Apple is considered as one of the best and most innovative companies in the world. Longest yet (June 10-14) Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) started this Monday was a greatly anticipated and highly discussed event by fans and foes of the brand.
There were many speculations and predictions on the new iOS design which again, had to be a game changer as Android, the main Apple’s competitor started to take most of the market share in the industry. On June 10th during the keynote presentation Tim Cook, CEO of Apple announced the new iOS 7. As promised it was the biggest leap since the iOS was released in 2007.
In this article I am going to review and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the new iOS from the perspective of design, technology and usability.
One of the most discussed topic of the new iOS is the icons. Apple has radically changed the design direction of the icons. Would have this been approved by Steve Jobs? Apple was focusing on details creating immersive and memorable experience. The apps were recognised instantly by the users even if they were using different operating systems. I think the quality and attention for the icons were the factors why the iPhone itself and the App Store were phenomenally successful.
“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” – Steve Jobs
Steve jobs praised the beauty of the interface on Mac OS X’s Aqua user interface, as quoted in Fortune magazine (4 January 2000). This is what distinguished Apple icons and generally UI from all of the competitors. From the first second you could spot that it is an iOS icon.
What about now?
OK, it kept the shape, which is slightly modified and the border radius has been increased. Colors are so unusual and create an image of a childish user interface. The worst thing is the lack of consistency. Different gradient angles, ignorance of the Gestalt laws, different graphic styles and complexity. Oh and only one icon with 3D effects for the Game Center. Disaster.
Designers in the community responded instantly and I have to admit that if Apple considers applying these proposals iOS 7 would transform into a beautiful swan from the ugly duckling.
Generally User Interface was improved and usability has taken higher priority conquering the aesthetics. Apple got rid of skeuomorphism, heavy textures, strong gradients, reflections and complexity. Apps got a facelift implementing more white space focusing on the content, messages, pictures, text etc. But here again we see the down side of the iOS 7, buttons are not that clear anymore, and even worse they are designed horribly.
Another highly discussed and quite often hated feature is the new Control Center which is called as not finished, too messy and generally ugly.
Apple new iOS uses lots of white space and minimalist approach on every app creates more fresh and lightweight impression.
Different approach to typography
Apple went with Helvetica Neue thin typeface with on new iOS design. Type looks quite elegant and works well with the minimalist environment, however the legibility in some cases suffers especially when the text is small or laid on noisy background.
User experience is one of the most important thing in making a successful product. Apple from the very beginning was paying extreme amount of attention to UX. iOS 7 is not an exception. For all the new features check official page on Apple’s website: iOS 7 Features.
“Some things should be only a swipe away. And now they are.”
For a long time iOS didn’t have a widget area or a useful control dashboard which could save a lot of time doing quick tasks such as turning on/off Wi-Fi, changing screen brightness, activating flight or sleep mode or simply accessing most used apps. From the design perspective it might look unusual but the functionality it gives is definitely enhancing overall UX.
Do what you need to do. Quick.
Turn on or off Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb. Lock your screen’s orientation or adjust its brightness. Play, pause, or skip a song. Connect to AirPlay-enabled devices. And quickly access your flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera.
One of the most requested feature by the users of the iOS for years was multitasking. Apple finally heard the users and took a step forward creating an advanced multitasking system which learns your habits and adapts.
Smarter way to multitask
Multitasking has always been a smart way to switch between apps. Now it’s even smarter. Because iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 a.m. every day, your feed will be ready and waiting for you. That’s multitasking in iOS 7. It knows what you want to do before you do.
This feature seems to solve one annoying problem – close sharing.
Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps. Enter AirDrop for iOS. It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Community is shocked
During the live stream of the WWDC keynote many designers around the world were shocked about the new iOS 7 design. Here are some bold statements from the social media and online publishers.
“The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Land, Edwin H.
The Verge: The design of iOS 7: simply confusing
Webdesigner Depot: Apple hits and misses with iOS7 at WWDC
Here are a few reactions on Twitter from well-known designers in the industry.
Someone needs to ask Apple -“Why did you do this?”
— Eric Hoffman (@kolage) June 10, 2013
Designers, life goes on!
— Victor Erixon (@victorerixon) June 10, 2013
Some of the worst icons I have ever seen, I’m sorry.
— Chris Masterson (@chrismasterson) June 10, 2013
“Siri, make my icons look nice again.”
— Visual Idiot (@idiot) June 10, 2013
WHAT have they done? No Jony – no!
— James Anderson (@jsa) June 10, 2013
What’s going to happen next? Should we have to be worried?
It is still a beta release dedicated for the developers. Hopefully Apple takes into consideration all of the concerns of the users and fixes all of the design failures they have made before the public release this fall.
Is this going to be the beginning of something amazing? Is Apple still capable of innovating the industry? A lot of questions to be answered but the fact is that we are all excited to get hands on it and try it out ourselves.
Did you enjoy this post?
Never miss a blog post. Subscribe below to get more posts like this sent straight to your inbox as soon as they're published.