iOS 7: A New Beginning for iOS

Ben Bajarin / June 10th, 2013

It took only a few minutes of seeing the iOS 7 preview for me to sarcastically say to myself “yep, Apple’s done innovating.” Something of course I would never be foolish enough to believe, yet so many people seem to.1 I did make a key observation, however, as I watched the video and the demo of iOS 7. I became convinced that iOS 7 marks a new beginning for iOS.

Sophisticated Simplicity

When Apple first launched iOS on the very first iPhone, it took the world by storm. Apple, for arguably many years, had what nearly everyone would consider the most powerful mobile OS. Android has taken great strides to compete for the title, but I think with iOS 7 an incredibly strong argument can be made that iOS 7 is without a doubt the worlds most powerful mobile OS.2 And as I am fond of saying, it accomplishes this with unparalleled levels of sophisticated simplicity.

iOS 7 brings with it many new design, and user-interface elements that add new dimensions of visual appeal to iOS. Things like the depth of feel of the dynamic backgrounds that move with the gyroscope as you move the device. Or the new translucence of many apps allowing you to get greater context within an app. But it is the functionality of the overall experience in which iOS 7 breaks new ground.

Multi-tasking for example has taken a huge leap forward. Android users have argued for years that multi-tasking was better on Android and it was. But now even the most casual observers must admit iOS multi-tasking is on par, if not better. The ability to jump back and forth quickly between applications is a key task of a powerful and efficient mobile OS and iOS 7 does it simply and elegantly.3

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 2.09.20 PM

Multi-tasking itself has not just gotten functionally better but also intelligently more effective. Things like intelligently updating some of the apps you use most often in the background so they are up to date when you open them. Facebook, for example, can stay up to date without the need to constantly refresh to get new data every time you open it. Twitter or news apps will all be able to automatically update while adapting to network conditions. Your most used apps, and the data within them, kept up to date intelligently.

Control Center is another good example that is enabled by swiping up from the bottom. A simple yet efficient difference from competitors who have all notifications and controls swiping from the top down. For many reaching their thumb to the top to swipe down is hard or clumsy, especially on large screen devices. Yet for everyone, swiping up to access some of the most used controls is easily within reach. This is a great example of thoughtful functionality being added to iOS 7.

iOS 7 is not just visually more appealing, but also functionally more useful

The camera app has been redesigned to not just look great but also to be more functional. Siri, Safari, the Music app, Photos are now organized by moments, all have been re-designed from the ground up and are not just visually more appealing but also functionally more useful.

There are more new improvements in both visual appeal and function than I can get into. But all of these and more create such a fresh experience with the iPhone that when you get your hands or eyes on the new iOS and in particular when you get it on your iPhone or iPad, I am confident it will feel like an entirely new iPhone or iPad. iOS 7 is a new direction for the next generation.

Anything But Flat

I’d rather not get into a long debate of design philosophy but many rumors were circling about iOS 7 moving to a flat design look and feel. From what I saw iOS 7 is anything but flat. Rather, it was full of depth and vitality. Particularly the dynamic backgrounds with an image set is something that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. But flat design is a philosophy and those who debate these things can argue whether some of iOS 7 is flat or not. My opinion, for what its worth, is that the feel and the experience of iOS 7 is anything but flat.

There are layers to iOS 7 that give it such a rich and dynamic feel. After seeing it, it is hard to be content with iOS 6 (as great as iOS 6 is). This again, is part of the conclusion, of why I believe iOS 7 is a new beginning for iOS.

This transition from iOS 6 to iOS 7, is as big for the iPhone and for Apple as the transition was from OS 9 to OS X. OS X marked a new era for the Mac and I am confident that iOS 7 marks a new era for iPhone, iPad, and whatever else Apple lets it run on.4 iOS 7 is a new foundation to Apple to build upon, reach new consumers, and bring mobile computing into a new era. They have upped the bar in what a mobile computing OS is with iOS 7.

John Gruber wrote a great post yesterday where he stated:

The primary problem Apple faced with the iPhone in 2007 was building familiarity with a new way of using computers. That problem has now been solved. It is time to solve new problems.

