Whether they realize it or not, all of those who swipe a finger down from the top of the iPhone’s screen to check for notifications are bearing witness to a big sore point within Apple.
There, behind a list of text messages, missed phone calls and other updates, is a gray background with the unmistakable texture of fine linen.
Steven P. Jobs, the Apple chief executive who died a year ago, pushed the company’s software designers to use the linen texture liberally in the software for the company’s mobile devices. He did the same with many other virtual doodads that mimic the appearance and behavior of real-world things, like wooden shelves for organizing newspapers and the page-flipping motion of a book, according to people who worked with him but declined to be named to avoid Apple’s ire.
The management shake-up that Apple announced on Monday is likely to mean that Apple will shift away from such visual tricks, which many people within the company look down upon. As part of the changes, the company fired Scott Forstall, the leader of Apple’s mobile software development and a disciple of Mr. Jobs. While Mr. Forstall’s abrasive style and resistance to collaboration with other parts of the company were the main factors in his undoing, the change also represents the departure of the most vocal and high-ranking proponent of the visual design style favored by Mr. Jobs.