Helvetica. Helvetica everywhere. As if the Cupertino-based computer giant hasn’t had enough of this font yet. Yesterday, Apple, Inc. released its newest iteration of iOS. It boasts a whole new gamut of features, including a total facelift from the stagnating old iOS user interface. Overnight, the Twitterverse was littered with #iOS7 coupled with lamentations and praises.
But what is new, exactly? Beneath all the hype, it’s still the iPhone. Swipe across anywhere in the lock screen to unlock the phone. The same blocks for app icons — yet so carefully and thoughtfully redesigned — dribble into the home screen. Swipe down from the top, and a friendlier, more intuitive notifications bar greets you. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and a new set of instant controls pop up. iOS 7’s aesthetics permeate the layers of the operating system, and in a skillful way, entice our eyes with functional playfulness.
Some people love it, some people hate it. Just as people hate and/or love Android, Windows or BlackBerry 10. For some reason, I found myself in a love-hate relationship with the new iPhone software. Yes, it’s brilliant: it’s simple, sophisticated and discreet; yet it is flamboyant, boisterous and nauseating. Jony Ive, iOS 7’s chief designer aimed for the software to feel minimalistic and flat. Yet the colours pop out, swirling bright bubbles of blue that move in parallax with the icons. Jony Ive aimed for simplicity. Yet an incredible barrage of colours floods my eyes. Jony Ive claimed it to be intuitive. Yet I struggle to tweak the settings that adjust the nauseating parallax effect.
No doubt that it is by far the most sophisticated mobile operating system. With a taste for quirky colours and disgust for cheesy skeumorphism, Apple has finally made the biggest change in iOS since its first release. Yet it feels the same way as the previous iOS, like a souped-up version of the previous iOS’s, or rather a very pretty rendition of ‘iOS 6S‘.
I daresay that it’s a good mobile operating system. iOS has always been a good mobile OS; people would never have made the iPhone the iPhone we so adamantly hate, resent, love and adore today if it hadn’t a decent operating system. Whenever a new iteration of the iPhone software is released, Twitter feeds flood with #iOS7 #BestThingEva #omg or even #KillMeNow #WhereIsInnovation #AndroidForever. Clear evidence that though people love and hate iOS, people talk about iOS. The day that Apple loses the smartphone race is when Twitter becomes bereft of complaints against iOS.
I daresay that I like iOS 7. It’s ambitious. It’s spunky. It challenges the way we usually think about smartphones’ operating systems. But it feels ever so familiar. It feels like I know what’s going to happen. It will continue to amaze me in ways it had amazed me before. It will continue to bore me in ways that it had bored me before — but in full acid-trip-induced gamut of colour.
I do not hate iOS 7. I do not resent the feisty colours nor the ubiquity of Helvetica Neue. Neither do I particularly love it: it’s pretty — in fact, too pretty. It’s that feeling an average Joe twenty-something undergrad senior gets when he meets a stunningly beautiful graduate student. Spicy. Quirky. Brilliant. Gorgeous. And yet hopelessly irreconcilable, predictable, ho-hum.
Featured image credit to Apple Inc.