The training wheels can now come off. That’s what I think Apple’s going to do tomorrow

The training wheels are certainly off. iOS 7 has set a foundation for Apple to tackle and solve new problems in mobile computing. The software experience is what makes the hardware. I have no doubt iOS 7 will give any hardware it runs a new beginning.

  1. There was certainly more meat in the keynote than iOS 7 to prove to people Apple is not done innovating. Mac Pro anyone? []
  2. I’m sure many will claim that Android is the most powerful OS, but I have been speaking with developers and gaining data that shows many limitations in sophistication in Android. More to come on that later []
  3. The multi-tasking app card view is strikingly similar to webOS. This is a huge compliment to what was briefly one of the best mobile OSes around []
  4. Like a TV []

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • Jake from State Farm

    I still prefer the customizability of android, but hey, that is just my opinion. Looks pretty nice though. I still wouldnt buy an apple product but many people should like this.

    • mhikl

      iOS 7, not even out for download and you’ve already made up your mind? Well, maybe that’s the mind of Android users; so perfect, no need to even open an eye. I would cringe were an Apple devote to do the same.

      • steve_wildstrom

        A bit unfair, mhikl. Jake said he prefers the customizability of Android and the fact that android is more customizable hasn’t changed with iOS 7 nor is it likely to with any future release. That’s a perfectly reasonable basis for preferring one over the other.

        • mhikl

          Steve, I think the original post has been changed, otherwise, I wouldn’t have made the comment I did; as well, I don’t think seven members would have voted 7 points up for my comment to the present way Jake’s comment now reads. As it stands now, I can see and would agree with your point on unfairness.
          Regardless, I appreciate you getting back to me as otherwise, I would not have thought to revisit Jakes post and my comment.

          • steve_wildstrom

            Disqus lets commenters edit their own comments and leaves no trace of the change. (Moderators can edit comments too, but we don’t except for our own.) We’d love a better commenting system than Disqus, but so far haven’t found one.

          • mhikl

            Not to worry, my final post.

            Jake has completely sanitised his original post, which had two paragraphs but now includes only what can be seen as of 2013 June 12, 16:14 MST. This has been done without scruple.

            Concern: What happens to the value of discussion when the originator of the discussion (Jake) can stoop to later change the original meaning of his message, leaving the response that followed the original posting now distorted beyond the intent or control of the one (me) who responded in good faith.

            Orwell’s voice is more valid than ever.

    • FalKirk

      “I still prefer the customizability of android…” – Jake

      That’s the beauty of having two, healthy and viable mobile operating systems – we can choose that which works best for us.

  • NM

    I absolutely love the notifications bar. It makes life so much easier by being able access the most common features with the swipe of a finger in a vertical motion… So groundbreaking and revolutionary!!

    Oh wait…

    • benbajarin

      It doesn’t matter who does it first. What matters who does it right. This is quite simple actually. There are hundreds of millions of consumer who have iPhones and who have no intention of leaving the iPhone. It is absolutely irrelevant what other platforms do to those customers. What matters is that Apple brings added useful ness and functionality to THEIR customers.

      • NM

        That is a valid statement and one which I shall not dispute.

        Then maybe Apple should stop pulling the wool over the eyes of THEIR ($800 paying) customers with glamorous marketing strategies and launches, and actually produce an offering that is completely different to what anybody else on the market has to offer.

        They do claim to be innovators after all.

        **EDIT***

        And do it RIGHT. They do have the resources after all and maybe the Apple faithful deserve to be parting with their hard earned money with something innovative.

        • Joe_Winfield_IL

          What would qualify as innovative? Each device, each OS update that each company releases includes hundreds of subtle tweaks. Occasionally, there are major breakthroughs which fundamentally change how we go about our days. With iOS 7, Apple looks to be somewhere in between. It’s certainly not innovative in the sense that the original iPhone was innovative, but nor is it a catch-up OS update.

          This is a really great looking UI, which is somehow the focus of everyone’s attention. But the new features – gestures, multitasking enhancement, photo organization/sharing, security, calendars, etc. add up to a significantly different experience than users have ever had with a personal computing device. The unification of look/feel/gestures systemwide will be absolutely huge.

