iOS 5 added two large-ish new features with prominent “gripper” controls: the Notification Center, and the split keyboard (iPad only). To clarify what a gripper is: a UI element you can drag to resize or reposition a larger element. Some examples include window corners before OS X Lion, iChat’s sidebar resizer in the tabbed chat view, and the resizing stripe between the two confusing sides of the OS X Dock.

I don’t like the styling of the grippers in these new controls in iOS. They both look rushed, ill-fitting, and inelegant. The keyboard gripper looks like speed lines from an offscreen roadrunner; the one in Notification Center is a dryer vent. (John Gruber: “three-blade razor from Gillette.”)

Here’s my attempt at restyling the grippers:

Left, Apple’s; right, mine.

Top, Apple’s; bottom, mine. (The cat is a law-abiding citizen and will remain one.)  This gripper also has a special fullscreen appearance, where it comes down as a little tab. I’m fine with this behavior, if it had a better-looking gripper grille.)

In both cases, Apple’s designer went with a “raised” look. It would make sense in the real world to have the gripper lines stick out, but it results in a fuzzy, messy appearance on a computer screen IMHO. IANAL, but IAAD. Debossing looks better.

Radaristas, note that I have indeed file a bug on this, #9608254. It was closed with this hilarious/infuriating note: “Closing. Will reopen if dev responds.” lol :(