iOS to become “flat and simplified”? Okay, maybe I was crazyAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Earlier today, our news hound Alex Wagner reported an interesting story from the Wall Street Journal that emphasizes on how the future of iOS might pan out in terms of design. Many of us can agree that iOS has become stale and has virtually stayed the same since 2007 and could use a new facelift and some changes to refresh the interface. In his news article, it’s explained exactly how much iOS is planning on changing; a change is coming, but it may not be necessarily for the better.
Last year, Apple announced that former Senior Vice President of iOS Scott Forstall would be “taking his leave” from the company and being replaced by successor Jonathan (Jony) Ive. According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, this switch has led Apple’s Human Interface Group to receive earlier briefings regarding future mobile hardware designs – which Ive has begun sitting in on sessions to look over the new software himself.
It has been reported that Ive has revealed some of his plans for the future of iOS, which include taking the overall interface in a starker direction with a “flat interface” to simplify the design.
Stark. Flat. Simple.
I’m sorry, let’s back it for a minute just to make sure: We are talking about iOS and not Windows Phone, right?
Yep, it’s iOS.
I suppose I can’t be too harsh on the concept without actually knowing exactly what’s going to happen, but I’ll be darned if they didn’t choose a poorer choice of words to create a positive hype regarding the future of this (currently) popular mobile platform. All this time we’ve been rooting for a change, hoping for Apple to throw us even the smallest of bones, and they tell us they would like to flatten the design and simplify it. Pfft.
I do understand that throughout iOS there are some interesting choice of textures that go on throughout the different applications; Game Center has some sort of woodwork/chalkboard thing going on, Reminders has a papery-looking texture to match the standard notebook paper design, even the Notification Center has some sort of thatched denim-like background. So if making the interface flatter and more simplified implies that these textures will be replaced with a more solid color, then fine. That's cool. I can see where it would seem more professional to opt to do so, but if that turns out to be the biggest improvement from one iPhone to the next you can count me out.
I mean, not only is simplifying the interface completely trespassing the limited territory that Windows Phone has, I also feel that it would just be taking Apple in the wrong direction. Right now iOS is a happy medium between Android and Windows Phone - you've got more applications but less customization. The main problem isn't that the interface isn’t simple enough - it's very much simple. It's one of the most simple interfaces and concepts I've experienced with a smartphone. Whether it's because I came from Android to iOS or not, I'll never know, but I can honestly say I've never once heard somebody say "This is too hard for me to operate, please put me into an Android."
The only way I could see this panning out for Apple is if they implemented some irresistible and useful features (also, admittedly, an even bigger screen - more specifically, a wider screen to match up with the height) to compete with higher-end Android devices. I think most fans of Apple products can admit that simplifying the interface is not going to solve the steady decline of iOS users. They should enhance the features they already have and build from there.
I sincerely hope that this is not the defining feature of iOS 7, and I don’t want to jump ahead of myself by saying that I'm completely crazy for thinking that Apple has a fighting chance at winning users over with the next iPhone. Clearly we are not starting off on the wrong foot. So as it stands...
Readers That Called Anna Crazy: 1
This is not over! I don't think.
Image via MacSpoilers