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iOS 7 developers discuss Android/Windows similarities and redesign challenges

Karen Haslam | June 17, 2013
After the WWDC keynote on Monday night we fired off some emails to developers to gauge their reaction to the announcements.

After the WWDC keynote on Monday night we fired off some emails to developers to gauge their reaction to the announcements.

Generally feedback was very positive to iOS 7, although a number of developers commented on the similarities between Android, Windows Phone and iOS 7.

Some developers had been concerned about the direction the expected redesign would take. After months of rumours about Jonathan Ive's plans to revamp the operating system and remove all traces of Scott Forstall's skeuomorphism, a number of developers were bracing themselves for change.

One of them was Binary Formations owner Kevin Hamilton. He told us: "I have to admit that I was really sceptical, but now I'm relieved."

Keith Blount developer of Scrivener at Literature & Latte isn't yet ready to draw his conclusions. Blount said: "I'm reserving judgement on the new UI for the time being, because radical design overhauls to something you use all the time are bound to take some getting used to, and besides, I've never been good with change."

Another iOS developer described the new iOS as being like Marmite. Andrew Till director at Plastic told us: "iOS 7 is a real love it or hate it design. It's admirable just how much they've changed it, but it's jarring."

For some, change is good, however. "We're impressed at the degree of change Apple opted to pursue for iOS 7 and we're delighted at the usability improvements," said Greg Scown co-founder of Smile Software.

IGG Software founder and president Ian Gillespie expects that users will adjust to the change in design quickly. "The new UI takes some getting used to, but I'm sure that in six months, when I pick up an iOS 6 device, it will feel and look old," he said.

The new iOS 7 is like Android, Windows Phone...

Of course with the new look came numerous comments that the new iOS 7 takes its inspiration from Android and Windows Phone, this was, after all, what all the rumours had suggested.

Blount said: "My first reaction, admittedly, was that the flatness of the design looks more like something I might expect from Microsoft, so I was somewhat surprised by this direction, despite all the rumours."

However, Blount admitted: "I love the flatness inside Safari and other apps. With this flat, almost on-paper-ish look, they seem to have performed the trick of making the contents of the apps look more analog while at the same time eradicating the skeuomorphism. And I'm very glad to see the back of skeuomorphic design on both iOS and OS X."

Ray East marketing associate at BeLight Software noted that there will be challenges, describing ridding iOS of skeumorphism as a "gamble". He told us: "It's going to take some getting used to for a large majority of users, although iOS 7 looks fresh and brings a lot of long overdue improvements, such Control Center and AirDrop. It was quite a gamble ridding iOS of skeuomorphism. We'll see how easily the transition period passes."


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