A lot of people dislike iOS 7. They can’t stand it. They are passionate about hating it. Even rabid Apple fans. I don’t quite get it, though I am trying to understand where they are coming from. Personally, I love iOS 7.
To me, the obvious reason almost any non-designer, regular user doesn’t like iOS 7 is because they are not used to it. People don’t like change. Previous iterations of iOS were very similar—Apple’s mobile operating system hadn’t really changed aesthetically in any significant way for years. I keep wondering… what if iOS had previously looked like it does now with iOS 7. People would probably be used to that and would be complaining if it had changed to look more like iOS 6.
Think about this for a moment: if you could make iOS 7 look and function any way you wanted, what would it look like? That’s a serious question that I hope you take time to answer in the comments below. I don’t mean what Android features would you want to see. I mean what original features or aesthetics would you want to see. Most people will probably have a hard idea coming up with any substantial changes. It’s hard to be creative and even harder to be original. Jony Ive and company, in my humble opinion, have done an excellent job of doing both.
I overheard someone say the other day that iOS 7 was a reactionary change Apple implemented because of Android advances. In this I disagree. The iPad Mini was reactionary. iOS 7 was visionary. It had the guts to head in a bold new direction and shed the familiar. Bright colors, flat icons, a revamped notification center, scrolling folders. I love it all.
Are there features not found in iOS 7 that can be found in other smartphones? Of course. Are they killer features? I don’t think so, personally. I’d rather AirDrop a file to a friend or co-worker than bump phones together. I simply don’t need to control my phone via hand gestures. I would never choose a non-iOS device over an iPhone or iPad because it could pause a movie when I looked away. These types of features are trivial, frankly, and Android users have admitted to me that they are mostly gimmicky. If there is any functionality I want to extend my device with… there’s the world’s most comprehensive App Store to browse through.
What I am driving at is that for me, less is almost always more. I applaud Apple for not trying to “keep up with the Joneses” by adding every little feature found on other devices. I don’t want features. I want good, or even great, features. Useful features.
All of this is not to say that iOS 7 is somehow a gigantic advance in the style of Steve Jobs himself. Apple has hit a bit of a lull in terms of hardware and software that really makes you say, “Wow!” like the first iPhone or iPod or iMac did. But iOS 7 doesn’t suck. If anything, it blows the competition away.
When I hear iPhone or iPad users complain about iOS 7, my first question is: “Have you ever tried an Android device?” Their answer is oftentimes, “No.” I wish every iOS user would do themselves a favor and go to the nearest Best Buy, Staples or Office Depot and tap around on an Android tablet for awhile. Give the Nexus a try, or a Galaxy device, a Nook or a Kindle Fire. Then tell me you like those interfaces more than iOS 7.
To me, as a designer and a consumer, Android in it’s many forms is ugly. It feels like Windows 3.1 on many devices such as a Galaxy phone. There’s no uniformity: icons are circles, they’re squares, they have transparent backgrounds. Elements and actions seem to have no purpose. Apps are stacked against the bottom of the screen to make way for a search bar or a giant clock. iOS is about beautiful utility and order. Android is about search and a giant clock. It feels chaotic. On the Kindle Fire it’s just plain terrible.
The one somewhat legitimate I have heard about iOS 7 concerns the size and color of the app name labels. Older people tell me it is harder for them to read. Perhaps, if Apple determines there is merit to this, they will look into an adjustment, or, more likely, they have already given this a great deal of thought and have decided it’s great the way it is. It has never been an issue for me.
The truth of the matter is, it’s hardly worth complaining about. You’ll get used to it soon enough 🙂