Apple revamps look of iPhone, iPad software in quest for simplicity and elegance

“Apple is throwing out most of the real-world graphical cues from its iPhone and iPad software, like the casino-green ‘felt’ of its Game Center app, in what it calls the biggest update since the iPhone’s launch in 2007,” Michael Liedtke and Peter Svensson report for The Associated Press. “The new operating system, called iOS 7, strives for a clean, simple, translucent impression. Apple is redesigning all its applications and icons to conform to the new look, driven by long-time hardware design chief Jony Ive.”

“Apple demonstrated the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The new design direction was widely expected and will show up on iPhones, iPad and iPod Touches this fall, the company said,” Liedtke and Svensson report. “The software uses simple graphical elements in neon and pastel colors. Gone is the effort to make the icons looks like three-dimensional, embossed objects. Interface designers call the new guiding principle “flat,” but on the iPhone’s main screen, the background image will move subtly with the movement of the device, creating an illusion of depth. Other screens include plenty of white space.”

Liedtke and Svensson report, “Among other changes, Apple’s new iOS system will update apps automatically. It will store Web passwords online in Apple’s syncing service, iCloud, making them available across devices. The AirDrop feature will allow sharing of big files with Apple-equipped people in the same room. Apple took a jab at its rival, Samsung Electronics Co., which had been touting its Galaxy phones as better than iPhones because they sport near-field communication chips that allow people to share files by bumping phones together. ‘No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others,’ said Craig Federighi, senior vice president for software engineering. The company also stepped up its rivalry with Google, maker of the Android software on Samsung and other phones. Apple said the Siri virtual assistant will use searches from Microsoft’s Bing, Google’s rival.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
iOS 7 is a new beginning for Apple’s iOS – June 10, 2013
Apple unveils completely redesigned iOS 7 with new user interface, new features – June 10, 2013
MacDailyNews presents live coverage of Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote address – June 10, 2013

72 Comments

    1. Not in the Control Centre, alas. This is total mess with cryptic icons that none of normal people understand intuitively, nor they do not even need all of this that often. There is no way Steven Jobs would let it be this way.

      Before it is too late, Apple should make the overbearing complexity of Control Centre optional.

      1. It seemed optional to me. Just don’t swipe from the bottom if you don’t like it.

        This is much better than going 4 menus deep to change Bluetooth settings.

      2. You got to be kidding! If you have any trouble understanding these icons then you’re an even bigger idiot than you appear to be every time your open your mouth. Jeeesh.

        1. I said “normal people”. iPhone was good if you give it to a child or grandmother and they could understand intuitively most of going on, and Apple was never overflow them with so many settings in a basic setup — until now.

    2. These icons are not necessarily intuitive…

      They carry over from ios6, etc.

      Safari is a compass. On a mobile device, compass means something else.

      Weather is great, but it also functions like a world clock? What does Clock do?

      Other examples? Prob a few others.

      Apple seems devoted to this idea of Apps, but it actually gets clunky to control everything through Apps. Control center is a step ahead of that, recognizing that the zen of an app for everything is actually tedious to the user.

      Personally, I think Jony Ive originally conceived this look and function and Scott took the idea and dressed it down from there.

      I think in its evolution, like the prototype on another blog, this is a largely a 2005 Apple concept with some cool touch(es) like parallax mixed in.

    1. Looks nothing like Android. Android is all black! Windows, it resembles Windows Mobile to me along with Windows Vista, 7 and 8. I hate the white background and black text sitting on top of it.

    1. If you think the new design is hideous, then, frankly, you’re functionally design-illiterate. It’s clean, clear, and uncluttered, the colours are rich without being over-bright and garish, and anyone who compares it with Windows Phone honestly needs to extract their head from their alimentary canal, because there’s no comparison, other than both use squares arranged on a grid.
      Windows uses uniform single-colour square-cornered tiles with text, not round-cornered, multicoloured icons.
      Anyone who isn’t completely blind can see there’s a world of difference.
      And there are drop-shadows, but very, very subtle ones, just a hint to lift each icon away from the background, giving the background translucency.
      This is what great industrial design is all about, and it’s good to see that it’s backward-compatible with the iP4 and iPad 2, as well.

