Apple announced the next iteration of Mac OS X, and in keeping with the cat theme has appropriately called it “Lion”. As you would expect, it’s loaded with cool new features. Also, as you would expect, our immediate questions revolve around fonts. Not so much regarding fonts on the Mac itself per se, but more particularly fonts on iPad and iPhone. Let me explain.
It seems to me that what Apple is after is a unified end-user experience. In other words, if I use an iPhone or an iPad, then when I use a Mac for the first time (or any other Apple device) I will intuitively know and understand how it works because it’s familiar.
We’ve already seen a lot of feature-sharing between these devices, and I expect that the end goal is to create a single, unified, device-independent OS that is portable across Apple hardware (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac, and so on).
Which brings us to the issue of fonts.
Obviously, fonts are an important part of how we work – assets that are part of the media and content we produce and sell. As such, much has been done on the Mac to support typography. Not so much on iPhone and iPad.
Of course this makes sense when you recognize that the iPad and similar devices are essentially for content consumption, not content creation (as on the Mac). And this is where the quesitons start coming for me.
Will these devices move towards content creation in the future? (think video editing, image editing, book layout and design, etc.)
If so, what kind of type control and support technologies will evolve and be shared across these devices? Will Apple open up font installation and management or keep those feature isolated to the Mac? Perhaps fonts will move to an entirely web-based/web-managed context? If so, how do we (designers, editors, producers, students, etc.) make that transition?
No clear answers yet, but stay tuned. We’re all over this one, as you would expect.