        • Rich

          Right, we Apple faithful are all stupid and we let Apple pull the wool over our eyes, unlike you, NM. You want to be very sure we understand YOU’RE too smart for that…

        • steve_wildstrom

          Your comment has no content. It could have been written last week or last year.

          • macyourday

            It’s a form letter. Or is that boilerplate?

      • mhikl

        Exactly, Ben. There is multi-tasking and other magic applied everywhere as it is used on the computer; then there is multi-tasking (& etc) as how it best works on mobile devices. The quick to do and quick of thought apply the rules of old to the platforms of new; Apple takes its time to figure out how it should be done and now the others can rework their efforts and apply the rules Apple has made plain for them. Of course, I have to patiently wait to see how this all works on my iDevices, and I can hardly wait.

        • NM

          Apple takes it’s time alright. Aren’t recent sources indicating that Apple had to pull engineers from the Mac OS design project to finish the new iOS project in time?

          Do the Apple faithful (that again, pay several 100’s of USD’s for a product) deserve to be paying for one that has clearly been rushed?

          • steve_wildstrom

            It’s not at all unusual for companies to pull resources from other projects in the final push to meet a deadline. It’s not a sign of trouble or of a product rushed out before it’s ready, just an indication of the reality that resources are always limited, even in a company as successful as Apple, and sometimes they need to be redeployed.

          • macyourday

            Oh good. I thought no one would bring up the good old “Apple Faithful”. I can rest easy now. We’ve been shown up for the ignorant, faithful sheep we are. Thanks again. Don’t forget to mention wool and eyes.

    • Tough talk from the legions of robot loving fans of cloning who all benefit, every single day, from Apple up-ending the entire mobile market in 2007.

      Where was the inspiration, the ground breaking, the rethinking of the mobile market before Apple decided to enter it from a standing start? Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and the beloved Android were all obsessed with cloning the Blackberry. The nattering nabobs can blither about “copying” all they want, while the skin the second rate OS of their Apple knock off hardware.

      Meanwhile, absolutely everything everyone does in mobile is compared to Apple’s devices. That’s what it is to be a leader.

  • mattada

    Having extensively used a Palm Pre, Windows Phone 7, and iPhone since the 3g, its pretty clear a lot has been “inspired”. I still love the new design and the attention to detail on the interface continuity and typography is unparalleled in the industry, so I expect the hands on view to be amazing.

    • mhikl

      mattada, exactly. I have used palm of yore and Apple devices since the colour iPod (second version) and have seen some pretty interesting approaches to form and feature on friends’ non-Apple devices. What a boring world it would be if only one system came to rule to the demise of competition. Although Windows came to dominate the computer line, it has certainly been inspired by Apple’s constant iterations and I suspect Apple has been, in many ways, inspired by MS. A one runner race would be a very boring event in the Olympics and in tech.

  • Defendor

    Visual appeal is in the eye of the beholder. I consider this such a huge step backward that I am much less likely to buy the iPad that I was planning to get later this year, and go Android instead.

    I actually LOVE skeuomorphism, so I was dreading this update, but not only did they go flat and featureless, they went pastel in the color scheme at the same time.

    When I compare to the current:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c7/IOS_6.0_home_screen.png

    It is simply no contest, what we have no looks gorgeous, photo realistic with superb contrast. The new version is flat, pale lacking contrast and visual appeal.

    I have never owned an Apple product, but was considering a bit move, but now, I think they have jumped the shark.

    • Rich

      Maybe iOS 7 will look better when you see it in an actual phone than it does in this article. Also, to me the dim disks in the backdrop create an appearance of depth, or a subtle 3D effect.

    • benbajarin

      Good take. Apple has put up some more videos and feature images http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/features/.

      I agree with you totally that visual appeal is in the eye of the beholder. However, functionality, things that make us say “oh that is useful” I’d argue is universal. I’m more interested in the many feature upgrades they released and more importantly how developers can take advantage of these features and more to elevate our experience with these devices.

      Changing design for the sake of changing it is not helpful but to change it for a way that elevates its usefulness and functionality is something different. I believe from what I have seen at the demo and the online resources that it is a huge functionality upgrade.

      One thing that is not being mentioned is how big of a deal this is for iPad.

      • Defendor

        Yes. There are many functional improvements, but that didn’t have to come with a downgrade in visuals. The Pastel color scheme is just plain hideous and IMO can be argued that it lowers visual discovery.

