Unless you’ve been living under a rock in a galaxy far, far away, you’d probably have heard that Apple updated their operating system for users of their acclaimed iPhone, iPod & iPad recently. Conveniently dubbed iOS7, the new OS boasts a sleek and clean flat design, with the company opting for simplicity and basic colour compositions to make up their new user interface.

What’s important to note here, is that like most other Apple products and “inventions,” the trend of flat design has been on the rise for a number of years now. Take touch screen technology, for example. Apple first introduced their touch screen software for the original globe-shifting iPhone. Considered a revolution in product manufacturing, Apple were able to identify a technology that was already being manufactured and utilised in the market, and turn it into a total and solidified solution that every consumer couldn’t survive without.

With Apple’s new iOS7, we’re exposed to a very similar circumstance. You might’ve noted that over the last year or so, eBay, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Skype, Optus, Telstra and many other organisations have undergone radical branding shifts that included the redesign of marketing materials, brand identity and logos. All of these businesses joined the growing trend of logo design shift from details, effects, gradients, textures, outlines etc. to simple, 1-2 tone colours, flat and clean branding and marketing. This shift in graphical thinking has been amplified by the recent introduction of Apple’s iOS7.

Apple, obvious leaders in strategic thinking and cultural trends, have appropriately confucted thorough research and market forecasting in order to predict a long-term design style trend and have thus, adopted and adapted the new flat design scheme to their entire OS arsenal. As a result, mobile app developers (wheter complicit, or not), were forced to redevelop all mobile applications for Apple devices in order to remain current and optimised with iOS7. This cas created a domino spiral for designers (of websites, apps and graphics) to adopt a flat design approach when developing and illustrating on future projects.

Speculation is already being made across the grape vine, that Google’s new logo launch has come as a direct result of Apple’s implementation and transformation of flat design into the fashionable design trend for 2013 and beyond. There’s no doubt we can expect many more global brands to follow this trend as Apple’s iOS7 continues to create tidal waves across the digital cosmos.

For small businesses operating under the same design format for longer than at least 8 years now, perhaps it’s time to think about joining the bandwagon of consumer design appeal and update your branding today. For designers who had already identified flat design as a methodological trend of the future, prepare to be stampeded upon, and negligently forgotten about. Apple has spoken. Flat design is in. And nobody will acknowledge that you figured it out first!