Forget icons and typefaces, iOS 7 is the birth of dynamic interface

I've been watching the iOS 7 video over and over again since WWDC 2013. Part of that is because I'm writing our iOS 7 preview series, and part of it is because there's just so much to unpack about what we were shown, it's implications and ramifications. From the moment Tim Cook debuted it on the keynote stage, and the audience's breath caught at the parallax and their smiles intensified at the collisions, it should have been apparent there was a lot more going on at the code level than the pixel level. It was fundamental change, and not of style but of substance.

I mentioned that I was expecting something next the night before, but even that didn't prepare me for the reality of seeing it. Even after the keynote it took me a couple days to get my thoughts together before I could even begin to discuss the objectification and gamification of operating system that Apple had just introduced.

I keep linking to those pieces again and again because, to me, it's such a new language that it needs to be contextualized each and every time it's approached. Here's the gist, though: Apple has built a complete, robust physics and particle engine for iOS 7. Elements don't just go from point A to point B, they move through a "real" world. They react to the accelerometer and gyroscope, they collide and bounce off each other and with the edges of the display, and they can change color according to the environment around them. They behave like objects in space, and interact like objects in a game.

It's not pixels painted so much anymore as particles placed, and not areas touched so much as directly manipulated.

Now iOS 7 beta 3 has been released, and I find myself watching the video again and again, again. The physics is one thing, but it goes beyond that as well. Where everything in iPhone OS 1 to iOS 6 looked rendered, everything on iOS 7 looks on-the-fly. Animation, interaction, color, type, control, everything. To beat the irony out of a dead horse, Apple has made iOS dynamic. They've made it come alive.

If you've paid attention to OS X, iTunes, and even some aspects of iOS over the last few years, some of what we're seeing now looks familiar in part. Taken together and expanded in whole, and made system level, it's something else entirely. Once again, obvious in hindsight because it was hidden in plain sight.

It's almost a shame the issues with icon weighting and rendering, with type thinness and nakedness are are dominating some of the design conversations. Pastels, flatness, minimalism, are trends. They're skins. They're static. They can be fixed or gotten used to. iOS 7's change is in the bones and the dynamics.

I'm gushing about it now and again not as a fan of Apple, but as a fan of interface and of computing, who's seen the world move from punch cards to command lines to windows, and begin to play with natural language and gestures. To interact with voice and touch, to bring data to where ever the user is, whenever they need it, interface has to transcend being a rendering and become a thing. It's what I've been clamoring for on damn nearly every episode of Iterate when the topic of the future has come up.

It's a radical change, but what really starts messing with the mind is that it's probably only the first step, the foundation. What can be built upon a live, dynamic interface engine is... beyond exciting. How long until everything is dynamic? Until interface stops being "pull" and starts being "push" and whatever we want to do appears wherever and whenever we want to do it? Even trying to imagine next year's Apple Design Award winners, never mind those two, three, five years from now...

iOS 7 was going to be divisive. There's no way to change something used by not only the most discerning developers and designers on the planet, but hundreds of millions of mainstream people without inviting push back and risking confusion. The alternative is stagnation. The only viable, sustainable solution becomes, when you decide to make a change, to really make a change. To leap ahead.

Whether it ultimately works or not, and takes off with the mainstream or not, is a question for this fall. Apple has been at the forefront of mainstreaming command lines, windows, and multitouch, and now they're right there again with dynamics. And the more I see of iOS 7, the more I hope Apple nails the landing, and the greater my anticipation as I look up to the sky and wait for developers to take their turns on the launch pad.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Forget icons and typefaces, iOS 7 is the birth of dynamic interface

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I failed to grasp the point made here. What was it exactly? That iOS is now "dynamic," which every mobile UI is? Or something else?

I thought I kind of got the point but not the significance. Physics engine. Dynamic.

It seems like marketing spin without substance.

I'm willing to admit that I may have missed something but ... Well, I guess Trappiste said it best. I failed to grasp the point.

I got your point. Thanks Rene. Great write up. I correct my initial distaste for the color palette and font. I appreciate the enhancements and am excited to get my hands on this in the fall. I will sti be able to fire my iphone 1st gen up and look back in nostalgia but be glad for where Apple has taken us.

