Monday, June 10, 2013

WWDC -- iOS 7 -- 1984 is back!!

I'm both shocked and amused at the visual changes to iOS with version 7.

The technical changes are of more interest to me, but I was rather shocked looking at the revisions to what is usually eye candy.  It feels as though the original Macintosh operating system interface has been given a renewed life.  Back in 1984, we had a white with black interface, but iOS 7 is getting a white with colour interface, for whatever reason.

After seeing it, I can say that it's not blue and it's not silver/brushed metal/whatever.  The huge emphasis on blue since the original Mac OS X public beta in 2000 drove me mad.  If you're going to use a colour, use one that I want.  i.e., make it flexible to my whim.  However, Apple only once was ready to give us that ability and they pulled it away from us after displaying it--Themes in Mac OS 8.x.

Monday's announcement and images show us something different.  They said that they ran out of green felt for Game Center.  Okay, we get it, you didn't like trying to mirror real life because it would only be a pale (or perhaps, over-saturated) comparison.

The variety of colour in the latest screenshots make me wonder if Apple will be supplying iPhone in multiple colours to match iPod touch.  What I've seen doesn't seem completely good with the current black or white phone bodies but might be considered sufficient with a variety of colours, and black and white.

I read that Apple put their marketing people in charge of the new icons somehow.  I thought that they either hired the laid-off Nokia artists who made the child-like icons for their phones prior to Windows Phone or Apple copied elementary school children's art work.  They've said that it's a work in progress.  The last time I remember knowing marketing people who were in charge, our product was named Computron 7000.  Never, ever let marketing people do anything unattended!

I'm not sure about the rest.  Control Center sounds good but how do they know what we need and will it be flexible?  I don't care for their calculator, so if it cannot be replaced, I'm probably going to go to mine.  I already have a flash light app, so I could go to that also.    My point is that Apple, in their desire to provide the best experience (and that's important) for the majority of the people, don't always get it right but they, and we have to live with their decisions.

I'm thrilled that they've figured out how to put more things in a folder 6 years later.  It feels a bit like they're making the same mistakes over and over and over again, from Apple II to Mac OS to Mac OS X to iOS.  It's good that they've re-worked Notifications.  I'm still getting notifications hours later, after I've seen them and dismissed them.  I may be assuming too much, but I'm guessing that iOS 6 will never be fixed.  I wonder if iOS 7 will just give us a new nightmare.

This might sound incredibly negative.  I'm actually pleased that they're making progress but adding things like multi-tasking for all apps, support for game sprites in 2D games, and an official set of APIs for physical game controllers.  I'm thinking that Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall stood in the way of functionality.  I'm with Steve Jobs that the customer should have a great experience, and the user interface needs to be honed, but without progress, you will find your competition winning at something you hold dear.

Update 2013.09.25: I've had iOS 7 on my phone since two days ago.  It really reminds me of the early Macintosh days when everything was white and black, but with a bit of color added.  Of course, flat means that graphics can be rendered more quickly than detailed, more 3D graphics can be.  Also, ending the fuzzy green card table look in Game Center or the leather-bound calendar or the notepaid with poor perforations helps to make things go more quickly.

The experience is better and will eventually be smooth once version 7.1 is out, but it looks like crap on my iPhone 4S.  It looks like the first release of software, not the seventh version.  The slide down notifications works a bit better and the slide up Control Center is somewhat convenient.  However, the grab and pull down method of getting a search window seems inconsistent.  Funny, I complained about all the blue and now, it's all the white.  It's like a device they'd designed for the movie THX-1138.

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