For the first time in over 6 years, iPhone and iPad users get a brand new and refreshing update to their sacred Apple products.
It’s been raved about, discussed, debated and even shunned by the design community who, like most passionate brand consumers hated the very thought of something new, especially when expectations were so great. I think it’s an instant defence mechanism to take a dislike to something that threatens to impose change – change that some feel unnecessary. I’m not just talking aesthetics here I’m also talking about engagement, the way users feel when they interact with their devices.
I almost feel sorry for Apple, the huge burden they carry and continue to must be so great. They need to be seen as ‘the innovators’ and ‘the leaders of technology’. After all, their aim was to create products that change the world. So are the expectations of a new iOS too great? The iPhone 5 was rumoured to feature a projector keyboard, which obviously didn’t happen, it’s a ridiculous rumour. My point is, how do you improve on perfection? Well, i thought iOS6 was. I was obviously wrong, so wrong.
Going Back – Skeuomorphism
The above is the calendar from OSX made to look and feel like a real calendar. Skeuomorphism isn’t anything new, I’d be lying (and most UI designers will be too) if they said they didn’t throw in an element or interface that was purposefully (partially or wholly) made to reflect a physical object. In defense, users feel attached to their personal belongings, so when we design interfaces that look like real objects you are potentially invoking the same emotional feelings a user has for their own objects, it kinda makes sense but regardless, it’s a trend. Really, all designers work to trends, no designer is that original because it’s all been done before.
Looking Forward – Flat Design
Flat design, it’s a trend. From desktop to device, designers work in trends. It’s appropriate because Apple and Jonathan Ive chose this direction for a reason, it’s because it’s on trend (so it’s appropriate), it’s not ground breaking, it’s clean and elegant. Flat design is actually something that spawned from the design community not necessarily from big design agencies. Actually, the most innovative design I see is from the design community, probably because there are no constraints. Bevels, embossing, strokes, shadows, glows and OTT gradients have descended into the depths of yesterday.
What I’ve been noticing whilst on iOS7 Beta is apps are now updated in the background, but automatically. Users don’t have to tap into the App Store and update them manually. There are a few companies who have released new app interfaces to coincide with the iOS7 launch.
First out of the gates:
Nike+ was the first app to support the iOS7 outfit, even at Beta stage. They stripped away a lot of the clunky interface elements and replaced them with cleaner UI. They’ve utilised one key colour for primary information and CTA’s. The remainder is a mixture of blacks and greys.
Ebay them followed suit recently, days within the official iOS7 launch. I suspect Ebay has been busy for 12 months+ prior to the new interface. They’ also opted for the clean look, using a mix of blacks and greys. Notice how there are no gradients, no unnecessary drop shadows or strokes.
Even more recently was Twitter. They’ve pretty much kept the same content structure but they’ve given it a more flatter, a more cleaner and contrasty look.
Expect many more apps to be rejuvenated, one at a time opting for a more purer and less cluttered approach. Expect to see great use of iOS7 gesture support and functions.