Recently I wrote about Apple’s changing dynamic. A few days later one of my favorite online writers, John Gruber, posted his view on the skeuomorphic designs, one of the elements I critiqued in the current Apple design decisions.
The trend away from skeuomorphic special effects in UI design is the beginning of the retina-resolution design era. Our designs no longer need to accommodate for crude pixels.
He refers to it as a change in fashion or taste. He also mentions the current design trend, around the internet called as ‘flat design’. He has a beautiful of putting into words the reason why it works.
Letterpress exemplifies not just a rejection of over-the-top textures, but a rejection of faux cosmetic texturing period. For lack of a better term, many are calling this “flat” interface design . That’s not a terrible description of the trend, but it’s not entirely apt. (…) The whole default iOS look — the textures, the shadows, the subtle (and sometimes unsubtle) 3D effects — is optimized for non-retina displays. It’s makeup to cover up the fact that 163 pixels per inch, though better than anything we had before the original iPhone, is still a crude resolution overall. Retina displays are no longer limited in such ways, and need no phony effects to create interfaces that are beautiful
However his article doesn’t touch the fact that Apple is a bit late in changing the software design to fit the new retina displays. If Apple wants to keep up, or even lead, the design trends of the platform, they need to step it up. I’d rather see them be at the forefront than just blatantly copying the current trend in interface design. But history has shown that Apple has been quite slow in transferring all their apps to one design style. We’ll see what happens. Go read Gruber’s article, it’s a great read.