        While
        getting rid of depth/texture/photo-realism for flat design, they end up
        adding one of the most annoying and useless visual effects:
        Translucency. Apple being Apple that likely means you are stuck with
        Translucency and can’t turn it off.

        This is the first turn for Apple where we can point to the lack of Steve Jobs influence. I
        don’t there is much doubt he never would have allowed ditching
        Skeuomorphic Design for flat design and Pastels.

        • baanzu

          “I don’t there is much doubt he never would have allowed ditching Skeuomorphic Design for flat design and Pastels” You don’t know what Jobs’ would’ve allowed AT ALL – none of us do.

          “The Pastel color scheme is just plain hideous “… Tresomely – you are projecting your personal tastes as a universal truth. I’m sure many (like me) welcome the change. I don’t dislike the current scheme but I like the new one a lot!

          Also – they didn’t get rid of depth, they just dealt with it differently. They even made a point of showing it in the video… were you really paying attention?

    • derek in milan

      So buy Android then and be happy.

    • def4

      I too like real world metaphors in Apple products and am a bit sad to see them toned down. But style changes, it’s a fact of life, there’s no point dwelling on it.

      At the same time I think you’re overreacting. iOS will remain plenty intuitive and will feel even better. I am pretty sure that quick previews and screenshots sell it short.
      Wait for the release and try it in a store to really see for yourself.

    • FalKirk

      “Visual appeal is in the eye of the beholder.” – Defendor

      My first impression of the new look was very positive. I’m going to try to withhold judgement until I get my hands on the new OS 7.

      But as you say, it’s subjective and in the eyes of the beholder.

      • AdamChew

        The wiset reply I had read all day i.e. the withholding of judgement of iOS 7 without trying it out personally.

      • Defendor

        Well, iOS 7 is official, and it looks just as hideous as the beta (as expected).

        With this change, Apple is pretty much dead to me, and I was going to buy and iPad before iOS 7 was released and was likely going to followup with a Mac mini. But romper room, just isn’t what I want in my devices.

        http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/color_pink_green-640×556.jpg

    • Visual appeal is in the eye of the beholder.</b.

      Good. Stop trying to pretend that you are a more "correct beholder" than anyone else.

  • bubba2020

    I like it. The “flat” comments don’t fly, in my opinion. Many samples that I have seen so far have very striking graphics on a “flat” background that visually does not compete with or distract from the graphic. A good opportunity for someone likes me who produces HTML5 effects and inter actives. I feel better as a designer when my work is contained in a background that does not detract from that work. So far so good.

    • FalKirk

      I don’t think the new look is “flat”. I think it’s uniquely Apple (or, perhaps, uniquely Johnny Ive.)

  • Rich

    Ben, if Apple ever releases a TV-related product I don’t think it will be an actual TV, partly because I don’t think they want to sell a 50-inch piece of glass, partly because it’s not needed to accomplish what I suspect are their goals in the television realm. If Apple ever introduces a TV-related product that goes well past the current Apple TV, I think it will be something closer to a set-top box, and will be fairly revolutionary, at least; Apple won’t introduce it if it isn’t.

  • genesis667

    I just got my first Iphone after being stuck in Android for the past 2 years under contract—What a difference the Iphone is!
    I don’t see me ever going back to Android…

    • benbajarin

      I have many anecdotal stories from consumers we have interviewed in the past few month’s who say the same thing.

  • James King

    As unpopular as it is to state on this site. Blackberry 10 is the most “powerful” OS from an architectural standpoint. The entire OS can run in a distributed state over multiple devices. It can do things that iOS can’t even begin to accomplish.

    That being stated, iOS 7 is very impressive to me. It’s like Apple’s software architects said, “Let’s do everything all of the other mobile OSs do, just correctly and intuitively.” It’s refreshing to see that iOS hasn’t lost its advantage in simplicity.

    • Rich

      I’m a big fan of Blackberry’s comeback in the BB 10, I hope it does well in the market, and I think it will.

    • FalKirk

      Many of us are rooting for Blackberry. (I just think it’s a forlorn hope.)

    • It can do things that iOS can’t even begin to accomplish.

