Home > Apple > ‘iOS 7: black, white, and flat all over’ ‘iOS 7: black, white, and flat all over’ Thom Holwerda 2013-05-24 Apple 35 Comments “Sources have described iOS 7 as ‘black, white, and flat all over‘. This refers to the dropping of heavy textures and the addition of several new black and white user interface elements.” I couldn’t be happier. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 35 Comments 2013-05-24 2:56 pm Chrispynutt I know many will be happy. However there are also many mobile OSs that offer flat design. Not being an iDevice user I asked a designer/illustrator I am working with what he thought of it. He was worried a lot of the charm and personality would be stripped from iOS. I showed him some of the more charming Holo apps on my phone and he wasn’t impressed. Many people will be very happy with the flattening of iOS. Many will see it had the destruction of joy and personality. I wonder what the general population will think of this. Then again I am from the UK a large portion of my country wishes Modernism had never happened. 2013-05-24 3:56 pm tkeith You’re probably right, some people will complain about the change, while others will love it. But isn’t that almost always the case? I know a lot of people that are still upset about Windows changing the widgets with XP to the rounded corners, and set it to Windows 95 style. Maybe every OS shouldn’t be flat and skeuomorphism free, but even iOS fans must agree a refresh is needed. It will be interesting to see where Apple falls into design. Personally I prefer the more subtle and transparent Holo look to Microsoft’s loud(intrusive?) and colorful “Metro”. 2013-05-24 8:22 pm Chrispynutt I don’t mean the knee jerk reaction to change. I think there is an argument for more than one design school to be observed at one time. That said it would at least unify the interface with the externals. iOS needs more than a coat of paint too. Not that anyone else is perfect, I just see that this changing of the guard may mean some greater changes. On the other hand, Samsung’s faux-metal plastic and cheerful cheesey skinning seem to be going down well. Kitch blingy covers sell well for the iPhone too. I think this one will be an interesting one to watch. 2013-05-24 5:46 pm No it isnt Charm of iOS? It’s advertisement aesthetics taken to the absolute. It’s about as charming as CGI soft porn. 2013-05-24 3:39 pm Kochise Apple copying Microsoft’s sense of aesthetic, a new era has begun… Kochise 2013-05-24 4:58 pm Vanders Copying Microsoft? “Black, white and flat” sounds like the original Mac OS to me. What’s old is new again. 2013-05-24 5:48 pm Kochise Then show me the black in this picture : http://9to5mac.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/screen-shot-2013-05-23-a… Kochise 2013-05-24 7:25 pm Vanders Hey, I’m just going by someone else’s description. Red/Black/Blue/Pink who cares? It’s all monochrome. Hell, that UI even has Round Rects all over it. 2013-05-24 7:46 pm Kochise Apple holds the patent about rounded corners, so it’s not an issue. Kochise 2013-05-24 4:47 pm Tractor Why couldn’t each one decide which looks it prefers ? I can understand that some people prefer skeuomorphic design, even if I don’t. 2013-05-24 5:14 pm darknexus I care far more about what changes we will get, functionally, as a result of this new design. I don’t give a crap about most of this, but I do hope we see some genuine refreshes to the functioning of the os and not just how it looks. Example: this home screen-based launcher system has to go. It’s far too cluttered now, and the home screen should be only where *you* put *your* most favored apps for quick access. There are a number of functional improvements I’d love to see, and whether it’s textured or flat is irrelevant to me as long as usability is improved. 2013-05-25 3:36 am terra …Example: this home screen-based launcher system has to go. It’s far too cluttered now, and the home screen should be only where *you* put *your* most favored apps for quick access… People put most favoured apps onto home screen for quick access and other apps throughout other pages. No one has been forced not to put most favoured apps on the first page! I find harder to use Android because I have to enter into another page by clicking an icon and swipe through to get to the desired app otherwise I just need to swipe through pages to find one. See? One more click makes me feel it is really annoying. So ..You sound like you have never played with any iOS device. 