With iOS 7 a matter of weeks away from public release, it seems worthwhile to reflect on all the blogs, tweets and articles written over the last few months.
Since the first beta, we've heard a plethora of opinion and comment on the change. It's not unexpected given the new direction in not only the visual look but also how it is experienced. While some comment has been snarky, vague and of little substance; much has actually been constructive and detailed in its analysis.
Whether you agree or disagree with what has been said, one thing is true - seeing iOS 7's visuals and interactions dissected by authoritative designers and developers is beneficial for the wider community. Most of the analysis has provided great detail on the decision-making processes (or the processes Apple should've taken) that we as developers, can take into our own projects. We've always known that we must deeply consider every 'yes' and every 'no'. Now we have a foundation of what we should be asking when it comes to interface and experience and more specifically typography, iconography and usability.
iOS 7's first beta release heralded Helvetica Neue as the font face with Apple choosing ultralight as the primary weight. Khoi Vinh and Oliver Reichenstein (here & here) took to the blogs and the Twitters to critique the choice. Both narrow in on the need to select typography to achieve legibility, balance and hierarchy for optimal experience not just selecting it for the look.
Icons in iOS 7, as we've seen, are radically different than witnessed in previous versions. Apple's aim is to bring simplicity and consistency to the icon set. Khoi Vinh, Neven Mrgan and Ian Taylor outline a thought process for our own uses. Icon design is as much about feel as it is about adhering to template or guidelines.
With Apple's efforts to simplify iOS, it has rid the interface of the chrome evident in previous iterations. Gone are much of the textures, gloss and design metaphors. Michael Heilemann (here & here) implores us that while focusing on simplicity is great, we must ensure interfaces are obvious in telling a user how it works. Matt Gemmell's detailed analysis focuses on ensuring the content is to the fore, ignoring design for design's sake and letting the user accomplish what he/she wants the app to do.
iOS 7 has evolved significantly since these pieces have been published with many issues resolved somewhat, but that's not the point of this summation. The point is that when iOS 7 comes out in the next few weeks be thankful to the community for the insight we've received. Apply these critiques, dissections and analysis to your own work and let it empower us all to build a better product.