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[Ask The Readers] iOS 7’s New Jony Ive-led Design Direction: Yay Or Nay?

With a completely overhauled design, and a appreciable list of awesome new features, iOS 7 is arguably the most exciting version of iOS to date. But not everyone is a fan of the new design. Based on my own observations of the people I follow on Facebook and Twitter, half of them really, really like the change, while the other half thinks this signals the end of iOS as we know it. In this Ask The Readers feature article, we briefly discuss iOS 7’s design, and then ask you to chime in with your opinion.


The overall structure of iOS remains the same with iOS 7. You have a grid of app icons spread over multiple pages and folders, you can double-click the Home button to get to the app switcher, swiping down from the top edge reveals the Notification Center, etc.

What has changed is how all of this looks and, consequently, how it works.

iOS 7 Design

The new look cannot be called “flat” design, strictly speaking. It’s certainly flatter than before, there’s a stronger focus on typography, drop shadows are nowhere to be found, and skeumorphism has been completely removed, but iOS 7 does things like making heavy use of translucency to express layering of UI elements. For example, the new SBSettings-like Control Center with its myriad of toggles and buttons and sliders appears on top of the home screen grid.

Control Center iOS

I really love the use of bright, bold colors over white background throughout the OS, but the iconography is just bad, plain bad. The black Stocks/Compass app icon stands out like a sore thumb on the home screen, while the Safari and Mail icons simply look cheap.

And it’s not just the app icons, but also the icons in use within apps and menus that look like mockups instead of real icons.

ios 7 app icons

When making big, sweeping changes like these, you will get some backlash from the community. A design overhaul was long overdue for iOS, and that’s just what Apple has given us. They’ve gone off-track in a few areas, but they will take notice of the criticisms, and improve the design as time goes by.

iOS 7 is to iOS what Ice Cream Sandwich was to Android (Editor’s note: Oh no he didn’t!). It’s different, but it is better, and it will only get better in the future.

So, what do you think about the new design in iOS 7? Like it? Hate it? Join our poll or sound off in the comments section!

[polldaddy poll=”7168993″]

Leave a comment

  • I’m interested to hear more people’s issues with the new design. I’m pretty partial to the new icons, though I do see how the compass icon is a bit bold. Once other apps begin making icons similar their will be some that are stronger and stand out more. I don’t think the more basic ones like mail look cheap, though. There’s no need to overdue it. Keep it simple.

    • Vmax

      For me the use of linear gradients, and the translucency is a total let down…. I prefer solid colours ! IMO makes it look better designed, bold and even attributes to the build quality.

      • I can understand this line of thought. I just got to use iOS 7 for the first time today and it was pretty awesome. They’re unfortunately never going to please ALL of us with design, as that’s such a subjective thing.

  • Nathan

    I liked the new lockscreen and how skeumorphism has disappeared. But the new icons are pretty bad. Android user here but I’m a really fan of the current IOS icons. The quick settings menu is also hideous, seems like some toggles in the middle of a rainbown, I’m wondering if the background will change along with the wallpaper.

    I’m a little bit upset as I was tempted to leave android ship, my GNEX gets slower and laggier with 4.2.2. But I guess I’ll wait a little bit more

  • CX1

    Design cues or playing catch up? Imitation is the highest form a flattery, as they say.

  • Jonathan Ross

    Did a child design this?????

  • BenGleck

    When is the masculine version scheduled to be released?

  • Linda Mitchell

    “iOS 7 is to iOS what Ice Cream Sandwich was to Android.”

    I agree. This is a step in the right direction for iOS.

    • foggyflute

      More like Honeycomb to me, mixed bag with new and old things… It will get better in iOS8

  • Kickstar

    Blatant rips of various Windows Phone and Android features, but presenting it under a horrid start screen that looks like a childs toy.

  • Ed

    People need to understand that this was rushed. 7 months to complete an entire UI overhaul for a phone? That’s a crazy deadline. The typography is brilliant. The icons? Of course they can use work. An article was just posted recently about how there will be some significant changes to the UI.

    Also, people have complained non-stop about the iPhone UI. Now that they have changed it , people are still complaining. It needs time and people need patience. I’m sure that the final GM version of iOS 7 will look significantly better than it is now.

  • Griffin

    Inside apps, the design looks great. The icons though, while vibrant and distinct, alienate the core demographic a little much with its rushed, childish look. I suspect that they will be updated before the Fall release, but that’s just a hope.

    I wish there was a vote choice for “I like the direction its going in and agree with a lot of design points, but those icons are gross as they are.”

    Either way, as soon as they get a jailbreak available for it, icons will be the first thing to get changed.

  • From what I can see, most people just think that colorful means childish or feminine. That’s pitiful.

  • Sal

    Most likely there will be a Winterboard theme to get the old iOS back. I don’t have an iDevice, but I used to have an iPod Touch 4G. I would always jailbreak it. I recommend it. I am now a proud Android user (Nexus 4)