Think back to the time of transition between Mac OS 8/9 to Mac OS X. (If you were old enough to remember that is. OMG I'm old.) A lot of hemming and hawing over Aqua with crazy pinstripes, shadows, blurs, real-time icon scaling, and gel-cap buttons, but what drew those effects was a big change to the drawing architecture.

Mac OS 9 had bitmap style graphics where everything had to be drawn pixel by pixel. In OS X, with Quartz, it became a layered, pipelined 2D graphics rendering engine. Jobs would just love to demonstrate the genie minimization effect in slow motion (shift + click on minimization button) during keynotes. That would have driven developers nuts to implement in a raster graphics system. It did come at a cost, the new graphics drawing system was CPU intensive, but once it became GPU accelerated, OS X basically took off with Expose and like features. iOS CoreAnimation is a 2nd version of the technology, and to this day, iOS remains the standard for animation performance.

I'm also unsure (along with Rene) if UI Dynamics can be a game changer, Apple is indeed giving developers incredible new animation and text rendering techniques by default in iOS 7 APIs. It's a new world for designers to explore, and something wonderful could come out of it. It's fair to say that Apple themselves will introduce a show-off application sooner or later.

An adaptive UI is totally game changing. Data driven user experience is the opposite of a user driven data experience. It's not an evolution.

Yeah I missed everything too. Can we define "dynamic" in the context of iOS? That could help.

I'm psyched about the new look (hey, looks are nice) and the quick access to wi-fi and Bluetooth but....when you say the change is "in the bones" you lose me.

Think about the change from Super Mario Bros. on the NES to Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. Apple didn't just add features like Control Center, they fundamentally changed how the interface is generated and how the interactions work.

Watch the video a few more times. It works like a game now.

What finally did it for me was watching just now, with the sound muted. I put on some music, maximised the video at 1080p, and didn't try to anticipate what was coming or how it impacted me, but just *watch*. It all became clear.

The iOS screen is suddenly this infinitely light (as in, a lack of both mass and shadow) playground for whatever you're focusing on right at that second.

iOS7 is the first step to a Minority Report world. Everything delivered in context without having to go hunting for the info. Just think about what layering can do for data-vis. This is a 3D UI that adapts in real time. The potential is so great we can't see most of it yet.

I totally get what Rene is saying here and I agree. It's deep. More than what is on the surface. If it works out the way I think Rene is thinking here, it will be incredible and the whole computing world will follow. Something to look forward to.

I agree. Apple is taking a direction and going for it. It's going to evolve and probably, be the new design interface of all mobile platforms.

I've yet to have any hands-on time with iOS 7, so for those of you that have, take this with a grain of salt...
I can't help but feel like this "objectification, gamification, and dynamic interface" business is perhaps more of a step forward from what Microsoft did with Windows Phone than a "birth" of something wholly new.
Windows Phone feels very much alive for many of the reasons Rene has mentioned in his posts. If you need proof, just watch a few minutes of the interface in use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCbd3NwT9Iw
The lockscreen has a gravity to it. If you don't slide it up far enough to unlock, it falls back to the bottom with a gentle bounce until it comes to rest. The fly-in and flip page transition animations are dynamic and create a sense of a virtual space. Scrolling too far causes text to squish and spring back.
I'm not saying Apple hasn't done something new, but it seems that the difference must difficult to articulate to anyone who has not seen it first hand.

I think you guys are missing the point of what he's trying to say, it has nothing to do with the colors and the fonts. In simple language Apple has gone from rendering the OS in 2D and rendering it in 3D.

Think about the difference between working with something in photoshop, and working in 3D software like Maya. In Photoshop, depth, opacity, all that stuff, is faked. It's created by painting shadows, blurring textures, and creating layers. All stuff to trick your eye into seeing what the artist wants you to see. In 3D design there is an actual space that the artists work in with real dimension and set physics. Something looks farther away because it actually IS farther away and the software renders that. This is quite literally the difference between old 2D gaming and modern 3D gaming like he said.

