Apple iOS 7: Why flat design beats skeuomorphism

Apple's iOS 7 takes the iPhone and iPad from fake to flat. Here why

Apple's new iOS 7 operating system for iPhone and iPad has been radically redesigned, abandoning the quasi-realistic or skeuomorphic interface of earlier editions of iOS in favour of a clean, flat, simple look. Here are my thoughts on why Apple - led in this direction by Sir Jony Ive - chose this direction for iOS 7.

Well, that was fun. It's been a while since Apple managed to spring some genuine surprises at a big press briefing - the company's secrecy levels tend to be tighter when releasing software, because it doesn't need to spill the beans to a bunch of naughty hardware suppliers - and the intake of breath when the WWDC 2013 audience got their first look at iOS 7 brought back happy memories.

One of the few things that the rumour mill was certain about, of course, was that iOS 7 would look as flat as a Dutch pancake, thanks to Sir Jony Ive's one-man war on skeuomorphic design: the little tricks that make a user interface look superficially like the 3D pages of a real diary, calendar or whatever. That theory was bang-on. But what do Sir Jony and Apple have against skeuomorphism? And why is a flat interface better?

For one thing, faux-3D design is horribly cheesy. More importantly, a software product as ubiquitous as iOS doesn't need to fake it. Perhaps early iPhone pioneers found the idea of a Calendar smartphone app baffling, and Apple needed to reassure them by making it look like the physical equivalent. But that time, if it ever existed, has passed. Smartphones entered the mainstream some time ago. The world is comfortable about playing games on a phone, and Apple doesn't need to trick us into thinking we're in a real-life casino.

We'll take an in-depth look at iOS 7's flat charms once we get a chance to play around with it - here's where our Apple iOS 7 review will appear. In the meantime, catch up on the launch details in our first impressions preview, which sits on the same page until the review is written.

[Related: Will I be able to update to iOS 7 on my iPhone? | Apple iOS 7 announced at WWDC 2013 | How to update your iPhone or iPad to Apple iOS 7 | Apple iOS 7 for iPhone and iPad preview & first impressions | Massive iOS 6 uptake is good news for Apple's iOS 7 launch]

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags iPadsmartphonestabletsAppleiPhonehardware systemsconsumer electronicsWD

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Price

Macworld U.K.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?