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Kicking Skeuomorphic to the Curb: 8 Concepts for a Flattened iOS

by Adriana Lee | June 3, 2013June 3, 2013 6:00 pm PDT


WWDC time is almost here! And what better way to kill time before Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference than zeroing in on the oft-rumored aspect that has been taking the Web by storm — flat design. If you don’t know what that means, it’s essentially an approach that could give the company’s previous penchant for skeuomorphic design the old heave-ho.

In layman’s terms, that means the icons and other design elements may not try to look like their real-world analog counterparts. If the rumor is true, then we’ll soon have to say goodbye to that glossy, reflection-prone, 3D-ish effect we know so well in favor of a decidedly more “line drawing” style of aesthetic.

No one knows exactly how that will turn out — though there is a leaked photo that supposedly offers a glimpse of an early version of iOS 7. But frankly, given how easy it is to mock up a fake and load the image onto a phone, this isn’t exactly a lock. And even if it’s real, the shot is described as a pic of the alpha version, which means plenty could have changed since then.

Could the new look resemble one of these concept creations instead?

Of course, if you want to see something a little more action-oriented, there’s that splashy concept video that made waves a few weeks ago. Here it is again. 

The only question in my mind is not whether a flat design will be popular or not — you can’t please everyone, and some people will simply love it or hate it no matter what. What I’m wondering is how all these flat icons will look next to last-gen apps not optimized for iOS 7 yet. Will that mish-mosh just look like a big old mess? Apple hardware guru and current software interface honcho Jony Ive had to have thought of that, right? (Right?)

Would you be happy to swap those shiny, skeuomorphic looks for one of these? Or are you fervently hoping the rumor isn’t true? Weigh in below.

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...