Thoughts on iOS 7, thus far.
Functionality-wise a lot of it is improvement on existing features or long requested features that many users have wanted for a time (Air Drop sharing, Control Center, etc.) All in all it feels like a refinement not an all new OS, in terms of functionality. Most of it is “well of course”, which is a good sign in many ways.
In terms of the aesthetic, I’m excited and underwhelmed. Almost every element of the aesthetic borrows from existing patterns of simplicity and clarity; all the way down to the typography. In this way I don’t feel that Apple created a new platform of design for everyone to follow, they essentially tapped into the realm of clear, concise, simplistic, efficient design that has been growing more and more present**, and adopted it as policy. I say this without meaning any detriment to its effectiveness. There are some rough edges, but it does provide an improvement.
My only nagging (somewhat paranoid fear), is that Apple has adopted an aesthetic that is already “popular”, they didn’t invent it. In this way I fear that they may try to claim they did and start pushing other pioneers who have been doing a great job of it for a while out of town, in the same way they claimed ownership over gestures that were around long before iOS Anything.
On the positive, it asserts a focus on design that builds from clarity, something I can certainly get behind.
On the negative, it worries me that Apple may kill the entire philosophy by demanding ownership over it.
** I’m referring to what some have mislabeled as “flat design”, something that was heavily integrated BUT NOT INVENTED by layervault. It’s a tree myself and many other have been barking up for a while. When done well design is not flat, it is concise, efficient, simple, and full of clarity. It is a glass of crystal clear water. Along those same lines “flat design” and “simple design” have gotten really trendy. That worries me, because then I fear people won’t take the aesthetic seriously — that they’ll forget that while trendy or not it is highly effective if done correctly. I’m still in the court that simplistic design with clarity is CORRECT design.