2013-05-26 3:49 pm darknexus People put most favoured apps onto home screen for quick access and other apps throughout other pages. Some people just don’t get it. It’s not my *favorite* apps that I have to look for. It’s those that I don’t use all that often that are hiding when I need to find them, and that’s just me. It’s tedious but not hard, as I know how *my* device is laid out. I also have to support others’ iDevices however, and you’d not believe some of the screwed up layouts I’ve seen. Try finding settings when it’s on page 5 of 9 in a folder called “unused.” I shit you not, I’ve seen this. It’s quicker when dealing with this just to go to spotlight and find the damn thing… except that the idiot user had turned all spotlight searches off. Having a straight up “all apps” list would’ve made my life a lot easier. It’s not as though the two can’t coexist. 2013-05-27 4:45 pm tkeith You do realize you can put all your apps on your home screen on android too, right? No extra clicks required. And yes I believe the early versions of Ios did not let you organize your icons. 2013-05-27 6:01 pm phoenix You can even configure the Play Store to automatically create shortcuts for newly installed apps on the home screen(s). In fact, that’s the default (which is annoying as hell when I forget to disable it upon re-flashing a ROM/gapps). 2013-05-24 5:44 pm Brunis Monochrome Metro .. 2013-05-24 5:53 pm syphon “flat all over” sounds like Windows/Metro for Me. For me it is OK, because Metro style is most efficient way for limited pixel usage. I am Windows Phone user, each of my friends has iphone I don’t really like the Bubbles in SMS dialog, and Jeans backgroud, Metallic sliders and other Circus effects of iOS. Where is the minimalistic design of Apple, IOS visual effects are anything except minimalistic. 2013-05-24 8:23 pm tylerdurden “Minimalist design” and “low information density” are not necessarily the same thing. Edited 2013-05-24 20:23 UTC 2013-05-24 6:06 pm jbijnens I disagree with the original poster. One of the things I like about iOS is the fact that it doesn’t feel so artificial, that it looks and feels like the ‘old-fashioned’ real-life counterparts (agenda, notebook, …). If it is going to look as that MS Metro shit I definitely won’t upgrade as it will feel as a GUI downgrade. 2013-05-24 8:28 pm Chrispynutt I get your feeling. It’s not just a reaction to change, but a reaction to the personality being removed. That said I think iOS could smarten up without losing itself. 2013-05-24 7:05 pm vtolkov Sad. Apple is copying what everyone else is doing. Now people are paying extra for visual pleasure. if there no distinction, there is no need to pay extra. Steve would fire someone for that. They could allow themes for someone like me, who hates that flattery. 2013-05-24 7:25 pm leos People realize these are just concepts right? Nothing in that article is iOS7. Anyway, I’m not sold on flat design. Yes some parts of iOS are over the top (game center), but I find much of Android much too flat. The mail app is a good example of confusing interface, where you have to think or remember what controls go together because everything is just floating. Got my wife a Nexus 4 recently, and she had some trouble figuring out the interface in various places. Never had such trouble with iOS. Gmail is another example where I constantly have to think about what to press because it is too flat and bland/unintuitive icons. 2013-05-24 8:31 pm Chrispynutt Yeah, some light and depth never hurt. 2013-05-26 4:41 am subairm I agree with you. It is really hard to find or use Gmail as confused what to do with their GUI when I am in Gmail. Everything has been changed. Well, Changes always good. But it must be superior to the previous one. The user should feel more comfortable than the previous one. They shouldn’t be feel uncomfortable and feel that need a big learning curve to use the new one. The world and peoples are moving very fast and no time to learn. How do we change? Do we need change everything? 1. Windows VISTA is an alpha version of Windows 7 2. Since I born I can pick an Apple easily from vegetable market. 2013-05-24 7:36 pm Verenkeitin Oh great. iOS going full on flat design means its going to infest everything from toasters to cars to Firefox. No more enclosing shapes to nicely group related elements. Just endless ocean of white space dotted by items that used to look look like buttons and other recognizable interface elements. 