Apple has hired the designer behind a number of iOS UI concepts, including a fast app switcher and dynamic icons that access different elements of an app, bringing the arts student on for a seven month internship. Jan-Michael Cart confirmed the placement this week, and while at present it's unclear what exactly the arts student will be involved in with Apple, it seems likely to be iOS and potentially OS X interface design.
Cart's concepts caught attention because of the way they neatly brought together existing iOS and OS X controls and gestures. In the app-switching concept, for instance, rather than double-clicking the home button and then choosing from a row of icons, Cart envisaged users holding down the home button and then simultaneously swiping left or right on the touchscreen, OS X style, to move between running apps.
Similarly, in the dynamic icons concept, Cart outlined a system whereby app icons could show not just the number of new notifications present, but information on what the latest updates might be. An "App Preview" video would blow up the buttons to fit four to a screen, with different portions of the enlarged icons taking users to different elements of the app: for instance, replies, direct messages and lists in Twitter.
Apple may well be keen to inject some of Cart's enthusiasm and ideas into its iOS UI team, ahead of a rumored overhaul that would change some of the long-standing themes in the mobile platform. Meanwhile, some of the same concepts might work similarly well in OS X, helping Apple further pull the two platforms together.
iOS Fast App Switching Concept:
iOS Dynamic Icons Concept:
iOS Speech Recognition Concept:
[via 9 to 5 Mac]