Why I think Apple is going to make some last minute design changes to Mavericks, the forthcoming version of OS X.
Yesterday Apple released a new beta version of its iCloud website. It brings the look and feel of the site into sync with the new look that’s coming to iOS 7 in September. This immediately brought to the surface a question that has been lingering in my mind for a while now: will Apple’s new operating system—called Mavericks—seem out of date no sooner than it arrives (sometime this autumn)?
The look and feel of iOS 7—and now iCloud.com—is such a visually dramatic change, that OS X (at least in terms of the icons) instantly looks dated. Not only this, the visual harmony that, until now, has existed between iOS and OS X will be broken. Take the Mail icon: it’ll have one look on iOS, the same on iCloud, but will still have the old icon on OS X.
Apple has committed to updating OS X on an annual basis, but is it really going to leave it another year before restoring the visual harmony across the operating systems? I don’t think so. And though it is purely speculation, I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple might bring some of the visual changes into Mavericks as a last minute surprise.
I doubt there’ll have been time to do a full, system-wide reworking of the design, but I feel pretty confident Apple are not going to want icons to be out of sync with each other. People like familiarity. If the Reminders icon in iOS 7 is totally different from in OS X, will people realise it’s the same, iCloud-connected Reminders app? Many won’t.
So there you have it: I think Apple might throw some last minute design changes into Mavericks that, at the very least, will bring a degree of visual harmony to the icons across the two operating systems.