Weekend Review - iOS 7

Last week, in case you were living under a rock next to a pineapple under the sea, Apple revealed iOS 7 at WWDC and it basically reinvented the operating system as much as possible without getting too far away from the fundamentals that appeal to most of it's users. The new design is, as expected, a lot more simplistic and typographically reliant. I almost want to call it clean, but that's slightly redundant and so I'll stick to what I just said.

For a bit of background, Jony Ive was made the chief designer of software just over half a year ago now. He has been working at Apple since 1992 and up until recently focused on the look and feel of the beautiful hardware Apple is known for. This all came about after Scott Forstall was let go, and following these events there have been rumours about the direction that Jony would take iOS. It was always said of Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall that it was their personal love of skeuomorphic design that influenced the operating system in that way.

Despite everybody speculating that iOS would adopt this more simplistic style, I think I can confidently say that the majority of people watching the keynote were surprised when it was unveiled just how far down the authentically digital route they had gone. Apple have certainly taken their cues from Metro here, and I honestly think that people need to give Microsoft more respect for their bravery in being the first large company to adopt such a radical design.

I hesitate to call iOS 7 'flat' because it couldn't be less apt for what they have done here. If anything this version of the operating system is more layered than ever, with aheavy emphasis on the parallax and blurring of the views. People have pointed out that Apple never once said the word 'flat', but I think that it is obvious when you use iOS 7 just how bad a descriptor that would have been.

I downloaded the developer preview on Tuesday, and whilst I can't talk in detail about the features that weren't shown in the keynote, I can speak broadly about my experience playing with it properly over the weekend. Something that I feel hasn't been pointed out enough is how many apps have been basically broken. Such a drastic update is iOS 7 that it has rendered many apps either unattractive or buggy. As much has changed on the developer's end as has on the user's front-end.

Personally I must confess to being very animated about this drastic change in so much of iOS. As somebody working on my own app at the moment I am now aiming to release it day one of the iOS 7 update, targeting the people who can't deal with the ugliness of their not yet redesigned iOS 6 apps. Apple have started again as much as possible without having literally started again, and I feel as though this is exactly the move Apple needed to make.

There have been many people senselessly complaining about the changes, but the people that I actually care about seem to be constructively discussing where Apple have gone wrong in some of their takes on this new look. In my mind it makes far more sense for Apple to have been this drastic with the redesign, knowing that they have the option to scale back, than it would have for them to take this sort of leap in small awkward steps. There have already been many good articles written about this, and a favourite of mine can be found here.

This is definitely an exciting time to be part of the Apple ecosystem, even mores from the developer's end, and I for one am overjoyed to see Apple kicking out at the negativity and pessimism with this enthusiastic attitude, backed with truly incredible products.