      Like…?

      • steve_wildstrom

        I would agree with James King–to a point. In terms of kernel architecture, QNX is a very advanced OS. The problem is that from a user’s point of view, that doesn’t matter because the BlackBerry doers not deliver a better experience (due mainly to the shortcomings of apps.) And it’s user experience, not architecture, that sells.

        • James King

          I agree it’s largely a semantical point right now but it does give BB10 strong potential for future differentiation with its native apps.

          *crosses fingers *

        • I have installed and configured institutional hardware that ran on QNX (hardened intercom systems for correctional facilities) and do have a pretty good grasp of why, technically, QNX is considered a superior OS to iOS in some if not many ways in regards to core underpinnings. Perhaps I should have penned a lengthier reply but that’s exactly what I was getting at; aside from technical capabilities, exactly what is it about the new Blackberry OS that delivers a “better experience”. How has the superiority of the underlying OS served the user of the Blackberry?

  • John

    I think people are missing the point. Which is more attractive or pretty is subjective. But the new design better allows you to at a glance find what you are looking for. It’s the difference between an Olde English font, and a modern font. Yes, the olde English font is more pretty, but a modern font is more functional, and readable at a glance.

    • mhikl

      You got it, John. That is exactly how I felt seeing it on stage; confusion gone, measurably easy to discern; I wait, baited breadth, to see it in action. Those in question, for the most part, will be pleased, I suspect.

    • Defendor

      Except IOS 7, increases confusion and makes things harder to find. Some of those icons are too abstract, so you Need to READ the text, to figure them out. Look at Game Center. It is a bunch of colored circles now.

      Also the white fonts on pastel is harder to read. Look at the image I included in my earlier post. IOS 6 has a small drop shadow, which aids reading low contrast color combinations. That is missing in IOS 7.

      So you have more abstract icons, that require reading, you also have less readable text.

      That is NOT an improvement.

      • FalKirk

        “Except IOS 7, increases confusion and makes things harder to find.” – Defendor

        I will respectfully disagree. I think it’s a simpler, more intuitive interface. We shall see.

        • Defendor

          I cite specific examples that I think are hard to refute.

          The game center Icon is abstract to the point of being meaningless. It is just a bunch of circles, when before it actually conveyed meaning. How does meaningless colored circles = more intuitive?

          Again on the white fonts on a pale background. That is a visual ergonomic nightmare. iOS6 has a black drop shadow to fix this as does just about anyone displaying white text.

          Abstract icons and harder to read text, is step in the wrong direction.

          • Hosni

            @Defender – “I cite specific examples that I think are hard to refute.”

            The game center icon does not represent circles, but balls … as in baseball, basketball, tennis and many other games. Not so abstract to me. One could leave the game center icon in the same spot so it’s unnecessary to look for it each time.

            White fonts on a pale background … can be ‘fixed’ by selecting a different background color or photo.

            You did cite specific examples, but they weren’t hard to refute.

          • Defendor

            That is more rationalizing than refutation.

            The game center icon doesn’t represent ball game type balls.

            Oddly, while all the other icons are like flat clip art from 1989, this one has a rendered look, with reflection and transparency. They are essentially colored glass spheres. It is a bit meaningless abstraction.

            A UI that only works with dark backgrounds when you can have user supplied wallpaper is a bit of a failure, especially when the default background is pale as well.

            A real fix would be a drop shadow like in iOS 6.

          • Hosni

            “The game center icon doesn’t represent ball game type balls.” Says you.

            “… especially when the default background is pale.” At Apple’s website the iOS7 background is blue. So who says the default background is pale? Oh yeah … you.

            You should stop saying that your claims are “hard to refute.” They are actually IMPOSSIBLE to refute. By definition.

          • The game center Icon is abstract to the point of being meaningless.

            No, criticisms of an icon that has no set-stone-qualifications to be consider a game centre icon is abstract to the point of being meaningless.

            How does meaningless colored circles = more intuitive?

            How does a sunflower mean pictures?

            The internet is slowly giving everyone a combination of Asperger’s and Tourettes.

      • mhikl

        And you know this from seeing it presented on stage. Fascinating.

      • Except IOS 7, increases confusion and makes things harder to find.

