iOS 7 is hideous. Truly hideous. It looks like is has been designed by an A-Level ICT student on a late night coursework binge with a colour pallet that was clearly inspired from the combination accidental inversion of colours of previous iOS releases and the third rate art work sent into Blue Peter. From the iconography to the applications and, most notably, the Control Centre, it truly is an operating system that has been stitched together like the monster Frankenstein created.
Look at Safari, for example. Everything about it is ghastly. It looks unusable – I would argue that it probably is so, too – with icons that posses neither intuitiveness nor elegance whatsoever, an address bar / search box that appears to have been stolen from Windows 3.0, and the unfortunate theft of Google Chrome’s file-a-fax-esque tab interface which was somehow transformed into a much more complex and confusing infinite loop of web pages.
Perhaps the home screen iconographers realised this, however, which would make a lot of sense. So concerned they were that Ive & Co’s. software design skills would be exposed as “okay to bad” they have designed the Safari and Game Centre icons, the two most disgusting offenders, are an example of some of the tackiest designs ever seen in the modern mobile market; something that includes both Apple’s skewmorphic felt-and-leather textures and Samsung’s unconvincing series of Android doppelgangers. It really is that bad.
But, fortunately, it isn’t all depressingly awful Rather than placing everything in boxes it is edge-to-edge, Air Drop looks cool and the typography, for instance, looks remarkable. Leaving white spaces where you subconsciously expect, using it to aid both the clarity of the information it’s trying to convey and make the OS looks much slicker and modern. In fact I would argue that it exemplifies what the new design should have been; familiar, refreshing, with functionality at its core.
iOS 7 is familiar, it retains the signature grid of icons and their shape, but the new OS is neither refreshing or functional. It has inherited a childish and inelegant colour pallet inspired by Ive’s apparent love of Blue Peter which will leave almost every user alienated, confused, and seizure induced, with new ‘features’ like Control Centre and the signal-indicator confusing at the best of times.
It isn’t some pathetic fear of change that Apple will pass this criticism off as, iOS 7 just doesn’t look as good as Jelly Bean or even Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 6. With its pseudo-3D parallaxing, Game Centre’s strange bubbles, and a host of other superficial changes it is obvious that Apple were, and perhaps still are, under the strange illusion that their mobile operating system is perfect.
I have news for them. It isn’t.
There is still no Widgets and Notification Centre still looks like an unusable mess. When you add this to the incredibly closed environment that is iOS, which means you cannot have third party keyboards, replace stock apps, or even change your search engine outside Apple’s approved list, you end up with a now sub-par OS that now looks even worse than before.
Rather than move away from the tackiness of old Apple have done the almost impossible and elevated it to new heights of gaudiness and poor taste. The only difference between this release and the others is that it has been flattened by the immense weight of Johnny Ive and his Blue Peter badge.