Quit Whining: iOS 7’s New Look Is Fantastic!

Quit Whining: iOS 7’s New Look Is Fantastic!

Seriously: Who doesn’t like this?

You know what I’m hearing a lot of today? “Whine whine whine. Don’t like the icons. This really is kind of a mess.” And this, from our very own chatroom: “It hurts the eyes,” and “The hideousness of this is blowing my mind.”

It seems that a lot of people don’t like the look of iOS 7. But you know what? I love it. Sure, some of those icons are a little garish, but in iOS 6, all of the native Apple icons were hideous. And whatever you want to say about the new look, you have to admit that it is now way more consistent.

Jony Ive Really Hates Buttons

Quit Whining: iOS 7’s New Look Is Fantastic!

So soothing,,,

IOS 7 has done away with buttons. Whereas previous versions of the OS mimicked the interfaces of the real world (and I’m not talking about the green felt or stitched leather here), with 3-D buttons and sliders that looked like their real-world equivalents, iOS 7 is something that exists purely in a computer world. 3-D textures have gone, but so have the buttons.

Now, you can touch anything. The purest example of the non-button design is the new Control Center, which consists of black and white line drawings. They don’t offer any hint that you can touch them, but they don’t have to.

Predictably, the new stock app icons are pissing people off.

It’s pretty clear what you have to do, and I’d argue that the use of black and white makes showing the status of the toggle-able elements much clearer. Who needs subtle shadow effects when you can just make the icon white?

Those Icons

Predictably, the new stock app icons are pissing people off. I’m not a big fan of the acid bright colors with a slight gradient, but I was even less of a fan of the old icons, which really looked like they had been cobbled together from various sources over the years. Here are the messaging apps together, for example:

Photo thumb

Much better, right? What’s the job of an icon, after all? To quickly let you identify an app or other UI element. This is why everyone (rightly) complained about the OS X Finder sidebar icons getting the color sucked out of them. In grayscale, they’re too similar to quickly scan with a glance. So while you might not like the new icons, their design is better in terms of their functionality. And as that’s what design is, that’s what’s important. Design is not what something looks like. Design is how it works.

I’d agree with our editor John Brownlee on one thing though. He doesn’t like the new Calendar app icon, saying that it’s “utterly illegible from a distance.” I’m not sure how far away he holds his iPhone, but the new slimline UI font is certainly not as clear as the old bold one used on the iOS 6 calendar (on the other hand, the live time – down to the second – on the new clock app is pretty rad).

Consistency

Quit Whining: iOS 7’s New Look Is Fantastic!

One of the things which drove me crazy about iOS 6 was inconsistency. It was there in the icons, as I already mentioned. But it was also there in everything else. Tap on a folder and a hole would open in the screen, lined with linen. Open the Notification Center and the linen would be pulled down over the screen. And talking of Notification Center, what the hell was going on with the banner alerts? They were shown with Apple’s favorite spinning cube effect, but the cube ripped a kind of 3-D hole into – into what exactly? And that was the problem.

Now, as we saw in Jony Ive’s keynote video, the UI has several layers. This is most obvious in the neat new parallax feature that adds depth to the home screen (try setting a screenshot of your home screen as the wallpaper and try o keep your breakfast down) , but it also informs the whole UI. If something is on top, it’s on top.

Notification Center now slides over the screen, as does the Control Center, and both are like frosted windows, showing a blurry rendering of the screen beneath. Folders are no longer hatches that reveal the linen beneath, but simple groupings of apps. Tap a “folder” and it now zooms out from its spot on the screen until the icons within are full-sized. And they sit on the same translucent layer as everything else.

White Space

So. So. So... Clean.

So. So. So… Clean.


In addition to the newly peaceful consistency, iOS 7 has a lot of white space. Take a look in any of the apps and the UI chrome has all but disappeared. That’s because iOS is no longer pretending to be anything else.

Everything stretches to the edges of the screen, whether it’s settings lists in the settings app, or photos in the Mail app, and even the home screen wallpaper – the darkened status bar is gone.

This makes things feel less crowded, fresher and bigger. The screen seems less cramped, in the same way you desk feels less cramped when you tidy it up, even though you have the same amount of stuff on there.

Swipes

One last thing on the subject of UI tweaks. Now the Mail app has added those neat swipe-to-act gestures from the Mailbox app. Swiping on a message now reveals “Archive” and “More” controls (not buttons!). Tap Archive to do just that. Tap More to open a menu that’ll let you move, reply, forward, mark as unread or send the message to the junk mailbox (at last). It’s a small addition, but – combined with the new swipe-in-from-the-side-to-switch-views shortcut – it shows that the UI is moving aways from taps towards finger-friendly swipes. And a good thing too: tapping a button to move to a new screen was a relic of the mouse-click era. That era is on its way out.

