Apple's core motivation for flat design

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by xizdun, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. xizdun, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    xizdun macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Been thinking about this for a while. Being a web developer and an Apple fan, I spend a lot of time thinking about software and UI.

    There's more to Apple's departure from skeuomorphic to flat design—vector graphics.

    2014 will bring new iOS devices with new pixel densities (iPhone 6, for starters). Which means, instead of having to scale or generate icons and graphics in multiple dimensions, you include a single SVG, so it looks good no matter what the PPI.

    iOS 7 icons and graphics are obviously simple enough to include as SVGs and will help in reducing the overall size of apps. This would apply to app icons as well as in-app graphics.

    iOS 6 to 7 — An obvious move toward scalable vector graphics:

    No longer will you have to generate multiple sizes:

    iPhone 6 concepts in multiple sizes/PPIs:

    Does Xcode already accept SVG icons? Not an iOS developer, so wouldn't know.
  2. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
  3. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    I would like to see Apple bring back the top title bar. iOS 6 looked so much better with it and you could see the WiFi indicator and time and battery indicator.
  4. xizdun thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    If not already, Apple is trying to get everyone thinking and designing "flat" and implicitly preparing developers for vector.
  5. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Does that apply to OS X as well? ;)
  6. mach macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2007
    I agree, though most if not all iOS (7, 6, and earlier) and OSX icons are already vectors. For some reason they are just exported as raster images, presumably because of how the OS handles them.
  7. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    I was expecting another "I hate flat" type threads when I opened this but I'm pleasantly surprised at this brilliant post.
  8. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
  9. nalk7 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    The old icons were most likely made on a vector program like Illustrator, which means if they wanted to keep them and have the benefits of a vector file, all they would've had to do is not convert them to a bitmap image.
  10. deluxeshredder macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2013
    iOS 6's UI could be implemented in vector form.

    Apple's core motivation for flat design is beyond simple - flat design is EASY and TRENDY, so designers have no motivation to spend time and effort to create high-end UIs.
  11. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2011
    But it does to look GOOD at the resolutions.
  12. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    This is also the reason why most of iOS 7's GUI is now "empty" white - it scales better.
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Thank you! I'm glad at least one person understands that.
    Apple's core motivation for flat design is unknown. Anything thought of is simply theorizing. The most important fact is indeed posted by Paddle1 though.
  14. davehutch macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2009
    Croxley, Herts
    What makes you think these are vector graphics?
    The old icons had shading, sure, but the new ones also have shading so aren't strictly "flat" either, they're just flatter looking and less glossy
    I don't understand what you're getting at?
  15. macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2014

    If you look back in history...
    when NOKIA implemented its first accelerometer & vertical to horizontal UI change they used it on Symbian OS. and Symbian supported SVG graphics .
    this was 2007.. i had N95, N95 8GB, N96, N86. they supported SVG.
  16. adamj575 macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2011
    on another note, those iphone mockups look awesome!
  17. Boyd01, Feb 13, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I'm late to the iOS 7 party, and only upgraded to iOS 6 last summer even. :p But I just got an iPhone 5s a couple days ago. I am not so crazy about the "flat" look, but whatever, it's OK.

    One thing I just noticed, the flat icons sit on top of wallpaper that shifts in response to motion/acceleration. So that makes them appear to hover in space above the background - you get a parallax effect as you rotate the phone. So in spite of all the "flat" talk, the overall impression is three dimensional - like a hologram. Is this a core feature of iOS 7 on all devices or does it use some new sensor on the iPhone 5s?

    Really, I have to wonder how much better iOS would be if they devoted all their time to its core functions and stability instead of eye candy like this though. ;)

    [edit]Just figured out how to turn the parallax feature off, which has the bonus of eliminating the zooming icons that I hate. :)
  18. doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007
    The core motivation for flat design look is what is fashionable at the moment.
  19. Dirtysand macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2014
    You know, it's odd. One day, suddenly flat was fashionable. Firefox, chrome, android, iOS, google, yahoo, all were racing towards a flat logo.
  20. SilverGhost macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2014
    Eye Candy?? Really??? Somehow over the years I got the distinct impression that candy was meant to look sweet, as well as taste that way. Equating this "flat" garbage to candy is an insult to the sweets industry. It is not eye-catching, it is not pretty, it is not sweet. Eye candy would insinuate that it catches the eye - the way a pretty face might. Flat catches nothing. You have to go looking for it. I'm suppose the original poster of this thread is technically correct in his reasons for Apple to do "Flat". Personally, I am insulted that Apple would apparently totally forget the superlative benefits of high resolution graphics capability, selling a lot of people on the fact this is better for you - like broccoli. What a shame. Maybe next time I go to the Smithsonian Art Gallery, I'll skip the Renaissance, the Masters, the Impressionists, and the rest - and see if I can find the FLAT section!
  21. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    People screamed that they wanted iOS to look different so apple made it look different.
  22. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Unfortunately different primarily just for the sake of being different isn't usually actually better and can often be worse.
  23. Menge macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2008
    I doubt it. This article is long and "old" (late 2011), but still very relevant:

    TL;DR version: Vector icons aren't an ideal option because they don't really allow much for pixel-perfect rendering and tweaking icon content at various sizes.
  24. xizdun thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Menge: Agreed, vector graphics don't work that way, but that article relies heavily on skeuomorphic graphics. In case of app icons, they're not scaled that dramatically anyway. When SVG does eventually get enabled, I suspect it's going to be on a version of iOS that is limited to devices with Retina displays (so minimum iPhone 4 and iPad 3).

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