Sep 19, 2013
iOS 7 is garbage. What used to be beautiful, intuitive, and innovative may have just marked the beginning of the end for Apple. It feels like I’m navigating a website that’s missing a stylesheet. The whole user experience has gone the way of Gmail. As much as Steve Jobs loved minimalism, he would’ve hated this update. Actually, this never would’ve even happened under Jobs. Let’s get real.
I had long hoped that Apple would survive post-Jobs, but I’ve got some serious doubts they’re going to make it now. The iPhone no longer feels like the future in my hand. Now, it’s tasteless, boring, and so much harder to use. Minimalism just took priority over usability. We’re only a few shades and animations away from being back to DOS. Apps used to be natural and approachable with friendly textures, shapes and colors of objects we use in the real world. iOS 7 is lifeless.
Interface icons don’t make sense any more. Transitions are slow and overdone. There are no more visual boundaries. Everything runs together. It feels like a wireframe concept that never made it to the design department. And, that’s not the worst part. Apple abandoned their roots with this one, and started copying Google and Microsoft. That’s a game changer. When everyone else was copying Apple, that meant Apple was setting the standard, and the other guys had to react to whatever Apple did to stay relevant. Now, Apple has lost that edge. They just gave up their position as pack leader.
Steve Jobs told a story of an illiterate 6-year-old kid from Bogotá, Colombia, who had never seen a computer before, and could use an iPad after watching a journalist operate one briefly. That’s intuitive design. I wonder if iOS 7 passes the 6-year-old-kid-from-the-third-world test. I doubt it.
You may be thinking I was taken by surprise with this update, but that’s not the case. Sadly, I knew this abomination was coming, from tech blogs and Apple Developer notices. My opinion of iOS 7 still hasn’t changed since the initial beta release. It has always felt like a retrogression to me. I had hoped once I got my hands on the finished product and started using it, I’d love it. Like Fox Mulder, I wanted to believe. That just wasn’t the case, and it pains me to admit it.
This new, flat look should have been optional. It feels more like a poorly designed theme than the native interface. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting business professionals will update their iPhones over the next few days out of habit, and will be completely confused when nothing looks familiar to them anymore. I’m sure many will think their phones were hacked, or that something went wrong during the update. iOS 7 is like a Monday morning network outage or hard drive failure. An unexpected inconvenience that we’re forced to reckon with when we already have too much to do.
I really hope Apple redeems themselves and blows us away in the fourth quarter, like they’ve been promising. The most exciting stuff to come from Apple this year includes the still-unreleased Mac Pro, and multicolored, plastic iPhones. Steve would be so proud.