Should Apple bring the iOS 7 design language to OS X? [Poll]

Will Apple bring the iOS 7 design language to OS X? [Poll]

Should Apple bring iOS 7's new, clarified, deferential, depth-driven look and feel OS X? For the last few years Apple has worked diligently and deliberately to bring iOS nomenclature and metaphors back to the Mac, and create a more consistent experience between their two platforms. Right now, however, iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks couldn't look further apart.

iOS 7 has an all-new physics and particle engine, making it feel like a collection of objects in space, and work more like a video game, as well as a completely new paint job with icons and interface elements the likes of which we've never seen on an Apple product before. They've both had their richly rendered textures removed, but where Mavericks lost the old leather, it didn't lose it's Aqua-era gloss, at least not entirely. It didn't gain any of the new modern, ultra-thin, color-tinted look, at least not yet.

Macs are often said to enjoy a halo effect from iOS devices. People buy iPhones and iPads and then start considering the Macs well. For the last few years, no matter how different the two platforms, the interfaces looked similar -- and more importantly, familiar -- enough that the Mac was approachable to iOS users in a very direct and comforting way.

Likewise, Jony Ive is now vice president of all design, not just hardware, and not just iOS. It's not unreasonable to think his grand digital plans will eventually encompass future versions of OS X, as well. (Even the best designer and design teams in the world can't do everything at once.)

On the surface it feels more like a question of when, not if, Apple's platforms regain their semblance of uniformity. And of what iOS looks like by then, and how well it's translated to OS X.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Should Apple bring the iOS 7 design language to OS X? [Poll]


Actually, the whole point of Mountain Lion was to make iOS and OS X more similar and connected. Im sure that they will try to make the two even more similar with OS X Mavericks

You're right, the point was to make them more similar and connected (like learning from the other and improving) but not the same. I think Mavericks and the next updates will continue this, but Mac is still for desktops and should be optimized that in how it looks and works.

Absolutely not. There have been rendered images on the net of Mac OS Looking like iOS 7 and for the most part... It looks on point... And I think it looks unprofessional and loses its elegance. As if the Mac community doesn't get ridiculed already. It will just give the trollers one more thing to troll about the Mac looking all goofy and childlike

I love my Mac and will continue using it even if they do adopt iOS 7 looking theme... I will just be disappointed that they would remove the entire elegance/classy look...

Again... I'm just one person. And many will disagree with me. But this is just my honest opinion.

Agree completely, except this---> "As if the Mac community doesn't get ridiculed already. It will just give the trollers one more thing to troll about the Mac looking all goofy and childlike"
--who cares what some lame dorky virgins think about the os YOU(keyword) choose to use bc it fits your needs. It's one thing if you don't want it to look like that or if it has a negative impact on YOUR usage. It's something totally different if you won't use it out of fear of being ridiculed by some neck-bearded computer nerds playing D&D all day.

I'm not sure personally I'd enjoy an iOS look on my Mac. Sure, OS X has looked very much the same for some time, and maybe I'm being old (fashioned, or just old) but I like it as it is

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I think once the Frosty UI is refined in iOS, they should definitely bring it over to the Mac where it makes sense along with the key qualities. Simple, Minimal, Frosty UI overlays, and edge to edge display. I think those things if phased in would be great additions to OSX.

I was gonna say the same thing. Once the new UI has gelled a little more on iOS, then maybe it'd make sense to think about bringing it to the Mac.

Personally, I can't stand the ui of iOS 7. I don't think one man should be in charge of hardware and software design. I love his minimalist approach to hardware, but can't stand the flat, wannabe W8 look of iOS 7.

iOS 7 couldn't look any less like WP8.
People take the word "flat" and for some insane reason conjure WP8.
These two OS' dont look alike at all.

I agree that a few element may be interesting in OSX but generally they should remain separate. What I was also wondering about is will we see a iCloud revamp in the fall. I.e elimination of textures.

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Perhaps when they start making macs with touchscreens it would make a lot more sense. I imagine this is their long term goal.

I think it's way too early to discuss but not until we see how ios7 goes over and if it hurts adoption rates. I myself know I won't be switching over right away if not waiting til ios8. Just the other day I thought to myself "we'll at least I still have my MacBook free of this minimalist weirdness"

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Actually one thing I've noticed about ios7 (not that I'm a developer so this is based on videos,etc) is that it seems to have incorporated a few things from OSX. Not just features like airdrop,but also some of the "gamified" features...look at some of the animations from osx,say opening a folder or app from the desktop,even stuff like mission control,and it seems to me that if anything,ios has almost started to take more of a (anti- skeumorphic) leaf out of osx's book.

Microsoft brought their mobile OS look and feel to their desktop OS. It's unclear of the results but most people call it a failure.

I like OS X the way it is design wise. They can further integrate it with iOS, but please please don't make the design flat! iOS and Mac cater to different needs and expectations, let's keep them separated.

No.... maybe integrate the two together and hotkey the LaunchPad, or allow the LaunchPad to be the default app launcher, upon the user's option.

But, ask any Windows user how they feel about the Windows 8 mess. Surely, we don't want to imitate that.

Design language? Maybe - though I can't imagine I'd want my large screens blaring full screen expanses of white at me all day, every day. Different tools, used for different purposes.

People seem to be missing that iOS 6 and earlier all looked pretty similar to OS X. I liked it. And I do believe that iOS and OS X should have a similar look. But I don't think iOS 7 should be it. I can't see this design working well for a desktop or laptop experience. But the inconsistency in apps created for both iOS and OS X, such as the Messages app, will be frustrating. Apple and developers in both app stores will have to combat this when creating cross platform apps.

