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Apple's Snow Leopard may arrive with unified 'Marble' interface

With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple may be planning to rid its flagship operating system of the various user interface inconsistencies that have materialized in recent years, according to a pair of reports.

As part of his Macworld 2009 predictions earlier this month, Daring Fireball's John Gruber suggested that Apple was likely to demo a new build of the operating system at the conference that would "make old features look new, by updating the system-wide appearance theme."

"I’ve made this prediction several times in the past and been wrong, but eventually I’ll be right: it’s time for the last vestiges of the original Mac OS X 10.0 'Aqua' theme to go," he wrote.

Specifically, Gruber said that scrollbars and push buttons that have remained largely unchanged since the Mac OS X public beta in 2000 would adopt the smoother, darker style iTunes-style scrollbars, while application windows would move to a darker chrome motif alongside an inverted menubar with light text on a dark background.

Although Gruber, who said the new interface theme was rumored to go by the code-name Marble, admits that his prediction was wrong again, his general claim is being backed up this week by MacRumors.

Interface elements and colors of the rumored "Marble" theme.

The rumor site claims to have independently heard of the Marble-dubbed theme, which "will likely involve tweaks to the existing design and perhaps a 'flattening' of Aqua in-line with Apple's iTunes and iPhoto interface elements."

No further details are available given that builds of Snow Leopard reported to include the update theme have yet to see distribution outside Apple's walls.