      1. mmmmmm hey, he just expressed an opinion. He doesn’t like it. You Iike it. I’m not sure yet. I doubt he’s blind. Off your meds today? You give even rabid fanboys a bad name. Go outside in the sunshine and take a walk. Get out of your mothers basement. Talk to a girl.

      2. Jdub:

        “I’m as big an Apple fan as they come but this is down right hideous… ”

        Same here, Apple buyer since the LISA and this is the most disappointing redesign of Apple software in my lifetime.

        Hey, Rorschach.

        Call me all the names you want but this is the most misguided dissolution and abortion of Steve Jobs’ visual vision. Rich, representational designs that Steve embraced are now reduced to 1930s outlines.

        Wow, what an evolution.

        Oh, don’t forget to renew your subscription to ArtNews.

        1. I completely agree GoeB. Skeuformorphism (however you spell it) made the iPhone unique; now this mess looks like the bastard child of Android and Windows. I will definitely not be upgrading to this catastrophe. No wonder why Apple went down immediately after this tragic announcement. Apple used to be a leader; it has been reduced to a follower. Sadly, the magic is gone…

          1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That’s RICH!! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha oh, hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee.
            Thanks, jdub, for a good laugh 🙂
            PLEASE give Android your business. PLEASE!! You deserve a quality product like Android. Seriously.

      3. Shut the fuck up.

        You’re not a designer. You’re an idiot fanboy who’s emotional and unskilled.

        The Control Center for example sucks. All the same colors the visual system can’t distinguish the different elements.

        The contacts list is also really bad. Terrible use of white space with horrible contrast. The new keyboard is a step back as well: harder to deal with thinner font on a light background.

        On and on.

        Apple’s done a lot right but a lot wrong too.

        So just shut up.

        1. Many people have commented negatively about your attitude.
          Many people have down-voted your postings.
          None of this seems to get through to you.

          If you have any tiny iota of functioning rationality in which you actually wanting to persuade people to your ideas, you are failing utterly and will always fail – utterly. Your posts do nothing for the vast majority of readers on this site except piss them off and convince them, further, that you are just a hate-filled, brainless jackass.

          Nobody wants your pea-brained, vitriolic verbal vomiting. Just fuck off.

          1. Hey Seamus:

            First, shut up. Second, do you realize why I speak to people here like this? Because you’re kids. Opinionated fools.

            Here’s Rorschach calling people out for criticizing Apple. Same old crap.

            “If you think the new design is hideous, then, frankly, you’re functionally design-illiterate.”

            An opinionated dickhead like this and this is what happens. I’m going to bust your unemployed fanboy asses at will, and it’s going to keep coming too.

            Rorschach is design illiterate. A person who doesn’t understand the concepts behind functional design. Doesn’t understand that different colors are important to break up information to account for a person’s visual system (Apple’s new Contacts and Phone App: black and white hell). Or that too much text on screen can clutter an interface: Apple has spelled out shuffle and repeat in their music App instead of using icons, for instance.

            And there’s inconsistencies all over the place. There’s a lot to talk about.

            I really like iOS 7… been using it all day. But there’s a lot wrong with it too… of which I’ve just begun to point some of these things out. There’s many more. There’s also lots right.

            So the next time any of you asshats call people design illiterate because they criticize iOS 7, I’m all over your fanboy bullshit.

            1. @sfgh
              So what is the name of the particular mental disorder that you have?

              A suggestion: Go somewhere else and try to have some kind of POSITIVE effect on the world.

            2. I think it’s a great contribution to tell you who constantly tells people to “shut the fuck up” to “shut the fuck up”.

