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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Monday, April 16, 2007

Will Apple Finally Bring Consistency to Mac OS X UI?

Say what you will about Mac OS X, but the one thing it's never been is consistent. Mac OS X Tiger is a scattershot collection of various UI types, with some applications taking on a "brushed metal" fascia, others taking on a pseudo-brushed metal look ("Platinum"), and still others adopting various levels of the old whitewashed and stripped OS X look and feel. Yep, OS X is a mess if you care about consistency. And while I'd never argue that Windows was better in this regard, given Apple's supposed design skills, you'd think it would pay more attention to its own OS.

It's about six years late, but they might finally be doing so in Leopard. I try to stay away from Mac speculation, since it's all over the map and hard to tell the fake stuff from what's really happening, but I've seen some encouraging signs that recent Leopard builds are finally starting to pull it together from a consistency standpoint. In these builds, apparently, the whole system takes on an iTunes-like look, but darker. No, it's not the revolutionary Aero-killer some had hoped for, at least not yet. (Yeah, some people still believe those "secrets" are real and on the way.) But consistency trumps eye candy in my book, and, I suspect, does so for many of those who care about OS X.

Update: A number of readers have recommended a free utility called UNO that brings UI consistency to Tiger. It's worth checking out. You know, if you care about this kind of thing.

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