Conclusion

While there are clearly some oddities in the new UI, and not everything will be to everybody’s taste (thank God), I’m a big fan of the new UI. It’s new and exciting, of course, but it also shows that Apple is now as serious about its software as it is about its hardware – something that hasn’t seemed to be the case for a ling while.

Related
  • wdowell

    it’s incredible how people are moaning even on the dev forums. Firstly this is Seed 1, there will be bugs. That’s the whole point of the dev release is to give notice and ironing out stuff, and 2) i have yet to see an alternative which is the dreams of all these people..

  • Unis Zuurmond

    “One of the things which drove me crazy about iOS 6 was inconsistency.” So the skeumorphic game center icon is consistent with the rest? I can continue. My problem and whining is not about change, or where iOS7 should take us. It’s that it’s not Apple at its best.

  • segwayne

    Well Charlie, since your OPINION is so much more valid and important than ours, thank you for telling the rest of the world how we are supposed to feel about the preview shown… Perhaps if you had headed your “article” with the word “opinion” or even “editorial”, then fine, but the essence of “shut up, stop whining, your opinion doesn’t matter” is a bit much…

    (For the record, I watched the show, but haven’t seen it in my hands, so I hold my opinion of it until then. Like some of the new features, but feel like all the white space on the new design almost requires me to own a white phone to match it… I just don’t care to be told how I’m supposed to think about it)

  • dcdevito

    This seriously look’s like Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. My oh my how the tides have turned.

  • Shane Bryson

    I am just going to say it… You’re an idiot. If you can’t see that Apple just turned their back on everything that has ever made them Apple, and released the ugliest OS they have ever made, you are just an idiot.

  • Shane Bryson

    For the record, I have had an iPhone since the first one. I am going to be getting a Nexus 4 very soon.

  • scophi

    I’m not completely sold on the new UI.

    Some aspects are very cool, like the panoramic (parallax) display. Some aspects are disappointing, like the over use of pastel colors. And some I have yet to make a decision about, like the transparencies.

    I think this will take some getting used to.

  • JaySt

    I like the iOS version, it’s fresh, modern, intuitive and more productive. Why are Android funs commenting here on Cult of Mac? They should stick to CNET or Android Police or others! You’re a bunch of tribalist and irrational savages!

  • technochick

    Looks like the real headline to this article should be “Charlie Sorrel believes that folks don’t have a right to an opinion that is not in agreement with his”

    Well I disagree. I do have a right to my opinion, I do have a right for it to be that no iOS 7 doesn’t look 100% awesome and I do have a right to say as much even if you disagree with my rights and my opinions

  • cprblak

    Why is the ultra thin font with lots of leading considered “clean”? I call it wimpy and Google-esque. I’ve got a small screen to look at here, don’t make me keep scrolling because you think more leading is cool this year.

  • Wirehedd

    as much as I hate to say this, considering how much I was looking forward to the redesign, this is just awful. It looks like the IOS interface was done in a colouring book by my 3 yr old niece after she got into the easter candies.

    Sorry but I don’t like it, no sir, I don’t like it at all.

    Disappointment is too mild a word to describe my feelings about this.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    By the looks of all these comments, you’d think Facebook updated their interface again… You guys will get over it; I promise. Change is good.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    I am just going to say it… You’re an idiot. If you can’t see that Apple just turned their back on everything that has ever made them Apple, and released the ugliest OS they have ever made, you are just an idiot.
    For the record, I have had an iPhone since the first one. I am going to be getting a Nexus 4 very soon.

    Good riddance, “idiot”.

  • wednesday181

    I honestly love it. It’s very minimalist, very clean, very, well, Jony Ive. And I have been wanting a massive overhaul of the OS for some time, as it’s begun feeling stale in comparison to other mobile platforms. I honestly can’t wait for this to go live.

  • ianbartram

    Apart from the butt ugly Safari icon I think it’s lovely. Change had to happen and this is just the starting point, it was never going to please everyone but do you want iOS to stagnate and keep the awful pretend leather effects if you don’t like it there is always choice but I for one can’t wait to update!

  • JMO_L

    Some of these icon fixes are great.
    But nobody is fixing the TYPOGRAPHY!
    Helvetica Neue Ultra Light is not a functional typeface for legibility at small sizes on the screen.
    The tracking isn’t well done for the light weight. It shouldn’t be light weight to begin with especially at some of the sizes. Helvetica it’s self is too uniformed a typeface for screen legibility.
    I hope they realize they have major type problems son,

  • Harvey Lubin

    Those who can design (like Jon Ive) DO. Those who can’t design, complain about exceptional design.

