What would the Mac look like with Helvetica Neue as the new OS X system font?
OS X 10.10, code-named Syrah, us currently sprinting its way towards developer beta for WWDC 2014, which kicks off June 2. Syrah is rumored to be getting a Jony Ive-led interface refresh this year, like iOS 7 got last year. That makes a lot of sense, since part of the opportunity cost of iOS 7 getting all that attention was that there wasn't much left for OS X Mavericks. It shipped with a few rough edges, like stitched leather, shaved off but others, like green felt, remaining. 2014 should see a reversal of those fortunes, with iOS 8 getting refined but Syrah getting a more significant visual upgrade. But how far will it go? Craig Hockenberry writing on his blog, Furbo.org
There’s no doubt in my mind that Apple is going to overhaul the look of Mac OS X in the next version. As more and more apps bridge the gap between the desktop and mobile, the lack of consistent branding and design across platforms is becoming a problem.
I fully expect to see flatter user interfaces, squircle icons, a new Dock, and Helvetica Neue as the system font.
Hockenberry's is not an uncommon sentiment. Apple's desire to bring iOS "back to the Mac" is what resulted in not only the aforementioned stitched leather and green felt finding their way to OS X, but also universal naming conventions for built-in apps and even the concept of an App Store. While both remain distinct platforms that require distinct functionality, the usability overlap between the two remains huge.
However, Hockenberry being Hockenberry he's taken it a step further and written a tool that "swizzles the NSFont class methods to return a different system font". With it you can see what apps designed with the current OS X system font in mind, Lucida Grande, look like in a Helvetica Neue world.
You can find more information on it, and access the tool, via the link below. Check it out and then let me know — can you see the OS X system font changing this June?