All the stuff being nitpicked about is just paint. The concept has changed. The operating system is now a dynamic space with physics and laws that govern it, not just a movable painting. It's the future of the user interface.

iOS 7 Beta 3 comes with a new Jony Ive's Siri voice. When I have it read out Rene's post, it all seems to make more sense.

So some fancy animations are supposed to make up for a hideous UI, and the complete lack of actual features which most other phones have had for years?

One could say most people don't care about anything, to think your wants are all that matters is pretty arrogant. Who would actually want Apple or any other company to limit features? Who cares if you don't care for new ones, many people do.

And for the record, just about every iPhone user who jailbreaks their phones, adds widgets, so you are wrong. I've heard the same fanboyish comments prior to just about everything Apple has added to the iPhone over the years, "nobody cares", "nobody wants it", "it's not needed", only for them to reverse their stance once Apple announces it and then it's declared to be the best thing ever..

Kinda like how thinking the new UI is "hideous" is just an opinion, and representing it as the way everyone feels just makes you seem arrogant?

Yes it's hideous, it looks like somebody let their 4 year old who is a teletubbie fan design it on MS paint.

Everyone I've shown it to thinks the same thing, outside of tech blogs filled with Apple fanboys, I can't find anybody who thinks it's an improvement or isn't hideous with all the white and pastels. I'm not just saying this to trash Apple, I'm saying it because I had high hopes for iOS 7 given the hype surrounding Jony Ive, I was expecting something modern, elegant, classy, and beautiful. Instead we got a dated, ugly, brash, garish, hack job.

People defend it saying it's about the content, who cares about UI or icons, don't seem to understand that apps themselves will be adopting this new look http://www.businessinsider.com/what-apps-might-look-like-in-ios-7-2013-7
So there will be no escape from the blinding white and neon colors.

That's just my opinion, and it's as valid as those saying they like it, I think Apple went in the wrong direction, I just hope they let some actual designers loose on the thing before public release since this was apparently crafted by some very non-skilled-at-design marketing people.. Heads should roll over that one.

Nice article. I agree 100% and currently loving my iOS 7 beta 3 because they finally fixed the Podcasts app.

Good luck in trying to convince that negaive clown Leo Laporte.

I have ios 7 beta 3 installed and sure ios 6 looks very tired and old now but i don't like the glorification made from Rene. Really is not a very big deal. Some functions are changed and some functions are easy to do and also ios 7 is more beautiful than ios 6 but nothing in ios 7 is breathtaking. This are some little changes to be excepted because android and windows are overtaking ios. Ios is more solid and beautiful but windows and android are more functional. Again i think Rene glorifies details of ios 7 much more than Jony Ive himself...and Jony makes a fortune with this job :)

"Windows are overtaking iOS"? "WIndows is more functional"? Bro, are you for real? On what planet is this even remotely true? Windows phone sales are an absolute disaster, marketshare is in the low single digits. But hey, whatever you say.

I usually like what Rene writes, but I agree with you entirely. All that is being described here has been around for almost two decades, Apple did not create any of this, its an implementation on top of OpenGL libraries. The "gamification" described is present in countless games and to some extent present in all modern mobile OSs, including iOS, WP and Android. Its a simple and basic physics engine, almost as old as computing itself. What's next, antialiasing, particle based fluids and billowing smoke?

All this surely begs a mention when talking about iOS 7, since its an integral part of it, but to treat it as something new, revolutionary, evolutionary, worth mentioning in a series of long posts like it was the most awesome thing to come out of Apple, I just don't get.

Honestly, to me it looks like a campaign to improve the general feeling about iOS7, which in its forceful aversion to skeuomorphisms is being getting negative reviews on its appearance.

Isn't that what Apple does, though? The command line wasn't new when the Apple II launched. The GUI wasn't new when the Mac launched. Multitouch wasn't new when the iPhone launched.

Apple's skill has always been in packaging technology into products.

None of the basic elements here are new, of course, but their application at the core level of an interface that's going to be rolled out to hundreds of millions of people is certainly new.

All right, point taken. To be fair, I have not seen iOS7 working, just on videos, and I'm quite anxious to install it, but because of the new security features like activation lock and iCloud keychain, not because of the new physics effects.

Way to completely miss the point.