              And I only personally attack a small number of people whose modus operandi is to personally attack. I do not swear or call people names simply because I disagree with them. I am simply responding to you — after sincerely trying logic — with what you constantly do to other people — insult you and call you names.

              So to paraphrase you from above…

              Shut the fuck up.
              You’re an idiot, who’s emotional and unskilled.
              Your postings suck.
              So just shut up.

              MDN — I would love nothing better than if you would just delete all the negative personal crap that gets posted on this site — including mine.

      1. Ya I’m with you Cubert. I’m a designer by profession. When I saw the interface and icons it took me about 20 seconds to make up my mind. After I realized the subtle differences I was truly blown away. iOS 7 is the most beautiful UI I’ve ever seen. The fonts, the shapes and colors are all top notch. Functionally the UI borrows from BB10 in my mind but that’s not a bad thing. I can’t wait for this upgrade.

  1. lame. They should have too cues form that guy who made the video of possible iOS features, his ideas were much better. and no support for itouch4 or gen 1 ipads? and the mac pro sucked, ya have to buy external expansion peripherals.that’s why the stock went down. Apple totally disappoints. so much potential but falls flat. They employ so many people for development and comes up with crap. So Phil schillers comment “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass” was BS! “Can’t innovate much is more like it. No word on gaming, no word on itunes, nothing on final cut pro, zip on the iwatch, Pfft. LAME!

    1. You are totally wrong about the new Mac Pro as there is no need for internal expansion whatsoever as Thunderbolt-2, even though it is external, is faster than almost any type of internal connection.

      1. Internal expansion has never been logical if equal speed can be maintained, with thunderbolt 2 that is achieved so can we forget the ever bigger horse and carts and reach for a more flexible and practical future. Could you seriously see it as progress if you had the flexibility of pick and choose to suit you devices and some design genius said no can’t do that we re going to put it all in one bloody big box. Can’t really imagine anyone bar the village idiot saying yeah that’s a great idea.

    2. Ha! bobby, is the best hating you can do? Apple has really made simplicity and elegance the same thing here. Sorry your lame comments aren’t going anywhere.

  2. iOS 7 is gorgeous. When I saw how the icons seemingly float above the home screen, most likely a gyroscopic effect, I fell in love.

    How can you watch the introductory video with Jony Ive and not be impressed with the fruit of his labor?

    1. Yes, complete eye-candy but I loved it. All those pundits who have been banging on about the UI being flat and monochrome. This is about as unflat as you can get.

  3. Simple, yes.

    Elegant? I don’t think so.

    iOS 7 is functional, but the loss of skeumorphism is no improvement whatsoever. Out-of-focus backgrounds are absolutely hideous. It will take a while to become accustomed to it.

    Best part: more secure, with application lock.

    Biggest question: can we turn off auto app update?

    1. Y’know, the best thing about this update is that we won’t have to hear folk toss out the ‘S’ word like they know what it means. Skeuomorphism is about mimicking real-world FUNCTION, not real-world LOOK. Adding green felt and fake leather to an app isn’t skeuomorphism; it’s just bad taste.

  4. The interface really shows what Apple can do that really everyone else tries to mimic. The elegance of the new OS is amazing. We really don’t appreciate those subtle effects until you use it. Apple has been way more than specs and features, its about how it feels when you use this. Guys really did take a lot of digs at Scotty F though.

  5. I was really overawed by the new interface. It is clean, visually appealing, and luminous — truly beautiful! The clarity of the text style and the ample use of white space should make it very much easier to see and to read anything displayed. Congratulations to everyone at Apple who had a hand in it.

  6. Altough I like the overall look of iOS 7 I would also call everyone’s attention to the fact that some of the icons(buttons) have been replaced with words, for instance, the word “inbox” in mail, has replaced a button. This is ok in english but in orher languages (german and portuguese come to mind) it may be extremely dificult, if not impossible, to use a small enough word to fit the available space.

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