I want to first say that Apple has a great affinity for user interface design. Fragmentation is hard to find on their platforms as far as button location and usage is concerned. Third party apps usually stray from this slightly but that is to be expected (though most still follow the Human Interface Guidelines created by Apple). But the inconsistency I bring you today does not deal with UI but on the actual look of Apple-created apps. Let’s start with the Settings app:
Clean and generally consistent. It has a slight blue-gray color and the faux-3D gradients (elegantly used of course). This is what I would call the default iOS UI style. Here’s the Calendar app on iPhone. It looks the same.
So we’re starting to see a pattern in which you get this very modern and consistent look. The Contacts, Messages, Find My iPhone and Clock app uses the exact same style. Now lets looks at the camera UI bar:
Well, the button usage is similar in style, but the gradient color has changed. It gives a completely different feel. Couldn’t they have just used the same color?
Here is the iBooks app introduced in iOS 5.0. Once again button shapes and positions remain consistent, but the stylization of the UI has taken a turn for the worst. It’s called skeuomorphism and Apple loves it for some reason. Also note the change in the status bar; in Settings and Calendars it was a faux-3D style whereas here it has been simplified (personally, I like the simplified version). The main problem is that the inconsistency of style is so jarring when coming from another application that it can be difficult to orient oneself to the new set of visual rules. Notes, Voice Memo and Find My Friends are other apps where Apple takes this way too far.
Reminders. Yet another skeuomorphic design. If you look at where we started and where we are now, it can be jarring at how inconsistent it’s becoming. Even the buttons are changing in style; Look at the menu button (with three horizontal lines) in iBooks compared to Reminders. It’s also inconsistent.