Leopard’s Illuminating Graphical User Interface: Illuminous

December 10, 2006

IlluminousMac OS X’s Aqua has matured very slowly over the last few years. It seems like many OS X users are tired of Aqua and ready for a new revolutionary GUI to compliment and enhance the experience of using a Mac. An increasingly popular theme for Apple’s latest applications have been smooth unified metal and dark glass. With each major update to one of Apple’s applications, its seems like the days with blue gel scroll-bars and candy bar progress bars are ending.

Its no question that Leopard will feature a new GUI, but no one really knows what it will look like. Its no doubt that Leopard will feature resolution-independent graphics support that will allow for greater resolution displays with the same and windows sizes. However, the details of the interface have not yet been revealed, but many are hoping that we will see the final announcement of Leopard features at Macworld 2007, where chances of a GUI announcement are high.

Apple Gazette has featured a new rumor from a supposed insider that has claimed that the new GUI that will replace Aqua will be nicknamed ‘Illuminous’. The report has no solid information on what the Illuminous theme will look like, but I believe I know exactly where Apple might be headed.

As I said, Apple’s latest trend in its software GUI is a darker, flatter, translucent, reflective, “illuminating” glass appearance. The GUI is also making headway beyond the sheer appearance, to window sizes, visual effects, icons, etc. Fullscreen applications will definitely be a hit in Leopard, to clear your desktop from clutter and manage your workspace more efficiently. Just like Aperture and iPhoto, imagine fullscreen browsing, video-editing, Garageband, iWork, etc. Sleek graphic effects when opening windows, files, applications, are also likely to be improved making the OS seem more alive, similar to the widget ripple effect. And with the new GUI change, I am also expecting Apple to replace their outdated icons. Ultimately, Apple is heading towards a sleeker, darker, simpler, livelier GUI.

Apple has been the leader in computer and GUI design for years, and Vista’s new Aero interface has probably provoked Apple’s design team to topping them off with a mind-blowing interface (that requires half of Aero’s hardware requirements). It would be a true disappointment if there was no sort of GUI announcement when Steve finished giving the major features in Leopard.

The dark translucent appearance Apple has developed over the last three years has seemed to have expanded to many of the operating system’s core applications. Here are a few of the many traces of the new dark glass appearance rumored to be featured in Leopard:


Aperture 1.5’s navigation window


iPhoto’s Adjust Window


Leopard’s new QuickLook feature

Front Row

Front Row’s sliding dark glass


iTunes 7’s new darker appearance

100 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    Oh yea, I would just love using software fullscreen on a 30″ display
    The whole point of more resolution is to fit more work in the same space, not make one portion of the workspace bigger and waste space.

    Then a 30″ display and a 12″ would be nearly the same (exaggerating but even so)

    February 24th, 2007 at 11:53 pm

  2. David says:

    I hope there will be some changes to the dock.

    E.g. I hate it, when i have many browser-windows open (I only use browser-tabs for links from the webspace an content that belongs together, for complete different sites I open new windows) I have to use Expose or dock-icon’s context menu to switch between the windows. It would be nice, if the new UI would have a dock (or something else) to switch directly between multiple windows of one application.

    Other critics of the dock by GUI-guru Bruce Tognazzini (from the Norman Nielsen Group) can be found here:

    So my biggest wish is a complete new dock or something else that replaces the dock.


    March 22nd, 2007 at 11:51 am

  3. Felix says:

    I hope that Illuminous will not be to much black. I like the white and blue of Aqua. It looks fresh, cool, different and like summer. Black looks boring and like a coffin.

    Some improvements have to be done (e.g. the dock, as mentioned by David) and I don’t like the brushed metal-look, but the blue and white should remain. For many people that fresh and different design is the reason for buying a Mac….


    March 27th, 2007 at 9:49 am

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  5. WinLux Blog » Blog Archiv » Illuminous - eine neue Oberfläche für OS X? says:

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    April 7th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

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  7. Jeff says:

    I seriously have a hard time reading stuff from people who want us to believe their opinion matters, yet are unable to know the difference between YOU’RE and YOUR, and to know the possessive form of IT. “ITS” is the possessive form of IT. IT’S is a contraction for IT IS.

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    April 11th, 2007 at 10:28 am

  8. Jeff says:

    Please add ROYAL FLUSH to the list of people that shouldn’t spout off about their education when my 8 year is catching these SIMPLE mistakes. Please don’t respond by saying that they were typos. Thsi is a typo instead of THIS. ” It’s ” is an example of being either lazy or stupid, or somewhere in between.

    April 11th, 2007 at 10:34 am

  9. iAppBlog » Blog Archive » Leopard’s Illuminating Graphical User Interface: Illuminous says:

    […] think this guy has got something. What does everyone think? Original post: http://www.appleology.com/2006/12/10/leopards-illuminating-graphical-user-interface-illuminous/ Mac OS X’s Aqua has matured very slowly over the last few years. It seems like many OS X […]

    April 12th, 2007 at 9:05 am

  10. mortal says:

    just fix the damn finder. my 2cents.

    April 13th, 2007 at 10:06 am

  11. gdold says:

    I’m happy as long as they give some choice in System Preferences.

    April 14th, 2007 at 4:36 am

  12. MissDana says:

    Привет вÑ?ем!

    May 6th, 2007 at 8:59 pm

  13. Freezo says:

    Black would be very unfortunate, as it’s the one ‘colour’ that LCD screens have serious trouble with.

    Oh and Jeff? You wrote “my 8 year is catching these SIMPLE mistakes”. That’s no typo, that is sloppy sentence construction. You’re missing whole words. So we can disregard your opinions from now on?

    June 2nd, 2007 at 2:13 pm

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    Too bad this took a turn for the worse, it’s been degraded into name calling and stereotypical assumptions. Flame me if you want, as long as you all get it out of your systems and BACK ON TOPIC!

    June 6th, 2007 at 3:06 pm

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    […] features Jobs promised for Leopard would be a revamped Aqua (some, even named the new interface “Illuminous”). Except for some cosmetic changes here and there, it wasn’t. My guess is that the really big UI […]

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