Back in the day when the iPhone had yet to be invented, smartphones existed although safe to say that they never really caught on. There were also plenty of different UIs and designs that customers could choose from, like BlackBerry and PalmPilot, just to name a few, at least until the iPhone came along.
From there, according to Google’s vice president of design Matias Duarte, it seemed that the smartphone UI and design had been crystallized around Apple’s smartphone. In an interview with Wired, Duarte shared his thoughts on smartphone and smartphone UI design in which he suggested that if Apple had arrived on the scene a year later, today’s smartphones might look very, very different.
According to Duarte, “Frankly it’s not a world where the best package wins. It would’ve been very easy, if Apple had been a year later to market, that instead the market’s expectations of what a smartphone should be crystallised around something that’s more like what the Blackberry was.”
He also adds that while Apple’s design might not necessarily be the best, its popularity kind of set the tone and standard of what smartphones should look like today, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. “But it also crystallised a lot of other things that were kind of staid even by that point, like the rows of icons, which don’t scale very well. This idea of a tiny grid that you manually curate starts to feel very heavy and burdensome.”
Duarte also stated that he is working to ensure that future designs will deviate from what Apple had set in motion all those years ago, but we suppose at the end of the day it’s really personal preference. After all some do enjoy the grid layout of iOS, while others might prefer the more “free” design of Android, but what say you?