Apple held its big keynote event thing at WWDC earlier this evening, but since I was away with friends I’ve had to read up on it later in the evening. The company announced iOS 7, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and they gave a preview of the new Mac Pro. Especially the Mac Pro impressed me, and while iOS 7’s new Holo/Metro-inspired theme looks messy and garish to me, I do commend Apple for finally breaking the mold. This news item will focus on iOS 7 – I’ll dive into the Mac Pro and OS X 10.9 tomorrow (it’s late here now).
iOS 7 was the main attraction tonight, and just as all the leaks told us, Apple has revamped the theme for its mobile operating system. Gone is all the garish analog design (yay!), but sadly, the company doesn’t really seem to grasp digital design as well as Microsoft and Google do. The icons in particular look very childish and garish, with neon-bright colours, and some aspects of the operating system are just bad design, like light-grey, thin fonts on white backgrounds. They’ve clearly got a few iterations to go.
Overall though, it’s pretty clear that Apple took a lot – a lot – of inspiration from Metro and Google’s Holo, and mashed them together on top of iOS, without actually changing the underlying workings of the UI. In that sense, it feels more like a flat theme than an actual redesign of the UI. Let me also note that, unlike some others, I have no issues with companies copying each other. In fact, I like the trend towards simplistic, digital design, so Apple following the trend that especially Microsoft has been championing for a few years is a good thing in my view.
As always, though, final judgment is reserved until the new theme has actually been used.
On the feature front, there’s some very useful additions to iOS that were long overdue, such as a quick settings panel that can be accessed by swiping up from below the screen. Multitasking has also been changed, and is now essentially a copy of webOS meets Windows Phone. That’s another great thing to copy, because switching applications on iOS with the icons was pretty terrible. Sadly, Apple maintained the awkward double button press, but alas, I think I’m one of the few who dislikes that. iOS will also adapt to usage patterns, and load applications in the background based on your usage patterns – kind of what Windows has been doing for a while now.
iOS 7 is looking like a relatively big update, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it later this year.
All looks like very nice updates. No gimmicks, just solid useful features. A more unified look to apps and a visual refresh.
Will need to use it, but overall I’m not a huge fan of flat design as used in Android and Windows phone. When combined with busy interfaces, I find it quite confusing when nothing stands out, and it’s difficult to distinguish presentation UI from functional UI. So personally I hope it isn’t as flat as Android.
And my iPhone 4 will be getting the update (minus airdrop). Got that thing as a work phone when it came out 3 years ago, and it still runs the latest software.
Edited 2013-06-11 00:05 UTC
It is only a matter of time now before Apple “invents” all of the features that it has now borrowed from Android and Windows Phone and begins suing other companies for using them. Apple innovates but it copies just as much.