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Ive been thinking of a number between 6 and 8

Today, the internet was all a buzz about the keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. In particular the star of the show was the premiere of the totally redesigned iOS 7. Since I'm an Apple geek, I felt it was my sacred duty to add to the plethora of pundits and commentators, and add my two cents about this radical design change.

When Scott Forstall left Apple and Jonny Ive was given control over software design, it became a foregone conclusion that skeuomorphisms were going to be a thing of the past. Ive has made his views on them quite clear, and so the first thing that was shown the door with this new design was the wood bookcases, the green felt, the yellow legal pad and any semblance of leather stitching. During today's presentation there were even multiple jokes about the lack of these textures anywhere in the new design. Not sure if Forstall was watching, but for his sake, I kinda almost hoped he wasn't.

So about the design in general... The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was "Huh, that looks like Samsung TouchWiz."I thought that perhaps that was just me, until moments later two different friends pretty much said the same thing to me. Now, there's nothing wrong with following someone else's lead, and frankly I like the direction they took it, but I can see a lot of criticism coming it's way towards Apple for copying others maybe a bit too much.

Specifically, I like many aspects of the design. It's clean and crisp, though some have felt it's too 'bright'. Some areas in particular:

  • Unlike many others, I like the iconography, but I really wonder how the sleek Apple icons will blend with the anything goes icons of random apps from the App Store. 
  • The addition of the quick control panel is a long overdue addition, but it certainly puts the flashlight app I downloaded out of business.
  • Multi-tasking app switching is a direct copy of WebOS, but since WebOS is dead, I love that it's been re-incarnated here.
  • The changes to Safari, particularly tabs, is very cool and I think it works well, and the ability to re-arrange things seems nice and natural.
  • The Weather app has some potential to look really cool. I hope it also has useful information besides just nifty animations of the day's weather ;-) . 
  • Scrollable folders was a HUGE and great addition, and something I'm really looking forward to.
  • Finally, the Notification Center seems to have gotten a really nice polish, and the fact that you can get to it on the home screen is a big bonus.
So besides the visual and functional tweaks, Apple also unveiled their new streaming radio service that's been rumored for months. I'm not a big streaming radio fan, but I might give it a try if it's just a button press on my phone by default. Frankly, I was more interested in the iWork via the Web that was demonstrated, and hope that really comes to full fruition soon.

So there's some quick thoughts on my take of the iOS 7 announcement. I'm anxious to give it a try when it releases and see how much has changed in my day-to-day use. 

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