By John Patrick Pullen
August 14, 2017

Apple’s product designs typically go unchallenged by the company’s legion of loyal customers, but a recent tweak to the classic App Store icon in the company’s most recent test version of iOS has users doing a double take on Twitter.

The icon’s previous design—a pencil, paintbrush, and ruler arranged to look like the letter “A”—has raised nary an eyebrow in the past. But perhaps representing a more comprehensive redesign for the App Store, Apple is trying a different look in the impending iOS 11 and Mac OS High Sierra release. See for yourself:

By swapping out the pencil, paintbrush, and ruler (which has been simplified so much over the years that it now merely looks like a rectangle), the new icon leaves much to the user’s interpretation. Still, there’s one question that many people on Twitter have asked:

And when you look at them side-by-side, the comparison holds up pretty well.

As one iOS developer points out, the problem with the new icon may be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But to Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive, the App Store icon may need to be redesigned because it harkens back to the operating system’s skeuomorphic days, when apps were made to look like the physical objects they replaced. That design scheme was swept out—alongside former senior vice president of iOS Software Scott Forstall, who reportedly favored it—when Ive brought a flatter, more modern look to Apple’s software symbols with iOS 7. The pencil, paintbrush, and ruler are remnants of that previous era, though not so easily erased.

But the beta Mac and iOS operating systems are still not final, so the icon designs could revert to previous versions.

On the bright side, however, a new (joke) icon appears to already be in the works for iOS 12.

 

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