2013-05-24 9:18 pm bnolsen I’m not sure why the voting down. I’m disturbed by some of the new website I’ve seen which have gone with these blocks, etc. I find them difficult to use and quickly spot what I’m looking for. I’m also sorry for color blind folks who in some cases aren’t going to see much variation. Most things in nature and the world are textured, ripping out textures from interfaces seems as counter intuitive as overtexturing them. The pendulum is swinging too far! How about we just start ripping out all this extra animation stuff that in some cases seems to interfere with responsiveness? Edited 2013-05-24 21:18 UTC 2013-05-24 11:37 pm Nelson I agree and I think that Microsoft is wrong in Metro to go so radically flat. I think Google has it closest to right here with Holo though. http://www.matthewmooredesign.com/almost-flat-design/ This is an article I read a little while ago that seems to come to the same conclusion. It includes pictures though to illustrate the point. 2013-05-24 9:27 pm Phloptical Yeah, it’s “old”….so what? Why mess with what works? Change for the sake of change is also known as “Microsoft”. There’s nothing visually striking about flat borderless, lifeless icons floating about on a sea of white, black, or fractal with nothing on it but a word. It’s nothing more than lazy design relabeled as “progress”. I do hope this is the typical BS misinformation that usually precedes an Apple launch. 2013-05-25 11:30 am tomchr I’m intrigued. Ive usually knows what he’s doing. It is a art minimalizing the necessary symbolism while keeping it instantly recognizable. I just hope he stays clear of doing something even remotely similar to the Metro interface. 2013-05-26 10:51 am Shane iOS is looking a bit dated and is due for a refresh. Let me put it this way: if I’m building an iOS app, I do not even consider sticking with the default control theme. Whereas I will probably stick to the holo look if I’m building an Android app. Apple may go for a flatter look, but iOS 7 will not look like Metro, which has heaps of sharp corners everywhere. Round rects have been in Apple’s DNA forever. Both in their hardware and in their software. See http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Round_Rects_Are_Everywhe… I like Google’s recent designs. I think Google’s recent stuff strikes a better balance between minimalism and usability than Metro does. Also, Metro often does not use space efficiently. Huge headings and largish type means that they need to use more whitespace, leading to low information density and more scrolling. 2013-05-26 5:42 pm olejon Trends go in a never-ending loop. One thing is trendy, then not, then again, etc. The human brain gets tired of seeing/feeling the same. We need change from time to time. So yeah, some time they have to change just to change (to sell). But it’s not like they have to change it all. Change the colors a bit, a little bit more/less depth, etc works fine. I think Googles approach to minimalism with Holo is nice. Microsoft has gone to far. 2013-05-27 7:44 am kovacm When I first time use Windows 8 I was: “wtf? this looks like my Atari TOS from 1985.” – it is stupidly ugly – they remove visual elements even in case where they are used to emphasise certain part of UI – it is stupid and ugly. btw now even TOS from 1985. looks better than Windows 8. Edited 2013-05-27 07:45 UTC 2013-05-27 10:47 am Kochise Don’t push the line too far, TOS 1 isn’t even multitasking, what Windows 8 is. Try doing some networking with your beloved TOS 1… Now, speaking of MultiTos/Mint/FreeMint, that’s another trend. Kochise 2013-05-27 6:03 pm phoenix “looks better” != “works better” The OP wasn’t comparing how TOS worked on the Atari to how Windows 8 works on the PC; he was comparing the “look’n fell” of TOS to the “look’n feel” of Windows 8. 2013-05-29 3:34 pm friedchicken Sounds stupid. Makes me think what if Benz came to “upgrade” my car and all they did was remove the wood grain steering wheel & trim, leather interior, and the great paint job in exchange for a plastic steering wheel, cloth interior, and some flat & ugly paint that looks like it belongs on a base model Nissan. There’s nothing wrong with eye candy, especially so if there’s no sacrifice in performance & ability.