Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Smart Observations of iOS 7

iOS 7 is a huge change. With such a change comes the inevitable bevy of articles critiquing, interpreting, and explaining it.

Federico Viticci wants you to think in a broader scope:

The motivation has changed: Apple isn’t asking how they can create a mobile OS that takes the user by the hand; they want to make iOS more delightful and simple without giving up on raw power and advanced technology. And for iOS 7, they have decided to bet on content and functionality instead of ornaments. This is a profound change with consequences that go beyond “how icons look”.

John Gruber thinks that iOS 7 feels like it has become part of the hardware:

There’s a sense of place, depth, and spatiality in iOS 7 that makes it feel like hardware. A real thing, not pixels rendered on glass. It’s as though Ive has brought the same design goals that have always informed Apple’s hardware to software. And here, his team isn’t limited by physics. Planes can have zero thickness. But it’s a system, in the truest sense of the word.

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan really likes the parallax effect:

The biggest—and perhaps most elegant—element of the new system is its responsivity. For example, iOS 7 uses the accelerometer to adapt the screen in parallax, achieving those new sorts of depth Ive mentioned. And using the phone’s light meter, it seems that the new icons and background adapt to the lighting to improve readability automatically—a bit like the previous iOS’ ability to adapt screen brightness to environmental conditions.

Frank Chimero wants you to be more patient:

It’s worth remembering that Ive took over Human Interface only 7 months ago, and they redesigned the whole phone in that time. Straight up: seven months is a ridiculous deadline.

Stephen Hackett doesn’t think that this redesign was really all that big, in the wider scope:

However, once we can all zoom out a little bit, I think iOS 7 will be seen as an evolutionary change. A big one, perhaps, but one that shouldn’t be seen as all that surprising.

Joshua Topolsky has written a diatribe which is partly comprised of smart observations, and partly padded with silly complaints:

The Control Center, a new option which can be summoned with a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is actually a great idea but its design and organization of items is bizarre. It is an odd, jarring collection of functions. Toggles for oft-used controls, a brightness bar, a music player? AirDrop accessibility? A flashlight app? The clock? It feels like for lack of a better location Apple lumped all the other stuff into a single, messy space that floats above your onscreen content, making the already busy utility a visual strain.

The top row is toggles, below that is a brightness control, below that are music controls, then Air-branded sharing options, then quick access to common functions. Think of it as a quick way to tweak frequently-accessed things. This isn’t difficult.

As I mentioned, Topolsky does have a few smart critiques in his post. But, as with many editorials on The Verge these days, it is padded with click-inducing SEO-enhancing goodness.

Harry Marks thinks that you’re complaining too much:

A popular podcaster and writer once claimed “nothing is so perfect it cannot be complained about” and in saying that, did readers and listeners a disservice. He instilled in them a belief that all opinions are valuable, but the Internet has proven that is simply untrue. Additionally, the feeling that something must be complained about in order to be understood is a terrible way to live. There is no happiness in nitpicking something to the point where it’s no longer enjoyable. When nothing is “good enough”, nothing is good.

There’s a lot to unpack in iOS 7. With an over-the-air update — iPhone 4, iPad 2, and everything more recent — combined with fast user uptake, it’s set to be the most popular mobile OS this fall. It needs to be great, and Apple is laying the groundwork for just that.

I defer to my own commentary from yesterday:

But all of these features are simply ways of representing the mantra with which they opened the keynote. Everything is about design, and therefore about functionality. Apple ditched the leather in Calendar partly because it’s aesthetically challenged, but because of a broader reason than that: it isn’t helpful to the end user. This philosophy has long beeen a part of Apple’s design process, but it has ascended to new importance with Jony Ive’s rising role at the company.

This is the Tim Cook Apple.