        Someone has been taking Topolsky’s gibberish to heart…

  • Derek in Milan

    I really LIKE this new look. Its functional and beautiful. I do not understand how Apple could have kept the old look but made it new, which is what most seem to be suggesting here.
    This will be a big hit with 90% of users.

  • cmd

    Umm swiping up is not something Apple has just come up with. These gestures are a blatant rip-off of Blackberry’s BB10! Apple days of innovating are long over, they will keep swiping ideas from others.

    Control
    Center is another good example that is enabled by swiping up from the
    bottom. A simple yet efficient difference from competitors who have all
    notifications and controls swiping from the top down. For many
    reaching their thumb to the top to swipe down is hard or clumsy,
    especially on large screen devices. Yet for everyone, swiping up to
    access some of the most used controls is easily within reach. This is a great example of thoughtful functionality being added to iOS 7. – See more at: http://techpinions.com/ios-7-a-new-beginning-for-ios/18372#sthash.NmKI6zh1.dpuf
    Control
    Center is another good example that is enabled by swiping up from the
    bottom. A simple yet efficient difference from competitors who have all
    notifications and controls swiping from the top down. For many
    reaching their thumb to the top to swipe down is hard or clumsy,
    especially on large screen devices. Yet for everyone, swiping up to
    access some of the most used controls is easily within reach. This is a great example of thoughtful functionality being added to iOS 7. – See more at: http://techpinions.com/ios-7-a-new-beginning-for-ios/18372#sthash.NmKI6zh1.dpuf

    • steve_wildstrom

      Both iOS 7 and BB10 swiped swiping up from webOS. But this sort of borrowing has been going on at least since UNIX took a bunch of ideas from Multix.

    • Umm swiping up is not something Apple has just come up with.

      Try not rely on tired and ridiculous mythic tropes, in this case the childish notion that everything Apple has developed, released, written or designed it also claims to have “invented”. It’s a straw man claim, and it is without merit. Trying to critique Apple on the basis of a claim that is actually made by Apple’s detractors is pointless.

  • Angus Dike

    I do have one question, has anyone, including Ben, actually used iOS 7?

    One thing I’ve come to understand about all these modern OS’s is two things:

    1. They all borrow heavily from webOS (and I continue to mourn it’s loss) and I continue to be confused as to why no one is sued. Not bothered, just honestly interested in why.

    2. Big announcements explaining features are fine. But the devil is always in the detail and implementation. Like multitasking for example. There are a million ways to claim multitasking. Again, webOS was what I would call true multitasking. Android claims the current crown. But in use, it’s far from perfect and webOS standards. Apple claiming multitasking? I’ve no doubt it’s leagues better than their previous offering, but people please. These things have to be used, and often the developers have to make the most of it before we can say how this is the next evolution of mankind and the future has arrived.

    With all that said, I am excited by the prospects of what iOS brings. I don’t even use iOS but I just like to see good stuff for people. I think swiping up from the bottom (cough*webOS*cough) is a good idea and I hope it’s well implemented.

    Lastly, I must disagree with Ben on one point. Simplicity. iOS has developed into something that is far from simple. I know this because I help many people use technology every day. If you stay on the Apple path you tend to be OK. But when you see a) what they told you isn’t all there is and b) when you do have a legitimate issue, it’s often more difficult to solve. And more expensive. Very few I’ve met use or even know the iPad gestures (even though I quite like them). The settings menu is a labyrinth. And I find that I can often do simple tasks like transferring media from a person’s laptop to their smartphone quicker on Android and (sometimes) Windows Phone than iOS.

    While I agree that the original system of “stab an icon, stab the home button” is simple, the OS has become more confusing, for many IT levels of skill. I’m guessing this is the delicate balance of adding functionality in a cohesive way. Not easy.

    • FalKirk

      “has anyone, including Ben, actually used iOS 7” – Angus Dike

      The developers have the new iOS, in beta, but it will take some time for a truly reliable evaluation to emerge.

    • benbajarin

      I’ve played with it on at least a dozen devices from devs today who went and downloaded it right after the keynote. All good things from the time I had with it.

