Unification ≠ iOS-ification

I originally wrote this in the comments to this tongue-in-cheek article – itself a response to the plethora of pundits claiming that Apple is dumbing down OS X by leveraging consistent UI elements across their products.

There been this idea floating around that computers should have scalable modes. An “easy” or beginners mode for people new to the environment. As their skills and comforts develop the software would somehow adjust to open new interfaces like advanced menus or shortcuts.

Well, this isn’t coming to fruition. It’s nearly impossible to predict and implement. But you know what is close? Familiarity and simplicity – both things OS X has been trying for years to do and (In my humble opinion) iOS excels at.

As for the worry that Apple devices will become nerfed consumption machines where no one can produce anything of value (the written word, art, programs) is a bit dramatic. Things in life are rarely black and white.

As someone who could be considered a power user, I’m not in the least bit worried. The command line is still there, a plethora of 3rd-party apps that aren’t “dumbed down” still (and will continue to) exist and frankly most of the design decisions have been positive for users of all types. (Unified conventions, consistent app names, gestures, etc.)

iOS-ification sounds scary because certain mindsets see that as a negative thing. What isn’t being discussed or recognized is the judicial use of iOS ideas. If Apple wanted to make OS X just like iOS they could in a second. They chose however, to select the best ideas and are starting to integrate them across their product line. No longer is the iOS devices over here and the OS X devices over there similar in little ways, but in big ways.