I’ve been trying to understand the reason behind my current fascination with all things iOS 7. It marks the first time I’ve actually installed the beta ahead of the public release (although there are other reasons for that as well). It also — as we all know — marks the biggest shift in iOS since iPhone OS, as it was then known, was launched in 2007.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Apple stopped being just incremental with the iOS UI and decided to burn it all and start over. Just about everything looks dated against the home screen and core apps.
Perhaps it’s the fact that iOS 6 was just about done. Could they have improved on it? Probably, but everyone agrees it would only have been incremental. In fact, one of the biggest testaments to iOS 7 is it makes you realize just how dated iOS 6 is.
Perhaps it’s the potential. For the first time in years, apps will need to be re-imagined and possibly re-designed. There is tremendous growth potential for UI and UX. Let’s face it, a lot of apps were just starting to look alike. I’ve raised Marco Arment’s post on this topic earlier and think it’s extremely relevant:
Apple has set fire to iOS. Everything’s in flux. Those with the least to lose have the most to gain, because this fall, hundreds of millions of people will start demanding apps for a platform with thousands of old, stale players and not many new, nimble alternatives.
Perhaps it’s how Apple is showing their investment in hardware paying off with software. iOS 7 takes advantage of GPUs to render parallax and animations, and developers (and Apple) will find ways to enhance interfaces far beyond what was traditionally done in say, a level or compass app.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the redesign is garnering the kind of reactions it is. From the oh-my-god’s to the what-the-hell’s to the traditional screw-you-Apple, iOS 7 is indeed polarizing. The sheer number of re-designs on Dribble are testament to how much the change has affected developers, maybe a bit too personally.
Perhaps it’s all of these.
The bottomline is that iOS 7 — as a concept, as an OS and UI, and as Apple’s next phase for mobile — is fascinating in many ways. I’ve used iOS 7 for about 2 weeks now and I can see the big picture and am enjoying the fresh feel of the interface.
To the point that I can’t really go back.