Monday, Apple experienced its biggest corporate shakeup since the late Steve Jobs first handed the reigns over to Tim Cook. Most notably, Scott Forstall, the man some blame for the Maps debacle, is out. But another appointment, Jonathan Ive as the new director of Human Interface, could mean the end of Apple's addiction to skeuomorphic software interfaces.
For the uninitiated, skeuomorphism in interface design refers to the practice of using old, familiar visual elements and applying them to new products. In the case of Apple, this has resulted in Address Books and Calendars with faux-leather-bound borders, an iBooks store that actually looks like a tiny library made of wood, and a new Podcast app that actually mimics the look and feel of an old reel-to-reel machine. Some have criticized this bent toward skeuomorphic interface design as a clunky weak point in Apple's otherwise elegant and futuristic product offering.
Although Ive, historically responsible for hardware design, has never directly criticized Apple's skeuomorphic software interface, an approach pushed by Jobs and Forstall, rumors have circulated for some time that this has been a touchy issue within Apple.
Now that Ive has full control over Apple's entire design interface experience, software included, it's likely that we will see the end of the company's nostalgic nods to old school interfaces and finally see Apple's software interfaces finally catch up with the company's slick, futuristic hardware.