Think back to when the iPhone FIRST came out. The phrase used to describe it was "delightful" and I remember that delight and raving about it to my brother --- and this was with all the slowness and limitations of that first system.
What engendered that delight? A large part of it was the direct manipulation coupled with the smoothness of the animation and scrolling. There's a reason Android's first few years were defined by complaints about its animation and the implementation of "Project Butter" as a response.

iOS7 is essentially a rebooting of this idea. Delight, as before, but delight now based on the fact that what you're holding in your hand feels even more like a real physical object (not exactly of course, rather a cross between a real physical object and a fantasy). So as you rotate it in your hand, you see a parallax effect, like the real world. Objects can fall, bang into, and bounce each other --- like the real world.

These sound minor if you just listen to the words. They look a little better if you watch the video. But it takes truly rotating a phone in your hands to get how delightful they are.
Are they essential? No. They don't suddenly enable the phone to do something that was impossible before. But they make using the phone that much more fun. If all you need is "function" heck, buy an Android 2.2 phone --- smoother animation isn't "functional". But people don't buy things ONLY for function. If they can pay more, to get something that delights them, many will do so.

"Even the simple act of changing your wallpaper, has a very noticeable affect on the way you phone looks and feels."

Rene, In my opinion, you are lost as a technology blogger. You only praise and talk good things about Apple without really and conscientiously checking the other platforms. You're not objective anymore. I've steadily been following this blog since the good old days of 2009. You're not critic anymore. You only despise the other platforms without any real arguments. In this case, come on... what is that you call "dynamic UI"? nobody understands your "concepts". In its latest iOS version Apple - cleverly- took the best of some other platforms. No game changers here. I don't want to let you know what platforms I follow. In fact, I follow all of them. Technology is a very important part of my life (I'm a SW developer), but that's all. As a technology devotee, I just want a device that works for me, that makes my life easier. I'm a technologist, as you, but I'm also a consumer, An informed consumer. And you? You're a techonology blogger, and you should learn that as a blogger/journalist/media proffessional, you should learn to review the entire panorama. You should learn to be critic about the content you create, and more importantly, about yourself. Thanks!

well said, perhaps why there hasnt been any flaming, it was an honest two sided reply.

Apple has borrowed a whole lot. I also love all the platforms out there and what each does. Apple continues to create less and borrow(incredibly late) simple ideas and tasks.

After all, Rene, you do pick on Samsung continually for stealing and taking other's ideas, design and build. Lets just call a spade a spade when its due.

I'm pretty consistent on "copying". I detest lazy copying. Copying the way a Dock connector looks or an arbitrary Photos icon, as a designer, makes my skin crawl. Anyone doing that should be ashamed, no matter who they are.

Copying interface concepts, I think, is great. Standards have to evolve. It's why I don't care and don't complain about pinch-to-zoon or stuff like that. It needs to be copied. I wish software interaction was copied more for the basic stuff.

If all you're doing is looking at iOS 7 and seeing "white" or "flat", then you're missing out on iOS 7 entirely. Those things are a side-effect of the what's changed, not what's changed.

I also do not mind the copying, because as a user I get similiar experiences on any platform I choose. However Apple sues anyone borrowing anything, and that is what burns me about them. Dynamic it may be, but its also borrowed.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. You have no business advising Rene what he should or shouldn't say, nor to pretend to dictate the scope of his writings, you pompous, pretentious ass.

An audience always expresses its pleasure or displeasure to the speaker or performer. It is expected. It is their business.

What is no one's business is calling the audience pompous or pretentious for...being an audience.

Call them wrong. Ok. But provide reasons. The person you criticized had a far more thoughtful critique than you provided.

Horse pucky. I have every bit as much right to express MY opinion of others' opinions. "Thoughtful critiques" are HIGHLY overrated. They are merely thinly veiled (cowardly and covertly hostile) invalidations. My invalidating the "invalidator" to my mind is a "negative of a negative" which is a positive.

The FACT is that you "constructive critics" are in the minority, despite your delusions to the contrary.

Obviously, you, nor your fellow critics, were in attendance at WWDC where so much of the new technologies was revealed about iOS7. It's FAR more than its cosmetics.

There. Is that "thoughtful" enough for you?

