• Monday Morning News


    Looking at Apple's marketing page for iOS 7 (and both the design and features pages), you'd be forgiven in thinking that Apple were discontinuing the black iPhone in the next iteration. Of the 101 images of iPhones across the three pages, only four are black. It says a lot about the design of iOS 7: brighter colours are in, and they look best with a white iPhone.

    As a side-by-side visual comparison between the user interfaces of iOS 6 and iOS 7 shows, edge-to-edge content is a core focus of iOS 7. Pixels are no longer wasted on borders, shadows, or other unnecessary visual cues, giving iOS 7 an overall look that is cleaner and smarter than any of its predecessors. You don't have to look far to see how much the design language has changed: a comparison of the default UI elements (tab bars, buttons, spinners, etc) should tell you all you need to know.

    The thing that a lot of people take issue with isn't their design (one way or another), but that they are inconsistent. It doesn't matter that the Music icon's gradient bears a striking similarity to the same one Microsoft used on the Zune when the icons themselves show a definite disconnect. Gradients are used in some and not in others. The colours are boring. Apple is trying to simplify and remove metaphors we're all so used to, and yet, a picture of a camera, complete with yellow metering light and visible shutter button, represents the Camera app? Plus, you know, using pure white for icons is generally a bad idea.

    Khoi Vinh is a big fan of the "old" back button, and who can blame him? You've probably explained to someone that yes, that little button in the top-left will take them back to where they just came from, even though that's exactly what the button is shaped like and says in the button. But the new button has none of those affordances: you aren't explicitly told where to tap, and the sideways-chevron doesn't exactly indicate "back". In short, it's not the back button we know and love.

    There are some questionable points in this piece about what iOS 7 should look like, but it also has some great points about ideas that should have made the cut. Even though we won't see big home or lock screen changes as Tristan suggests, there's plenty of ideas that can be implemented in the few short months iOS 7 still has to improve even if it means that right now, we get sporadic, seemingly random use of colour.

    A Quora thread asks the question we've all been wanting to ask: is the design of iOS 7 an improvement? For the most part, undoubtedly. Putting aside the little inconsistencies and other small flaws, Apple was "afforded a ramp up in dimensionality" through the flattening of individual on-screen elements, which is where translucency gets to have its day. The screen now feels as though it's made up of layers: instead of flatness, we got depth.

    Microsoft released Office Mobile for iPhone over the weekend, and even though you'll need to be an Office 365 subscriber to use it, it offers one distinct advantage over similar apps: perfect compatibility with your Office files. If you want to view a Word document as the creators of Office intended, then this is the app you've been looking for. Otherwise, you might be better off with either a dedicated word processor or the Google Drive app.

    IWork isn't quite the productivity standard that Office is, but iWork for iCloud could be their first step towards it. Like Office Mobile, iWork for iCloud solves the problem of not being able to view iWork files when you're away from your Mac by letting you access your iWork documents through a web browser. And even though you might think it's a little contradictory for Apple to release a web app (they even said so during the keynote), iWork for iCloud represents the idea that iCloud isn't just a collection of web services.

    There's still some debate about whether SMB2 is, in fact, included in Apple's implementation of SMB in OS X Mavericks, but the important part is that OS X now uses SMB-based file sharing by default, instead of the AFP it used to use. AFP is great if all you have is Macs on your network, but for everything else, SMB is the protocol to use.

    The iBooks origin story goes a little something like this: Steve Jobs wasn't interested in the idea of an iBookstore to begin with, thinking that the Mac and iPhone were inferior reading devices. But when production for the iPad began ramping up, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue broached the subject with Jobs once more, and from that point on, Jobs was really enthusiastic about the whole idea.

    If the name Mieko Haire sounds familiar, you're probably wondering where you've seen it before. Apple's marketing materials for iOS 7 include Mieko's name all over the place, and here's the twist: we learn that many, if not all, the people used in Apple's marketing materials are actually real employees that work for Apple.

    There are many apps that have great release notes, but the release notes for version 1.0.1 of Whisper take the cake for being the best release notes ever written.
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