Making snap judgments before using iOS 7
Immediately after the WWDC 2013 Keynote ended with the grand reveal of the new design language by Apple, the internet is buzzing in response. However, it's these first glance judgments that frustrate me, especially those that are extremely positive or negative. The polished graphics and videos pushed out by Apple are simply one presentable vector, a singular, audience-focused perspective. To criticize or praise a design's function through this lens is a poor conclusion to make.
It's important to understand the internal calling of Apple's designers. Design is not about how it looks or what it does. It's about how it works. Over and over again, there was a distinct emphasis on the visual elements such as crisp Helvetica typography and cleaner iconography coupled with 3D, animated, and motion based gestures as well as the new utilization of screen space and presentation. These engineered and designed componenents work together to create the new iOS 7.
Reserving the "judge a book by it's cover" metric is essential because this design cannot be wholistically challenged without actually using it. You need to download it (if you are developer) or wait until this fall to interact with the new UI. You have to use it on an iPhone or iPad, not on a simulator. You have to carry the design with you, see how it plays and integrates in your life. When you perform the slide to unlock gesture on a moving train or play your music while exercising, it's in these activities that the design language will reveal itself.
The little intricacies and interplay of the elements are what makes Apple's new design language. I can draw the similarities to Windows Phone or Android but the visual coincidence ends there. My ultimate impression of the design language will be attained through day to day usage.
I look forward to fully-developing my opinion after I have used it.