I didn't deny your right to respond. I criticized the content of that response, a practice that you clearly support.

Thanks for your opinion! I wish it was closer to a reality that existed in our time and space, and showed even a modicum of familiarity with the work we do at iMore and the writing I've done here specifically, but I guess this is the internet and factual accuracy holds no bearing on comments.

It is kinda sad though that you want to personally attack me, but do it in such an obviously incorrect way.

How about disagreeing with my argument, and making an intelligent one of your own. This article is nothing more nor less than my opinion on Apple new direction in user interface. Do you have a different opinion? State it. Argue it. Raise the level of discourse.

Your comment is a bunch of bullpaddies (is that word? I feel like it should be a word). I challenge you to do better.

Argue the facts with me. Let's go.

I'm an iOS developer in training. I've been playing with the iOS7 betas, including beta 3, and I'm very excited about its new potential. I've also watched a few WWDC videos about it, talking about all the new frameworks and improvements. What's intriguing to me is how iOS 7 will apparently be so hard for competitors to emulate. To hell with litigation. iOS 7's copious use of white will simply make their batteries drain faster with their "big" displays. And their less-than-retina resolutions won't render type as well, etc. Ingenious!

Rene. Good article but I think you should go even deeper. To explain why the "dynamic UI" is important to technology enthusiasts, I think you have to go one step further and explain WHY a "dynamic UI" improves usability. You can explain why command-line interfaces are better than punch-cards. You can explain why windows are better than command-line interfaces. You have to explain why a "dynamic UI" is better than the current UIs.

My hunch is that the answer lies here http://ux.stackexchange.com/a/32879. The constraints of screen-size and fullscreen apps means that you need to hide and expose large portions of the screen often, without making the user lose their sense of orientation. To do that, you want users to associate the screens to real locations in 3D space. You want realistic movements between these locations.

Keep in mind that Apple for the most part has abandoned the overzealous translucent UI introduced with the first versions of Mac OS X. Eye candy without function doesn't stick.

"Dynamic Interface." Something that Apple's largest rival, Android, has had for awhile now. From a journalistic and stylistic point of view, it lacks depth and focus. All the basic mechanics are there as a writer, essentially making any argument that Rene is "lost" as a tech blogger invalid. However, the argument for being the first to a Dynamic Interface is weak. This is not a radical change in the abstract sense because it is not a surprise. This is what was expected from Apple - something that will keep them competitive. However, radical would have been doing something more than its rivals, going above and beyond that people didn't know that they wanted, but now want.

Did I miss where Android's UI transitioned to being rendered by a physics and particle engine?

Android has had dynamic wallpapers for a while, and Linux has had fully layered interfaces for over a decade, but putting these specific pieces together in this specific way for a mainstream operating system strikes me as absolutely a first.

Not that being first matters. Getting it right matters, and that remains to be seen.

This time the only 'new' things apple added, are transparency and parrallax feedback, wich are not revolutionary at all, but add something to the dynamic-layered sense you talk about (which already existed in a coherent form as you can see above).
What Apple really added, is what apple always manage to add and what makes apple still unreachable.
Marketing and shinefullness. Apple added the ecstasy that permeates your article and that promo video. The sensation that all works and is better, even if it already existed, and this time, even if it has quite big flaws (icons, typography, legibility..)
I'm not saying apple didn't do a great job adding that. Nobody else manage to do this. I'm just saying, don't run too fast and look through the marketing veil.

It was a beta. I don't personally get excited over betas, as they hint at what may or may not be included in the final product. When the final of iOS7 becomes available and is evaluated by both Apple fans and everyone else, then we'll see if it's the second coming of tech, or not. While there are numerous features in iOS 7 to be interested in, I'm primarily interested in Activation lock and how this will affect selling of my iPhone back to Sprint or trade it in at an Apple store if I go for the new iPhone (5S or whatever it will be called). Activation lock provides phone security that I haven't seen addressed on any other platform, so while the new candy coating and such is capturing attention and inspiring comments, it's the security of Activation Lock that interests me.

I am astonished to see that few people get to understand the idea of Rene Ritchie.

