Apple's Hideous Leather Software Is Based on Steve Jobs' Private Jet

By Sam Biddle on at

We hate the way a lot of Apple design looks, these days: virtual leather, felt, wood, and glass. It's like a sleazy game room in your Cool Uncle's basement. Who is making these eye-screwing decisions? Fast Company says it was Jobs.

Skeumorphism—the design technique of making a virtual thing look like a real thing in order to help familiarise you with it—has grown from a mole to a tumour across both OS X and iOS. And while Apple's Scott Forstall is considered the main culprit these days, FastCo's Austin Carr spoke with former Apple designers who say otherwise:

But before Forstall, it was Steve Jobs who encouraged the skeuomorphic approach, some say. "iCal's leather-stitching was literally based on a texture in his Gulfstream jet," says the former senior UI designer. "There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible."

Pushing for a change in design trajectory based on the luxury stitching in your gaudy private jet seems so antithetically Apple, and yet so quintessentially Steve Jobs. The man was a vanity case and an egomaniac, with a track record of judgment lapses. It's not as implausible as it sounds, but that doesn't make it any less insane or disheartening. Let's hope Tim Cook flies economy. [FastCompany]