• Thursday Morning News

    It's not about the icons. As much as you or I might want it to be, and as heinous as you might think they are, the redesign of iOS 7 isn't about the icons. Forget the icons. Look past the icons to realise that what you're breathing is not air, but something else. The icons aren't the be-all and end-all of iOS 7, but they do herald an entirely new design language one which is far more important than just a few icons on a home screen.

    You probably don't like the icons because they're such a departure from what you've seen before. Every single app icon on the App Store now looks old and out-dated in the face of pastels, lighter colours, and nary a hint of green felt; like Aqua's pinstripes of old, iOS 7 is out with the old an in with the new. One of the problems with that, though, is how do you design something entirely new without being inspired by what already exists? One could argue that certain features have been borrowed from other operating systems, but the truth is, Apple doesn't exist in some bubble where they can feel free to do what they like. Everything they do will be influenced, either by products past or present.

    Which means, there will be a few rough edges. Those icons, for example. Everyone will call out flaws in something new, and they'll do it loudly. Inconsistency between button designs means iOS 7 is unpolished by design, but that's part of the deal when you choose to change everything you know about a mobile platform, especially one that has been as familar as iOS has been for the last few years. Things will change and improve, but we've got to give it time.

    IOS 7 is an evolution in the information appliance, says The Next Web. There's less drop shadows, yes, but there's also text as buttons and edge-to-edge content. There's a new way for apps to display actions when tapping on links, for example, and the action icons are no longer grated-metal affairs, but simple icons surrounded by rounded rects. See also why the design of iOS 7 looks so different, which reveals that marketing teams designed the new icons, whilst app teams worked on the interfaces within. Explains a lot, really.

    Such a big change represents a massive opportunity for app developers, too: those that find themselves designing apps for iOS 7 first will likely capture a part of the market that they might not have, purely because their app looks the part. No-one wants apps that look dated when the rest of the operating system is so shiny, and I can't wait to see what developers come up with.

    Matt Gemmell has a comparison of iOS 6 and iOS 7. The new iOS uses colour and borders to separate and divide information on-screen. Dialog boxes, user choices, and action buttons are all presented in a way that means less chrome, and more time for the actual content. It's lighter, and much, much brighter.

    Now this is interesting; following our own change on warranty policy extending the standard warranty from one to two years so as to not fall short under Australian Consumer Law, Apple has revised their warranty policies in France, Germany, and Belgium. The changes in those European countries is also as a result of Apple bringing their warranty policy in line with consumer law, where it now complies with the mandatory two-year warranty period.

    ITunes Radio didn't launch in Australia when it was announced at the WWDC keynote, but if you have a US iTunes account, that's all you need to start using it. Simply sign in with your US iTunes Account, re-launch iTunes, and you'll be able to access Apple's new iRadio where, as I said earlier in the week, you'll be given great recommendations on music.

    I remember a time when product unboxings were the cool thing to do get a new product, and take a few shots of it as you took it out of the box. Now it seems that product tear-downs are the new hotness, with iFixit stripping down the new AirPort Extreme and MacBook Air to their basic components. There's room in the AirPort for a 3.5-inch drive, but it doesn't look as you can put one in there.

    Apple's new video is a nine-minute long showcase of how they are making a difference, one app a time. You might remember the video of a blind hiker going on bushwalks from a year or so back this is a similar kind of thing, with the video showing off how an app-controlled prosthetic leg can mean a rowing bronze medallist can wear high-heeled shoes. "Each iOS app offers remarkable and often delightful possibilities. But the most powerful iOS apps ever are ones that change people's lives in ways they never imagined."
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