“We completely ran out of green felt,” quipped Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi on Monday. He was speaking at WWDC 2013 and, of course, he was referring to the eradication of what has almost universally been referred to as “skeuomorphism” from iOS.
With the installation of no-nonsense industrial designer Jony Ive in Scott Forstall’s old role at the company, many observers were already expecting such a shift to take place with the latest major update of the mobile OS.
For years criticism had been gathering pace of Apple’s over-use of tacky wood panelling, stitched leather and other pseudo-antique style references. It just started to look cartoonish and unsophisticated.
The harshest critics suggested that so-called skeuomorphism was poisonous, something which prevented the interface from achieving its true potential – a thing which anchored Apple’s product in imagery of the past, not catapulting it into the future.