I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have far less problems with how iOS 7 looks than I do with how it works. I can deal with ugly icons, but what's really getting annoying is all the crashes, the ongoing bugs, the quirkiness, and the many processes that went backwards in terms of usability. I've had iOS 7 running on a 3rd and 4th generation iPad, an iPad Mini, an iPad Air, an iPhone 4, an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5s. I experience more bugs in this shipping version of iOS 7 than I have in the past with beta versions of iOS. My daily carries are the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air, the latest and greatest, and they each crash more in a week than all of my other iOS devices have ever crashed for as long as I've had them, literally. This is what bugs me and concerns me the most right now about iOS 7.
But there are certainly things I don't like about the design makeover, and to be honest, some stuff that I liked early on I've grown to dislike with time.
I think using text instead of buttons looks and feels weird, and oftentimes leads to mild confusion or a downgrade in functionality. For example, my mind is blown as to how anyone could find the Now Playing screen in the music app to be anything but a downgrade in functionality on iOS 7. This is the sort of thing that was a little awkward at first (I had the betas installed on iPhone and iPad as soon as they were available) but I went with it thinking I'd adjust and perhaps grow to like it better. Instead, I've just come to find it more and more annoying and regrettable.
That Apple has to add an Accessibility option for this after the fact is telling of the flaw in the idea. And before some smart ass tries to make a ridiculous jump in logic, no, I'm not suggesting that anything requiring an Accessibility option equates to a flaw in design. I'm strictly saying that in this case, they're adding an Accessibility option to account not for people with disabilities, but for people who are confused. Some might disagree, but to me, that is a very damning admission from Apple that something is wrong. I just hope that they go back to the drawing board and find something that makes more sense as opposed to this clumsily-implemented band-aid of a solution.
I have never said this before, and I tend to get as annoyed as anyone when people say it, but the move towards text instead of buttons more than any other aspect of iOS 7 feels like something that never would've flown with Steve Jobs around. Ive and Federighi obviously have a lot of good ideas, as there's plenty to like about iOS 7, but there needs to be someone in the equation who is as concerned about the clarity factor as Steve Jobs was. Some things about Steve Jobs aren't replaceable, but this is a hole that'd be easier to plug than others. This is why I bring it up. It's not worth talking about replacing Steve Jobs marketing wizardry and keynote brilliance among other things. What's needed here is a 3rd voice among Ive and Federighi who's laser-focused in on the end users, but one who can speak to and understand enough about the software side and the design side to get the best out of what each has to offer.
But anyways, all that said, I hope developers don't get too focused on going for the iOS 7 look just yet. I know Apple isn't out and out requiring it, but I'm seeing too many apps go in that direction clearly for the sake of going there, and with the text element in particular, I just don't think it's for the better in many cases, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple will be rethinking the move away from buttons heading into iOS 8 and 9. I'm all for developers cleaning up some of the old iOS 6 elements that are way over the top in that direction, but I'd rather see their designs evolve from iOS 7 as opposed to mimicking it. After all, maybe their efforts will give Apple some good ideas!
Oh, one more thing: I now hate white. I wasn't really bothered by it at first. Now, I hate it. I hate it like crazy. I'm so glad that I have Control Center on my iPhone especially, as I'm constantly having to turn the brightness down to avoid eye strain. The iPad is now literally uncomfortable to use in low-light conditions in apps that feature the overabundance of white. This is terrible, and so easily avoided. It absolutely needs to be addressed in iOS 8. I will let them write it off as going for a clean slate so they'd have a great surface to design on moving forward, but that's me struggling greatly to rationalize it. It's a wonderful idea in theory and makes for a nice Jony Ive introduction video, but enough already; it's literally making my eyes hurt.
***Edit to note that I am not at all a visually impaired user. I actually have 20/15 vision, have never worn or needed glasses in any circumstance, and only have a sensitivity to light when I get the occasional migraine. I can't even imagine how annoying some of the changes in iOS 7 must be to visually impaired users.
Edited by gcom006 - 12/17/13 at 10:00pm