    • steve_wildstrom

      I, too, mourn for webOS, cut down before its time, and acknowledge iOS’s debt to it on this site. But ever since Lotus v. Borland it has been effectively impossible to protect the look and feel of software through copyright; all you can protect is the actual code. You can protect certain software elements through patents and it is possibile Apple may have licensed some elements from either HP or LG–it’s not clear who owns what bits of the webOS IP at this point.

  • Dark Templar

    As the change is rather… radical, Apple should give the choice to future buyers of the iPhone 5S and iPad 5 (I would be one of them…) between iOS 6 and 7… What do you think?

    • steve_wildstrom

      That Apple would never do it. Apple’s goal with iOS has always been to move all customers that can handle a new version of an OS to it as quickly as possible and to maintain uniformity across the platform. And developers love them for that. Given the large differences in the design esthetic between iOS 6 and 7, as a developer, which look would you go for if users could choose either. Also, a new OS is a lot more than just a design.

      • Dark Templar

        Well, I thought so … It’s just that I am among those who think that the elegance of iOS lies precisely in the visual richness and attention to detail of skeuomorphism and this is, among other things, what differentiated iOS from the other mobile operating systems .. . I guess we’ll get used to it sooner or later, is not it?

  • mildmanneredjanitor

    I think it looks horrific. The glass design elements are so Vista Aero. Not good. The parallax 3D is incredibly gimmicky, clearly a sad attemp to distract from the fact that the primary interface remains screenfuls and screenfuls of static icons. This OS is ageing disgracefully. Too much makeup on an old girl.

    Apple lost its mojo.

    • screenfuls and screenfuls of static icons.

      Please blow this out your ass. The “primary interface” is of secondary importance. In case it has missed your attention, the reason people flock to smartphones is because of what they can do with them. And those things they do are accomplished through apps. Either built in, or third party. This insipid whining about “”rows of icons” is made by people seemingly incapable of grasping that the icons are a way to get apps, which is how you do things with your phone, which is the actual thing of tantamount importance to the user. The “primary interface” is something no one spends any significant time using. It’s a way to get at the loaded apps. You might as well be claiming that people with desktop computers stare at their file lists all day everyday.

      Too much makeup on an old girl.

      A typical dopey remark from a dopey nerd who thinks he can determine the nature of an operating system by looking at some screenshots.

      • mildmanneredjanitor

        Touch a raw nerve did I? Your jealousy clearly fuels you as you sit there trying to see if there is perhaps more behind your icons… literally.

        • Ah, the sad, preening narcissism of the internet troll.

          Let me translate what you’ve basically said here:

          “I, mildmanneredjanitor, have typed patently ignorant and moronic assertions based on little or no thought. When called on my stupid assertions, I jump up and down with glee because someone took notice of my puerile stupidity.”

          The End.

  • jfutral

    One of the difficulties I find in the design is the tension a Modern aesthetic is having in a post-Modern world. Modern art is the child of early 20th century. Even as Damien Hirst (which I think the design elements of iOS7 share a common theme, particularly the dots) still finds acclaim among art critics and curators, it is difficult to escape a very 20th century period centric look to his work. While mid-century furniture and design is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence, it is only through nostalgia.

    Much of the actuals in the interface have a very retro feel. Some (like the Message, iTunes Store, and App store icons) look like they are trying to fit it, but don’t just yet. But this is the dilemma of any Modern aesthetic trying to maintain a contemporary, post-Modern significance. Not many Modern practitioners have pulled it off. Architect Zaha Hadid has. I see iOS 7 as the Potato Eaters were to van Gogh. No doubt there is more to be worked out before we get to Starry Night.

    Joe

  • This is an exquisite article. it’s terribly shrewd and conjointly the points created ar every valid and attention-grabbing. this could have taken lots of labor.

  • Dave Stenhouse

    I suppose Apple had to wait for hardware improvements to be able to support better multitasking on mobile devices. It will be interesting to see if the number of complaints over application performance issues will be on the increase as a result. Obviously they’ll have to wait for further evolution of hardware to put OSX on the mobile platform, although don’t hold your breath for that – the hackintosh community would probably jump on this and you’d soon find mobile OSX appearing on all types of mobile hardware! I don’t think Apple will ever move away from locking in the OS to the hardware and their customers from the iTunes store.

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