    Reading comments from people who don’t have any design skills (or certainly not at the same level of Jon Ive’s skill) just shows how arrogant and small minded they are.

    If you don’t like the design, that’s your subjective opinion. But as Abe Lincoln said: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

  • Harvey Lubin

    Those who can design (like Jon Ive) DO. Those who can’t design, complain about exceptional design.

    Reading comments from people who don’t have any design skills (or certainly not at the same level of Jon Ive’s skill) just shows how arrogant and small minded they are.

    If you don’t like the design, that’s your subjective opinion. But as Abe Lincoln said: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

  • JMO_L

    Constructive criticism is very necessary. Apple needs feedback, they aren’t designing products for themselves.

  • Arnoud van Houwelingen

    I agree 100% with charlie! it’s a beautiful design .. can’t wait for the release :)

  • MisterL30N

    I am just going to say it… You’re an idiot. If you can’t see that Apple just turned their back on everything that has ever made them Apple, and released the ugliest OS they have ever made, you are just an idiot.

    Shane, I couldn’t agree with you more. Charlie, you are a fucking IDIOT. I am so tired of seeing the almighty Cult of Mac posting OPINIONATED articles about topics, leveraging their control over this site in a way to publicly broadcast their SINGULAR view points and make enormous asses out of themselves in an attempt to convince the public that “Oh, it’s really not THAT bad.” Are you kidding me?! The very ESSENCE of iOS has been STRIPPED, MANIPULATED, RAMMED IN THE ASS, AND HAD A BLONDE WIG THROWN ON IT. This is not Apple, this is Google. This is Microsoft. This is their designing, webOS designing, Google Chrome designing with an iOS picture frame around it. This is bullshit, and for you to stand idly by and clamor on about how “wonderful” and “fresh” and “innovative” it is is a damn shame. You clearly would be much happier with an Android device, and it would be better for everyone involved that you jump ship now and head on over to Cult of Android. I think they’re working on a hot new story about how Samsung is pissing themselves right now after Apple unveiled iGoogle yesterday, oh wait – iOS 7. Whoops, a bit confusing with the “remarkable” new screen layout, I wasn’t able to find my ass from a hole in the ground with all of these new “improvements”. I’ve owned an Apple device since the first iPhone launched in 2007. I chose that look for a reason. And that entire ecosystem of visual integrity has been compromised. So enjoy your new GLOW IN THE DARK icons and the MY LITTLE PONY SCREWED FISHER PRICE REALNESS. I hope that iOS 7 gives you all that you’ve been yearning for and more. After all, we know that you deserve “better”.

  • medicdaly

    FUCK YOU JOHN IVE YOUR AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is complete bullshit and im disappointed i have loved the iphone becuase it was different then any other phone this shit looks like google chrome

  • J12870

    Those who can design (like Jon Ive) DO. Those who can’t design, complain about exceptional design.

    Reading comments from people who don’t have any design skills (or certainly not at the same level of Jon Ive’s skill) just shows how arrogant and small minded they are.

    If you don’t like the design, that’s your subjective opinion. But as Abe Lincoln said: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I find it funny that they allowed Killian to bash iOS 7 and then have Charlie here post about how great it is. I think that the problem is that people are afraid of new things. Look at the iPad when it first came out. Everyone said it was a giant iPod touch and a piece of crap. Look around you today, at Starbucks, on your daily commute and I guarantee that you’ll see someone with an iPad. Go up and ask them how they like it. The answer will be that they love it. I can’t wait for all of these design-arrogant morons to retract all of their close minded statements when it launches this fall.

  • hocestquisumus

    Indeed, I love how the lock screen, control center and clock are nigh indistinguishable from Android :D

    They do have to work on the icons, tho. They look as if my toddler drew them, but he wouldn’t get that much money for the same work.

  • billdamon

    Just so you know, when I say “It hurts my eyes”, it really does. It is giving me headaches. And if you poke around the Apple Community boards you will see there’s many others in the same boat. I’ve had smart(er)phones since the first BlackBerry in 1999. This is the first phone that I’ve had this problem with.

    And if you are unlucky enough to be the proud owner of an iPad Mini like I am, you will be disappointed just how bad the screen now looks with the font and colors. Everything is blurry. Its a pretty big downgrade for a product that they are currently selling on their site.

    I like some aspects of it. Certainly things like Control Center are a big win. Over all better admin. But as far as fonts and colors, its a big problem for many folks.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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