Thoughts on the iOS 7 Redesign

There’s a lot of criticism of iOS 7 about the new, simpler design: here’s my take on it.

Ever since the launch of the iPhone, Apple’s never really made any major changes to the iOS. It’s been pretty much the same thing ever since: a panel of icons, a blue-ish interface, and a design that often mimics real life, with a notable example being yellow notepaper. This is always how iOS has looked like, but with the recent announcement of iOS 7, Apple has finally shown the new direction towards which iOS will be heading.

iOS 7 on the left, iOS 6 on the right.

As you can see, there’s quite a notable difference in the design of the two different versions. iOS 7 represents a switch from ‘skeuomorphism’ . Skeuomorphism is a design philosophy that is based on emulating real-world objects in designs. Pre-7 iOS was very heavily skeuomorphic, due to the influence of Steve Jobs and his love for skeuomorphism. (Jobs was a big skeuomorphic champion). But Jony Ive, the designer of Apple’s beloved hardware, was assigned to design iOS 7, and he did away with all the skeuomorphic influences there. The cleaner interface is more modern and much simpler.

At first glance I couldn’t decide if whether or not I like it, however. It’s…flatter. More Android-like. It’s simpler. Less shiny. Those areScreen Shot 2013-06-20 at 9.40.54 AM a few words that I’d used to describe iOS 7. It’s also childish. There’s a few things that I really hate about iOS 7, and I guess I’ll talk about them first. Some of the icons are just oversimplified or simply rushed out though. Some of them look like they’re drawn on MS Paint. There’s the Notes app, for instance. The Newstand icon also looks pretty childish.

Make no mistake though, I don’t dislike iOS 7’s new interface, even if I’m giving the impression that I do. In fact, I do like iOS’s cleaner interface that gives a more consistent user experience. Those who argue that iOS 7 is just a small design revamp to change the eye candy is missing the point. It’s always the design that has driven Apple forward, so shouldn’t it be logical that Apple is focusing on improving an outdated design? That’s a big enough change for one version update.


And iOS 7 has just what Apple needs. It’s the element of surprise, of something fresh and new. I used to follow Apple’s news quite a lot, but I’ve stopped since the launch of the iPhone 5. And there’s a reason: Apple barely does anything new and exciting anymore. I wrote in a post from some time ago about how Apple is becoming boring. Finally, they’re releasing something new: a new, cleaner interface that gives iOS 7 a facelift. It’s catching up with the trend of modern interfaces that are usually clean and simple. (Not that there isn’t a motive for this. With such heated competition from Android they do need something new and exciting).

Critics are often judging how iOS 7 is childish and some things are ugly. In my opinion, it’s not; it’s a more beautiful and modern design that strips away the unnecessary eye candy. You can actually take a look at iOS 7 with this demo here. You’ll see how Apple redesigns all its core applications, giving it either a white or black color scheme with a new font. And this redesign doesn’t make iOS lose its familiarity either, which is good because most of us don’t bother relearning things. 😉

But the best thing in iOS 7 might not be the redesign at all: it’s the added feature of the Control Center which finally makes a couple functions quickly accessible instead of having to go in the Settings menu every time.

That said, it’s not like all of this is good. Some of the icons seem rushed, and Apple will (hopefully) fix some of these for the final release of iOS 7. Some people say though that icons aren’t that important. But they are. Yes, we spend the majority of our time inside apps…but who wants to stare at an ugly icon every day. Still, we’ve got to give Sir Jony Ive some applause for finally redesigning the iOS 7. He’s completing his vision of a Zen-style and simple tech device that’s beautiful both with the hardware and the software.

Thanks for reading.

-Ken

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9 thoughts on “Thoughts on the iOS 7 Redesign

  1. I honestly hate the new design. It’s like Google’s various services, except ten times as colorful, and not in a good way. But I agree 100%, this is what Apple used to do. Apple has always been known for taking traditional products and completely redoing them in an almost ridiculous way. Even though I hate the design, I’m glad Apple seems to be back to what it was. And people aren’t paying attention to what really makes the phone: there’s plenty of amazing features added for once. The new Pandora Radio-esque iTunes looks like a great feature, and the camera is finally getting some nicer features, from what I’ve seen. Maybe next time they’ll get the theme right (or finally make it customizable besides the wallpaper), and then it will be great.

    1. I do get what you mean. I still think the design could be better, but it’s good enough for a beta I guess. I could’ve talked about the features but there isn’t much debate there so that isn’t fun for a post. 😉

  2. It seems to be much like android, except for one thing. It isn’t as customizable as android. Sure the colours are nice, but some are overused such as in the music logo, it turned very… red. It didn’t keep the same orange-ish theme and I agree with you that some of the logoes look really rushed.

    I am an android user (as you know) and I think that this boosted apple up to almost a 50 50 for my choice of phones, just because of the appearance. Although some icons look like they overexposed the colours, some of the features like the control center is nice. The design is nice, everything is nice, but the only thing that apparently bothers me is it’s similarity to android and I find it really… depressing somewhat xD

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily call it copying Android. It’s simply the development and maturing of iOS towards a direction in which the market seems to be heading.

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