… ground breaking … everything is in flux … it’s seismic … polarising … Apple has set fire to iOS … it’s an opportunity that only comes along every 3 – 5 years …
A lot of extravagant claims are being made about the launch of Apple’s much-anticipated new operating system iOS 7, but from many the response is more muted, including the suggestion that Apple is experiencing something of a mid-life crisis.
So what’s all the fuss about? There’s no question that Apple’s operating system has undergone an extreme makeover. In addition to many new features and the something like 1,500 new APIs that developers will be diving into like the hungry into a cornucopia, there are new navigation and structural standards which The Showmanator is told are way beyond any previous UI changes. It’s also going to be faster, a real bonus for all of us event app users chasing the holy grail of rapid load speeds. There’s also a lot of technical stuff that is making our dev team jump up and down in excitement.
But what does all that really mean to the average punter? Largely, it translates into a vastly different look and feel — apps developed on the new OS will be great looking, fast and equipped with all those APIs that make Geeks look starry-eyed. Many apps built for earlier iOS and updated are going to look old and tired very soon, even if they can overcome the technical barriers. Phew, just as well our fantastic new app that’s being released in November has been designed and built on iOS 7, although it will still run effectively on iOS 6 and iOS 5 too.
The fundamental design change is the move from skeuomorphic to flat design. If you don’t know (most of us Gizmologists didn’t), Skeuomorphism is a design concept which is about making things look as if they’re something else. Who knew? Skeuomorphs are deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar, or to embrace habits too deeply ingrained to wash away. It allows the user to tell what an object provides or does based on its appearance … like app ‘buttons’ which by looking like … er … buttons … inspire people to press them. An example is the iBook App with its tacky wooden bookcase suggesting your personal online library. The developers didn’t quite extend to providing ‘ex libris’ stickers to complete the metaphor, but they might as well have. At the time, in the new-fangled world of appery, it probably made sense so users would know what to do without the need for lengthy instructions.
With iOS 7, Apple has finally ditched this look-alike approach — presumably on the basis that app users no longer need metaphor to ‘get it’? Instead, Apple has gone for simple, clean two-dimensional graphic lines which are as different from previous iOS as … well … Macs used to be from PCs. The seeming flatness opens up a multi-layered approach offering exciting visuals that look fab and feel intuitive and very now — much closer to one of the new seven wonders rather than the result of an Apple mid-life crisis. In fact, our team love it and can’t wait for all the gorgeous new apps that are surely poised to be launched on the back of it.