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iOS 6: A fresh coat of paint

Sometimes you break out the sledge hammer. Sometimes you knock down the walls and rebuild from scratch. Palm did that. Microsoft did that. RIM is doing that. Other times you pick up a brush and slap a coat of paint on the walls, and the place suddenly looks good as new. (And yes, there's a trompe-l'oeil to skeuomorphism joke in there that I'm going to gingerly avoid.)

As much as we've explored the idea of new iOS Home screen interfaces, and what potential a 4-inch, 16:9 iPhone screen may allow, we've also been hearing for a while now that renovation may not be on the agenda this year. For iOS 6, what we might be getting is more like a coat of really good paint.

But which colors will they use?

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Iterate 1: SoftFacade

Is linen the new brushed-metal?

After a brief flirtation with pock marks, Apple embraced into the linen texture in a serious way with iOS 4, making it the background for both the multitasking fast app switcher dock, and for the open view of folders. Both of these UI metaphors were supposed to be "behind the scenes", with the iOS screen literally opening up to reveal them. With that was meant to convey the padding beneath the armor or the t-shirt beneath the jacket, who's to say? In the iOS 5 betas, however, Apple has gone all in on linen. While iOS 4 kept linen subtle and dark, iOS 5 brings lighter shades as well. You can find it as the background to the welcome screens when you update or re-install the OS. You can find it behind the new Notification Center when you swipe down from the title bar. Also, for the first time you can find it in OS X as well, in beta for Lion.

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