Archive | June, 2013

iOS 7 – A review of sorts

13 Jun

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If you had read my previous blog, you will have seen that Apple recently announced the next installment of their mobile operating system – iOS 7.

Since writing my last blog I have had the chance to download, install and use the operating system for a few days. I am starting to get to grips with it.

Prior to installing I was very skeptical about it. I did not like the idea of flat design as I believed that it was going against everything that Apple had always “been about”. I felt like Apple were giving in to their rivals, because lets be honest, there is nothing innovative about iOS 7. Its practically a polished up Android design.

One of the reasons I own Apple devices is because I’ve always liked the easy to use, skeumorphism designs that the company are known for, and turning to flat designs made me question if it would be better to go for another phone that have had more time to develop their ‘flat’ designs. Such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is a very nice phone indeed. However, after using the new operating system it is clear that Apple’s take on flat is very different, and much better than first pictured.

Ease of Use

Even though iOS 7 looks different to previous versions, you can tell that the six years worth of work that the team at Apple have put into this operating system still exists. The very core of the OS has not changed at all, it pretty much just has a new lick of paint with some added features.

Everything works in pretty much the same way, we have new features such as the control center that gives us features that our long loved jailbreak SBSettings has provided us with for many years now.

The only noticeable design change that has hindered the ease of use occurs mainly within the calender application and some other little aspects of the OS. The new design in many cases does not provide clear separation between different sections of various applications. It is most noticeable within the calendar app where by there is no separation between the months. You can see this within the screenshot below. It can be confusing and a clearer method of presentation could be used.

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Design

The design I believe is a refreshing update from what was a stale and outdated operating system. Although I was originally skeptical to move away from what I thought was great and worked the way I wanted, I now look back at iOS 6 on my old devices and wonder why I ever put up with the old clunky design. The new IOS makes much better use of the retina display too, the lockscreen is beautiful.

There is more good news about iOS 7 too, according to reports it is still in its very early stages of design. Between now and the public release there are going to be many different design changes to the OS, meaning we should not worry about some of those awful looking icons, as they are most definitely not here to stay.

Jony Ive has also reported that it wasn’t actually his own design team that worked on the icon set for iOS 7. He passed on the task to the company’s marketing and website design team. A strange but clever move, because after all, why use the same designers that have been working on the old design when you could bring something fresh to the mix?

I am very excited to see what the final product will look like. Jony Ive has only had 6 months to put this together, he now has a further 3ish months to finish the job properly.

RIP SBSettings.

-DC
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iOS7: Flattened all over

10 Jun

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Well, as expected – say goodbye to skeuomorphism and hello to flat.

It’s been half an hour since the WWDC ended and all through the event I kept seeing parts of the new iOS that I did not like, to begin with I hated the icons, they looked like Apple had fired all their designers and used a free source icon set they found on Google. But when picking the photo to use for this blog post, my opinion had already changed. I like them.

Change is never good, except when it is. At first people don’t like change if it is too different, it puts people off when they have to sway away from what they are used to.

This is what will happen with iOS 7, people will see all these changes and their minds will go into overdrive trying to work out how this new system works. This in turn will make them want to hold onto something they are used to – iOS 6.

We all wanted change and that is exactly what we got. I imagine it will be a huge success and people will grow to like it. I can already feel myself liking the things I didn’t like to begin with, I’m sure this will continue.

Throughout the announcement I couldn’t help but think that if Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall were still at Apple then this (flat design akin to other phones) would not have happened, the move goes against everything that Apple used to stand for. A lot of people will argue that Apple has changed since Steve passed, we are still waiting to see if this will be a good thing.

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There are certainly some design elements that Apple could improve on in iOS 7, they could have done SO much better. The look of “Control Centre” for example, is atrocious, they could have made it look so much nicer. To me, its the most disgusting feature I have seen on a phone, and goes against everything Apple have ever said about “Simple, beautiful design”.

If you really think about it though, this is only the start of flat design at Infinity Loop. It has its flaws but I will still use it in hope I will grow to like the new designs or they will change. Thinking back to iOS 1, it was horrible compared to iOS 6. Here is to iOS 13.

- DC