During the last couple of days I've been reading really troublesome feedback about iOS 7 and I'm getting more and more certain that Apple didn't get the message right or maybe the tech-site community messed it up somehow. I read about inadequate comparisons to WP and Android, about "flat" design and "simplicity"... Let me quote:

Michael Archambault mentioned in his article in the Windows Phone site that one of the few areas where iOS hasn't copied Windows Phone is transparency:

"Apple has added transparency to certain buttons and menus, such as the new Control Center. While Windows Phone does embrace flat design, it does not take use of transparency; the addition of which, I believe adds a hint of sophistication to its design."

What he and many others on the Internet fail to see, however, is that this "sophistication" in this case is much more than just a skin choice, transparency here is not an end in itself but a means to present a deeper concept - a dynamic spacious multi-layered OS.

Another misconception - iOS 7 is not flat, don't compare it to Windows Phone or to Android Holo - it's full of air and space. It's the airiest iOS ever and just as the author of this article pointed out - the most skeumorphic. Shadows still exist, gradients and sense of depth are still present. iOS is not the result of simplifying and "stripping-down". It's much deeper and more complex than that.

What I've seen so far from this OS makes me really impatient. I can't wait to buy my first iPhone this fall. I'm looking forward to seeing the concept behind iOS 7 gather recognition and understanding and see it evolve.

I have been using iOS7 for a week, and I m really pleased, even a simple task of changing the volume can be delightful, great use of translucency, blur, animation, parallax. Really excited to see other apple apps, how they are going to use this in garage band, pages etc. As it will then become the benchmark, and soon developer will follow, and some will evolve more, it has again make app development excited. An interesting phase for a couple of years to follow :)

i can't believe how much apple has shifted the paradigm, by thinking outside the box, and some other third meaningless praise i can't think of right now...hmm, oh yea, it's dynamic!!! the objectification and gamafication is so amazing.

/sarcasm

seriously though, this article is as vague and pointless as the video is supposedly use as "source".

a flood of fanboyism, not a drop of insight.

ios7 is pretty though.

Using words like "fanboy" make any intelligent discussion impossible. If you have specific arguments to refute what I said, make them. Step up.

if I failed to communicate my point effectively, demand I do it better.

But raise the level of discussion either way.

I disagree. You're right that fanboy is often used as cudgel, but i believe it's apt in this case. Your article didn't say anything. Don't get me wrong, you're an excellent writer rhetorically. But there is no substance here.

"Dynamic", "Objectification", "Gamafication"..."most liberating" (on your other article). These words mean nothing on their own, nor did you expand on what they should mean. You keep pointing your readers to the video which is even more vague, and oozing with sales pitch.

IOS7 is an excellent OS but it offers nothing that didn't already didn't exist in other OSes or even IOS6. You gush over the trivial superficial changes as if they've somehow reinvented UX.

I agree that fanboy can be used to shutdown conversation...but in this case, i think i've proven that my use of it was appropriate.

Agree that "dynamic," "objectification," and worst of all, "gamification" can mean whatever you or anyone else can want them to mean. Just filler terms.

But for developers, apparently, the iOS 7 changes are not "trivial superficial changes." They supposedly require an all-new storyboard in Xcode. You may not be able to update existing storyboards. So I'm half-dreading all that work.

ad logicam: This is the fallacy of assuming that something is false simply because a proof or argument that someone has offered for it is invalid; this reasoning is fallacious because there may be another proof or argument that successfully supports the proposition.

...and again, "fanboy" is not my argument, it is my thesis. one which i have proven.

Ugh. Rene said "gamification" again. Lazy, meaningless term.
Oh well. At least there are no Star Wars references.

Read the article, watched the video, read the comments. I've read books on UI design and have been using computers since before there were GUIs, and I have to say, I have no idea what you're talking about here. I see a few 3d effects (gimmicks, I'd say) and some transparency. Most of that was in Windows Vista. Is it that the parallax reacts to the gyroscope? How is that more revolutionary than a Samsung camera watching to see if your eyes are elsewhere? How about the Leap? I seriously just don't follow you. I'm all ready for the next GUI to come long, but I don't see anything close to that here.

Another case of pointing out something that has been done over and over again, but now that Apple is doing it, it's THE paradigm shift in innovation from Apple.

