When millions of users hit the download button once iOS 7 becomes available this fall, it's going to take some time to get acclimated to all the new accoutrements. New buttons, fonts, shapes and colors are hiding around every corner, and just about every little detail has been refreshed, from the battery icon to the semi-translucent folders.
Still, there's a certain familiarity to iOS 7. Wildly different as it may be, it retains the simplicity and intuitiveness that we've enjoyed for years. Icons still adhere to a neat grid, navigation uses the same swipes and taps; essentially, the interface changes in iOS are superficial, focusing on design rather than changing what we know.
For the past six years, Jony Ive and his team of designers have churned out gorgeous design after gorgeous design--tablets and handsets that people need to touch and want to hold. Every line and curve has been impeccably crafted down to the finest detail, and the results have been nothing less than staggering: metal-and-glass works of art that fit as comfortably in our hands as they do in our pockets.
So, it seems as though Tim Cook was serious when he declared Apple was doubling down on secrecy. For the first time in years, we were actually surprised by the bulk of a WWDC keynote, from the audacious Mac Pro to the transcendent iOS 7.
To the surprise of approximately no one, however, was the lack of new hardware to run the shiny new operating system. Any iOS release--particularly one with so many radical changes--is going to need a fair amount of beta time before it's unleashed on the public, and there was absolutely no way Apple was going to announce a new iPhone for an old operating system.
So, autumn it is. But if you're hoping for a redesigned iPhone 6, I have some bad news for you: This year's iPhone won't look any different than last year's.
Jony Ive's flatter, simpler design for iOS 7 largely received a warm welcome among critics at WWDC (despite numerous ribbings that it looked a little too close to the interface for the Windows Phone), but many expressed concerns that something about the icons looked a little ... off. Turns out there's a reason for that. According to Ive himself, as reported by The Next Web, Apple's usual team of designers only tweaked the icons; Apple's marketing and communications teams were responsible for the actual designs.
If there’s one thing a designer loves more than typography, it’s discovering new colors. Thanks to Adobe Kuler (derived from the Mauritian creole word for “color”), capturing and sharing any shade of the rainbow is now as easy as opening an iPhone app. Much like the Flash-based web version, which is one of the more intriguing services included with Adobe Creative Cloud, Kuler allows designers to play with and save five-color swatches (called “themes”) for later use in desktop applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign.
The days leading up to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference are always a frenzied affair, a bundled mass of nerves and anticipation filled with rumors, spy shots and black-draped banners. It's only natural to expect big things from this year's keynote, but like any Apple event, people are sure to be disappointed. So before the big day arrives, I thought I'd help temper expectations a bit by breaking down the odds — with an emphasis on design, of course.
After six years of cases, keyboards and camera lenses, I figured I had seen every iPhone accessory there is. Over the years, I've tried more stands, cable organizers and styluses than I care to remember, but I've pretty much abandoned them all. It's not that they didn't perform as advertised, they just never seemed to be around when I actually needed them. I tend to travel light — my favorite "case" for the iPhone is AppleCare+ — so I've never really cared enough about any iPhone accessory to let it take up precious pocket space, no matter how well designed. But XiStera might be the first.
As I was following the stream of Google I/O updates on my Twitter timeline last week, one thought kept popping into my head: Apple could never get away with this.
I'm not saying it wasn't interesting. Over the course of three hours, Google showcased its new Hangouts app and Google Play Music All Access service, some exciting developer tools and major updates to Maps, Chrome and Now, but anyone expecting a repeat of last year's show was sorely disappointed.
Despite the fact that its expected announcement is still nearly a month away, speculation around iOS 7 is already at a fevered pitch. For the first time since iPhone OS 1 introduced us to the home screen, there's a lot riding on this year's release; usually we're just waiting to see what new tricks Apple has up its sleeve with the hopes for "one more thing," but this WWDC is different. Since Jony Ive took over as human interface chief, we're all expecting the first honest-to-goodness redesign of iOS, and frankly, anything less will be disappointing.
We all have a vision of what iOS will become. But Philip Joyce, art director at Simply Zesty, took his idea one step further: He actually made it.
There's something of an innovation lull in smartphone design. While certainly a nice improvement over the 4S, the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen and panoramic camera are hardly breaking any new ground. The Samsung Galaxy S4 learned a few new parlor tricks, but for the most part it's just a faster and slightly larger S3. And for all its accolades, the HTC One's claim to fame is that it's not made of plastic.