Article: What’s in an Interface?

by on September 15, 2006

This week, Apple introduced another version of iTunes…lucky seven. With it came a new icon that looks a lot glossier and interface elements that look like they were stolen from Mac OS 9. The interesting thing is that the earliest versions of iTunes, which were for OS 9 were heavy on the metal and glossiness and light on the subtle design. Almost everything has gone from glossy and aqua blue to gradients and periwinkle (OS 9, anyone?)

I wonder if this is part of a ploy?

Perhaps Apple got people hooked on OS X early on with its “it’s not OS 9” design…well, that and the more stable environment, but it was a drastic change. Now that Windows Vista is trying to be more liquidy than OS X, OS X has been slowly transforming into something else so that the know-nothings won’t say that Apple copied Microsoft. Instead, it’s becoming the more grown-up, professional, laid-back-looking operating system, but with certain “wow” elements graphically so that you’re not feeling like you’re using something from the mid-1990s.

In fact, it’s looking much like the better Web 2.0 sites (at least iTunes is), and if this trend continues with Leopard, I think people might start taking the Mac more seriously as a business computer if the interface doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard.

This is just something to chew on over the weekend if you get bored and decide to fire up iTunes to play your music or buy a video or delete some of those podcasts you’re subscribing to, but never listen to…maybe Apple should change the name of iTunes to better reflect that it’s a one-stop media purchasing/playing shop.

Also, a great site to check out is the GUIdebook, a site with all sorts of GUI histories.

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