I have an iPhone 5 (with iOS7) as well as Android and Windows phones (developer). Apple IS taking a bold new direction, a bold new direction FOR APPLE!

If Samsung builds on an Apple innovation, it's a 'blatant ripoff'. If Apple builds on an Android innovation, it's "Apple reinventing the blah blah"

Once again, it's the typical hypocrisy from Apple fans.

If I turn my head slightly to the right, I can almost make out what this paragraph is trying to say, but there's this translucent layer of vagueness between its contents and its pronouns' antecedents.

"If you've paid attention to OS X, iTunes, and even some aspects of iOS over the last few years, some of what we're seeing now looks familiar in part. Taken together and expanded in whole, and made system level, it's something else entirely. Once again, obvious in hindsight because it was hidden in plain sight."

Edited to add: It seems written to make me feel like I should either "get it" or feel like a Luddite for not seeing what is obviously hidden in plain sight if I've been paying attention.

haha, clearly hidden in plain sight. it's really our fault for not paying attention.

seriously though, the author is a rhetorical wizard....if only there was substance to back it up. i think what he basically saying is that IOS7 is expanding design queues already used in existing Apple products (and of course non-apple products...but the author dare not mention)...and made them system-wide. By having done so, iOS7 now brand new, amazing, revolutionary, and of course, dynamic.

because having an apple is one thing, but having an entire basket of apples, now that's just amazing.

"There's no way to change something used by not only the most discerning developers and designers on the planet, but hundreds of millions of mainstream people without inviting push back and risking confusion. The alternative is stagnation. The only viable, sustainable solution becomes, when you decide to make a change, to really make a change. To leap ahead."

After reading that, I thought for a moment you where talking about Windows 8..

The damn icons are too large. The designs are fine, but the size makes them look fisher price IMO.
Hoping they go back to iOS 6 size, or maybe.... How about letting us set the size in settings!!????

The visual changes are welcome, yet i really feel apple missed the pulse of many concerning the allowing of users to customize the appearance of their iPhone. I like the ability to have alerts in the status bar. I like complete full screen browsing. I like to set any tone as a notification sound for any app. I like to change the way home pages flip. I like setting icon size.
I think a jail broken iOS 7 is going to be a beautiful mobile os!

I really respect Rene's thoughtfulness on most topics and wouldn't classify him as an Apple fanboy. He often has insights that slip right by most of the other tech pundits. He is definitely a fan of Apple, but through the other podcasts I've heard him on he is also a critic as well. I respect his opinion, even though sometimes I don't fully agree.

I do get the gist of what he is describing, the UI has more of an autonomous interaction with the "real world" that goes well beyond the light sensor adjusting the brightness of the screen. The parallax function is pretty cool eye candy. The transparency does connect the icons and menus to the background and lend a more cohesive design language. Whether these go beyond eye candy is yet to be seen, but I get the point Rene is trying to make that it could be an indicator of design influencing functionality in the future. To say that Apple is birthing a new dynamic interaction between the UI and the user is more than I would give them credit for. I think other companies are leading the charge with dynamic UI, albeit often clumsily. I was actually really surprised that Apple invested so many resources in the parallax functionality as it seems like it would be a huge system resource hog and not add any real functionality. It's cool, but at the same time a bit gimmicky?

I am really looking forward to the jailbroken version as well. There are just so many more things I was hoping they would address that are unchanged or actually downgraded. The icons are a mess in my opinion - to the point that I won't update until it's jailbroken. The beautiful Settings icon has been unjustly mangled to the point it's cringeworthy now. The Safari icon is almost as bad an embarrassment. The keyboard is OK, but not nearly as refined and user-friendly as others that are available. Bring on the jailbreak!

I am currently using ios 7 beta 3 on iPhone 5. I have watched this video over and over, and I noticed how much more transparent the notification center and folders seem to be compared to the way it appears on my iPhone. Is this just because it is in beta that it's not appearing more transparent as it does in the video?

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Look pretty good but I don't think I'm the only one who found that update quite late.... Come on it's been quite a while that the IOS was outdated... only a boring "Yet stable" app launcher. Anyways I still can't wait to try it correctly and see by myself.