Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Regarding the Unified Theme in the Latest Seed of Leopard

Now, I myself do not have a copy of Leopard, but the Mac-world was all in a frenzy last week when screens of the latest Leopard build seeded to developers started popping up all over the net (Think Secret has a nice gallery). However, there were quite a few people complaining as they felt that Leopard felt too dark, and that it didn't differentiate applications from one another. For instance, iCal and Safari now look very similar:



Mail's look has also changed considerably:
Mail 2.1.1 in Tiger

Mail in Leopard

In my opinion, the darker look doesn't fit Mail as well as the lighter Unified theme.

I was also intrigued about this user-interface update as it's been widely rumored that one of the 'Top Secret' features of Leopard is a new user-interface. Something that would retire the old Aqua look. One might think that this recent development discredits that idea, but I don't think so. According to Delmonte at Digg:
Many don't know that there's a major change under the hood of the UI engine in Leopard. First, for resolution independence, every interface widget is being vectorized. Second, the new interface is stored in a neatly organized modular package called "Aqua.bundle" instead of the archaic and messy "Extra.rsrc" resource file...

But also, I think chloran is on the right track. With the unification and vectorization of the interface, changing the tint (color) and/or brightness of the interface is a matter of changing a couple of variables, heck it could be done in real time, and on a per-window/per-application basis...

As I pointed out in another digg thread, Apple has been recently awarded a patent for "custom shading of a UI" that shows the possibility of smoothly transitioning from a black text on gray/white background interface to a white text on dark/black bg as night comes by.

This seed of Leopard only seems to be laying groundwork. I'm very much looking forward to WWDC.

Leopard 9A410 Gallery
Digg - New Interface in Leopard!

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