Google has finally decided to change gear on the appearance and design of its apps on iOS: the company wants them to have a more “native” look and be consistent with the stylistic dictates of the operating system developed by Apple.
It is a criticism that has been leveled at Google on several occasions in the past, above all because the apps for the iPhone and iPad are too much the same as those for Android, and therefore do not respect some conventions and design tricks typical of the Apple. In fact, we can say that in general stylistic inconsistency has always been one of the weaknesses of Google software products, even in the Android field which is developed by Google itself; but it’s best not to open Pandora’s box and stay focused on iOS.
In concrete terms, it means the abandonment of the Material language, born precisely on Android, in favor of the standard UIKit developed by Apple. It is important to point out that at the time UIKit was much less advanced and refined than it is today, and this was a further argument in favor of creating Material components for iOS. But earlier this year the team responsible for Google apps on iOS wondered if it still made sense to continue down this path, and the answer was, in fact, no.
The new approach, therefore, involves adopting the standard elements of UIKit, with some discreet personal touches here and there. The development of the open-source Material Components for iOS libraries is practically on standby already this summer, with new releases and very limited bug fixes and stop to documentation updates. By not having to develop specific graphics, Google will be able to redirect time and resources saved on attention to detail. For the moment, the company hasn’t released practical examples or mockups that will help us understand what to expect in the future from apps like Gmail, Chrome, Drive, and all the others.