iOS 7 may spoil the Apple bunch10/23/2013
In the shadow of the release of the newest iPhones, Apple unleashed on its users something even bigger, the seventh iteration of its mobile operating system (iOS). Every iPhone, iPad and touch screen iPod was given the option to upgrade to iOS 7 earlier this month, and hardcore Apple users were practically counting down the minutes until they could install the update. Based on the sheer number of users who installed the new operating system — about 200 million in the first week — you’d think iOS 7 is a slam-dunk success. However, Apple’s latest user interface is quickly falling prey to the tech plague where nothing’s good enough.
Redesigns and interface overhauls are unavoidable. While design fashions go out of style, technologies become outdated and competitors push the envelope of innovative features, the real problem is the belief that tech companies see themselves as sharks. A common, not-entirely true belief is, if sharks stop swimming, they drown. Conversely, many believe if a tech company stops innovating and re-inventing its product, it, too, will drown. New products have the potential to bring in new revenue, but re-inventing old products has the great potential to anger a lot of users in a hurry.
The complaints with iOS 7 focus on the new app icons, which are too flat, the colors are too dull, the non-stop animations are pointless and, for some, nauseating. Such criticisms are well-founded but not enough of a concern to host an iPhone burning party. Apple simply got ahead of itself and its user base. The same thing happened to Yahoo! years ago. Before Google conquered the world (Wide Web), Yahoo! offered a host of products not too different from Google’s current offerings. The problem was they were ugly, bug-riddled and didn’t work together like Google’s. Yahoo! is still battling the digital Kmart perception of being a disorganized horror show.
Will iOS 7 be the worm that rots Apple’s hardened user base? Doubtful, but ease of use and attractiveness were the two areas where the iPhone was unquestionably dominant. The real trick is whether Apple can shake off its stubbornness and address the issues, or will it stand firm, cautioning prospective customers from purchasing its products. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.