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Not Impressed, iOS 7. Well, Mostly Not Impressed. Ok, Sort of Impressed.

You’ve probably all figured it out by now. Apple’s newest thing has just been released: iOS 7. Don’t know what that is? That’s ok. iOS 7 is Apple’s latest iDevice Operating System update, that boasts an all new design, new features, new…everything. So what’s the big deal? As design flows through my veins, I’ll be shedding light on my take on the new iOS 7.

Overall, I have to say iOS 7 is pretty cool. With all new features, the iPhone makes life even easier. The iPhone has lots of really cool sensory capabilities, and it seems that iOS 7 makes use of just about all of them. Now we’ve got animated wallpaper options, cool moving animations in Messages and more. But is iOS 7 a total hit? I’m not sure I can confidently say that it is. As a designer, I feel that Apple almost rushed some of these design features. I’ll go in depth about those first, and then get onto some of the Pros later on.

1) Flat Design?

The latest design craze has been, without a doubt, flat design. Remember all those flashy gradients, cool textures, and shiny 3D-ness? Not cool anymore. Well, Apple gives it’s take on flat design and misses.

As you can see with the Phone icon, the previous iOS version had textures and gloss. The new Phone icon has none of that. While attempting flat design, you can still see a gradient (light color to darker color) on the new design, however. This is a pseudo flat design that I (and almost every other designer I know) think is a miss.

2) Childish Colors 

One thing has always been true about Apple. Everything they have is “cool.” It’s cool to have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Sure, there are lots of other options out there for phones, tablets, or mp3 players, but it’s not cool. Unfortunately (and I say this holding back my tears), most of the App icon designs just aren’t cool. The colors are too bright, to the point of looking childish (Again, reference the Phone picture above).

Another example of this is the Reminders App.

The previous design really wasn’t bad, and represents a list well. This new app design has missed the boat. I don’t know about you, but I don’t check off items from a list with different brightly colored markers.

3) Inconsistencies

Another design flaw in the new iOS 7 is icon design inconsistencies. Let’s take Game Center, as an example.

What happened here? Everywhere else, Apple has taken on the flat design look. All of a sudden, Game Center comes out of nowhere with Shiny balloons.

Another example is the Calculator icon.

As you can see in most of the other images, the icons have a subtle gradient. The calculator icon does not. Why?

OK. Enough ranting. Now for the cool stuff!

1) Control Center

Control Center is an entirely new feature for iOS, and I must say- it’s great!

Just by making an up-swipe gesture, you have access to lots of great features and utilities such as:

  • Airplane mode
  • Wifi Controls
  • Bluetooth
  • Do Not Disturb mode
  • Rotation lock
  • Brightness settings
  • Music Player
  • AirDrop
  • A new flashlight utility
  • Timer
  • Calculator
  • Camera

All of these are now accessible with a single swipe! Well done, Apple!

2) Level

Building something? Looking to hang a picture, and “eyeballing it” just won’t cut it? Check out the cool new level feature!

It’s very easy to use, and you’ll know when you’ve got something level or not, because the whole screen turns green. Giving in to your perfectionist-side has never been so fun or visually appealing!

There are 2 different types of level here. One allows you to set the phone down flat to check a top level, and the other is the standard level.  I have to say, this has come in pretty handy for getting pictures hung just right!

3) Icon Design Success

Not all of Apple’s redesigns have been failures. The following icons were done very well, and are even functional!

The new Clock App icon design is great! Simple, but clean. Now, the clock actually displays the right time without even opening the app.

The new Calendar App icon design is another win. Again, the design is flat, simple, and clean. This one already displayed the actual date, but has a lot of great contrast to whatever wallpaper you might choose.

There you have it- a designer’s view of the new iOS 7 operating system. Are any of you using the new iOS? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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