I don't necessarily think the Mac needs to go iOS 7 on us, but it does need some fresh paint. I'd like to see the stock applications between the 2 run a little bit more parallel. I'd like to see that Helvetia ultralight be an OPTION throughout the apps I use. I'd like to know that when I'm going to share something in my iOS device, it'll be the same way in my Mac. Just some simplicity and harmony... Not too much to ask for.

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Definitely not. I like that Apple is making iOS and OSX play together so it's easy to move data between the two while keeping the user paradigms separate. Personally, I feel this kind of ecosystem is key to the future of computing. Whether or not they build touch screens into Macs, I'm indifferent since I likely would use it sparingly or not at all (tried it on other systems and i just don't find them productive when a keyboard/trackpad/mouse are present).

Good for you Rene, for calling iOS 7 graphic elements a collection of objects in space, and not using the "s" word again.

No! Please Apple don't pull a MicroSoft and shove "change" done our throats like M$.

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I would like to see more apps for the Mac. It seems like the Mac App Store is at a standstill. As far as looks, keep it separate. I do not want a windows 8 look for the Mac line. .

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HELL NO!!! If they make OSX look like iOS 7's horrid rainbow bright theme I would never upgrade or have to switch to another OS. People have made mock ups already using iOS 7's "design", and it looks horrible, like an OS made for 4 year olds.

Apple should have kept Forstal, at least his stuff was classy and elegant, and had actual design in it.

exactly where i stand with windows 8. I just didn't upgrade from 7. forcing me to go mac. i'd hate for mac to immediately force me to never upgrade. They probably will though cause the Job look and feel is over. Those without style are now doing the design work. It's like letting Steve Urkell pick out your clothes.

Why on earth would anyone want their Mac to look like iOS 7 or any other version?
Macs and iDevices are fundamental different and trying to shoehorn the iOS look and feel into OS X will just bugger it up completely.

I hate the iOS-style scroll bars on the Mac. I can live with them on my Mac that has a Magic Trackpad, but on my Macs that still have mouses, they’re a regular annoyance. Clearly iOS and Mac OS need to be different in some ways.

After seeing the iOS 7 changes, I think Ive will do a good job of making sure they figure out what things make sense to do the same and what things it makes sense to do different.

The UI I sense is a shallow attempt not to be out marketed by Microsoft and Google and is playing catch up foot ball. I do like getting flatter access to air plane mode, blue tooth etc. but dont get so flat that every applications setting appears in the same place. the depth of field idea wins for coolness, and Ill grant the apple the ability to be self indulgent.

I will adopt IO7 when it comes out, but dont hurry to get it onto the mac until its mastered. ala Launch pad. rushing to a make this leap is why the windows OS and Metro goes from an intriguing idea to becoming a nightmare forcing Microsoft to put the Start bar back.

We are only human - and we dont like our cheese being move to rapidly, to a point of none usability - Im still with Microsoft Office 2k, the ribbons were a terrible idea for longs time office users who knew the menus and new the key strokes to be rapidly productive.

No. A desktop/laptop UI is fundamentally different from a phone/tablet UI. While there is some overlap, after all, they are all computing devices, they should remain separate.

For an example of the extreme, look at Win8. That "Modern" UI may work well on tablets and phones, but it's an unmitigated use disaster on a "full size" desktop.

Definitely make them the same or very similar. I don't want to have to think about which safari icon is which and why the search bar works one way on a mac and another on an iPad. It doesn't need dumbing down, just keep it all consistent.

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I think similar but definitely not the same. I admit I am brand new to OS X and Mac so I don't have a whole lot of experience with the system. Like Rene said after using iOS on iPhone and iPad just decided to go bust and get the whole Apple ecosystem. It was the amazing screen on the iPad that made me jump ship after viewing the same video on a Dell. Yes something as trivial as that. I like the way the dock screen looks. More integration and some apps coming into the Mac app store yes. Totally look like my mobile devices NO. I actually like the differentiation between the two. My two cents.

I couldn't have expressed that better. That's exactly the way I see it. Attempting to iOS-ify OSX is a bad idea. Let the two be distinctive. Don't dumb down OSX and essentially turn it into iOS. OSX is one of the reasons people either switch from a Windows computer, or get one to use along with, or more than their Windows computer. I pretty much do most of my work on my MBP and all of my gaming on my Windows PC.

That's about the only thing I want from iOS to be in OSX. We already have notifications and that is working just fine.

I think that consistency is a good thing, not everything needs to be transfered but some similarities should be immediately evident. I'm surprised that it's not sharing a more unified look since the updates are being released together (transparency, clarity and typography have a nice feel).

OH GOD NO!!! Please Keep that Candy coated color scheme in iOS ONLY. I have no immediate plans to upgrade to OSX Mavericks any time soon as it is (thanks to my audio interface manufacturer dragging their feet on last year's Mountain Lion Driver. I don't trust them to be ready for Mavericks any better, this year), so I'm not in any rush to see any of this candy coating in OSX.

It's absolutely inevitable that the new design language will come to Mac OS X as well. Apple simple prioritised iOS this year, and will get the Mac OS next year.

That said, I really hope they also dedicate a good chunk of time to improving iOS next year too. Giving it a much needed visual refresh is nice, but it desperately needs new functionality too. Android has been running rings around it for years, and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.

None of you old enough to remember System 6-9 then? Much simpler, much 'flatter' and streets ahead of any version of OSX. I think the design ethos could and should easily be applied to the desktop OS and it would be a great improvement. I like the look of Windows 8 personally. It's the functionality that doesn't work. Forcing features from the mobile OS to the desktop is a bad idea. It hasn't worked for Microsoft and I don't like it when Apple do it either. But the aesthetic language would work just fine. Apart from the horrible 'Settings' icon.