Since iOS’ launch in 2007, people have devoted a lot of time and money to copying the UI. Samsung, of course, is the biggest offender, but the copying has gone far beyond them: almost all modern smartphones and tablets have parts that resemble the old iOS UI. (Some have more parts than others.) iOS mimicry has even widely infected web design, especially those horrible “mobile” blog themes that try to look like an iOS app.
The entire tech industry has been homogenizing and commoditizing iOS’ appearance so much that after six years, iOS no longer felt exclusive, unique, or premium to most people: it felt like the norm. Apple needed to shake things up to keep their premium edge, and they went all-out.
Read the entire piece its brilliant.
Given Time is an excellent post. Especially his explanation for the transparency stands out.
Where keyboards, pickers, and action sheets were once imposing screen elements with a lot of personality of their own, they now reflect the personality of their environment. Your bright red app won’t have a dull blue-gray keyboard anymore; it’ll have a light red keyboard as the bits of UI beneath it shine through. If your app uses a lot of wood textures, the standard action sheets won’t look out of character because they’re no longer plastic. No matter what you do with your apps, iOS 7’s default visual language will be a better complement.
Never had thought about the transparency of iOS 7 in this context. Please do read the entire post for some exciting insights.
via (Stephen Hackett)
Luckily, things like icons, colors, and typography are easier to iterate than userflows, information architecture, and features. They’re also the elements that take more time than expected to craft, so I can see all of these refinements being the most likely to be cut from a tight deadline, and the first up to be revisited by the design team before the official release, or quickly thereafter. If that awful Safari icon bugs you, imagine how the designers at Apple must feel.
Its true that its just the start and a good start. Things will get better soon.