One of the guiding principles that has allowed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to build a consumer electronics company that briefly allowed it to become the biggest company on Earth was to make things that were sleek, intuitive, and instantly recognizable as premium devices. This was a part of Steve Jobs’ vision, and a central reason why the company has had so much success to date. A recent report from 9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman suggests that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is on the verge of throwing out some of the most recognizable parts of iOS as a part of an overhaul that is known as “Innsbruck.” At a time when investors and consumers are clamoring for the next big thing from Cupertino, killing the icons that Jobs built seems poorly timed.
Source: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)
The Jobs look and feel
Pursuant to Jobs’ vision, current icons and graphics have a glossy, polished look and feel that speak of the premium nature of the products they come installed on. Additionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS software representations of tangible objects are designed to look like what they are — the calendar looks like a physical calendar and the notepad looks like a yellow legal pad. This was fundamental to how Jobs wanted his products to function and aided the sense that Apple made things that were easy-to-understand upgrades from classic tools.
The Innsbruck iteration of iOS, assuming that the rumors are accurate, will be a shocking departure for most current users. The glossy, 3-D representations will give way to flat ones, and the visual cues that tie physical tools to virtual ones will be abandoned as well. Gurman compared the “flatness” of the planned icons to the appearance of the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone Metro user interface. This would be the first major overhaul of this kind to iOS since the iPhone made its debut.
While Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) builds powerful and functional products, the company’s user interface missteps are legendary. The idea that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be scrapping its identity for something even similar to a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) UI seems like madness. So coveted is the Apple look and feel that Samsung, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) , and others have long been accused of outright copying.