redesigned every app icon on the Mac last year, adding shading and depth across the board
This is something we’ve also seen from Microsoft, slowly moving away from the sharp, angular, and flat software design that dominated Windows 8 and the early iterations of Windows 10. With the upcoming redesign making its debut on all existing Windows 10 machines this fall, it will use translucency and softer corners to give the impression that windows are actually layered on top of each other and other tricks to give a sense of depth.
Some tipsters have suggested that switching to white backgrounds on all iOS app icons could allow Apple to swap this background for a dark shade of black when system-wide dark mode is activated – making the operating system easier on the eyes in the darkens and saves more battery life.
Apple’s WWDC developer conference kicks off June 7, so it won’t be long before we get answers to these questions.
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