Helvetica Neue (German pronunciation: [ˈnɔʏ̯ə]) is a reworking of the typeface with a more structurally unified set of heights and widths. Other changes include improved legibility, heavier punctuation marks, and increased spacing in the numbers.
Neue Helvetica uses a numerical design classification scheme, like Univers. The font family is made up of 51 fonts including nine weights in three widths (8 in normal width, 9 in condensed, and 8 in extended width variants) as well as an outline font based on Helvetica 75 Bold Outline (no Textbook or rounded fonts are available). Linotype distributes Neue Helvetica on CD. Helvetica Neue also comes in variants for Central European and Cyrillic text.
It was developed at D. Stempel AG, a Linotype subsidiary. The studio manager was Wolfgang Schimpf, and his assistant was Reinhard Haus; the manager of the project was René Kerfante. Erik Spiekermann was the design consultant and designed the literature for the launch in 1983. Figures were widened and some condensed weights changed from having nearly flat-sided verticals to a more continuous curve throughout the entire height.
Designer Christian Schwartz, who would later release his own digitisation of the original Helvetica designs (see below), expressed disappointment with this and other digital releases of Helvetica: “digital Helvetica has always been one-size-fits-all, which leads to unfortunate compromises…the spacing has ended up much looser than Miedinger’s wonderfully tight original at display sizes but much too tight for comfortable reading at text sizes."
iOS used first Helvetica then Helvetica Neue as its system font. All releases of macOS prior to OS X Yosemite used Lucida Grande as the system font. The version of Helvetica Neue used as the system font in OS X 10.10 is specially optimised; Apple’s intention is to provide a consistent experience for people who use both iOS and OS X. Apple replaced Helvetica Neue with San Francisco in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan.
– From Wikipedia