Jony Ive is most definitely going to do more than just change the look of the iPhone’s software, says Ben Thomson on his blog Stratechery.
Thomson works for Microsoft’s Windows Apps team, and spent a short period of time at Apple. He writes about tech on his own at his blog.
In his post, he gives three good, speculative reasons Ive is doing more than just rearranging the pixels in iOS.
1. The fact that there is a reported WWDC deadline for updates to iOS 7 suggests Apple has changes to OS coming. It wants to have those changes ready to show developers.
2. Ive leads Human Interface, which means more than just visual design. It’s about how we interact with the phone.
3. Ive would insist on more than just a new look. Ive believes function and looks must be one. So, a visual change would necessitate a stylistic change.
Thomson bases this last point on this quote that he took from an event where Ive was talking:
One of the things that’s interesting about design [is that] there’s a danger, particularly in this industry, to focus on product attributes that are easy to talk about. You go back 10 years, and people wanted to talk about product attributes that you could measure with a number. So they would talk about hard drive size, because it was incontrovertible that 10 was a bigger number than 5, and maybe in the case of hard drives that’s a good thing. Or you could talk about price because there’s a number there.
But there are a lot of product attributes that don’t have those sorts of measures. Product attributes that are more emotive and less tangible. But they’re really important. There’s a lot of stuff that’s really important that you can’t distill down to a number. And I think one of the things with design is that when you look at an object you make many many decisions about it, not consciously, and I think one of the jobs of a designer is that you’re very sensitive to trying to understand what goes on between seeing something and filling out your perception of it. You know we all can look at the same object, but we will all perceive it in a very unique way. It means something different to each of us. Part of the job of a designer is to try to understand what happens between physically seeing something and interpreting it.
I think that sort of striving for simplicity is not a style. It’s an approach and a philosophy. I think it’s about authenticity and being honest. Not just taking something crappy and styling the outside in an arbitrary disconnected way.