My ageing original iPad 1 is still going strong but has slowly been relegated from a work device to a kiddies play thing so it was time for a long overdue upgrade. The original iPad isn’t supported in the latest OS’s and so trying to test new iPad apps we’re designing at kc web design kent was proving a little tricky. I’d been reluctant to fork out for a new iPad this year knowing that a new iPad would arrive at the October Apple event so I’ve been waiting and waiting until now.
It was a tough choice between the new iPad Air and the retina iPad mini but having had a Nexus 7 in the office for a while now I decided that the small size was nice but not a practical for working on as the larger screen. The iPad Air seemed a great half way house as its screen is bigger but it’s considerably lighter than any other 10″ iPad.
What! No screen cloth!
As soon as the new iPad Air was available I grabbed one from the Apple store along with a case and it turned up at the kc web design kent studio a few days ago. It’s a lovely piece of kit – as you’d expect from Apple – and its size and weight feels perfect. The lightness makes it easy to hold and use and it really doesn’t feel much heavier in use than the first gen Nexus 7. One thing that was noticeably missing from the box though was a screen cleaning cloth! Every other Apple device I’ve bought has come with a cloth – even my giant 27″ iMac that we use in the kc web design kent studio has a small cloth! – so an iPad without one felt a little harsh, especially when paying a premium price. The stickers were there (I must have about 20 of these now and no idea what to do with them!) but now screen cleaning cloth – that’s a bit mean Apple!
I’ve not been a massive fan of iOS7 but I have got used to it now on my iPhone. There have been reports of it not working to well on the iPad but the iPad Air feels very nice. I think the ultra fast processor helps make iOS7 feel very fluid and tactile and whizzing around between apps using the multitouch gestures makes working very easy.
Having not used the old iPad very much for work over the last year or so at kc web design kent having the new iPad Air around and using it for more work related tasks feels great. It gets me away from the desk a bit more which is always nice! So, all-in-all it’s the perfect iPad – light, fast, slick and a joy to use. Just what everyone expected!
In our previous article – kc web design kent – Why I hate iOS7 – I spoke about the reasons why I didn’t like iOS7. Since that article there have been many more reasons not to like iOS7 and its many inconsistencies. Text padding and spacing still really plagues the OS in some very odd places such as when the wi-fi icon disappears and is replaced with the GPRS text. On my O2-UK network the GPRS text is almost overlapping the time. Buttons that would normally have had a border to even them out symmetrically now look very strange and misaligned. In the Messages app you sometimes get the Messages and Contact buttons (Can we still call them buttons? Aren’t they are now just text links?) on either side with a long phone number in the middle with no proper spacing between them so they all seem to merge into one long line of text. At least buttons with edges would have had a visible divider between each bit of text…anyway, before I get on to another stream of iOS7 bashing…
Why I LOVE iOS 7
Yes, I know it seems a bit strange to have one article called “kc web design kent – Why I hate iOS7” and another one called “kc web design kent – Why I LOVE iOS 7” but that’s just what iOS7 seems to be doing to people. Most, if not all, of my iOS7 hates come from a design and UI perspective. Because I am a web designer and UI designer I am being very over critical (Something Apple should have been as well!) on the design side but as with so many Apple products, design IS very important.
After using iOS7 for a few weeks at kc web design kent I am beginning to really like it (design gripes aside) and it’s the overall feel that’s really starting to grab me. In general use iOS7 on my iPhone 4s feels pretty quick and some of the new interactions are very, very nice. The OS feels sharp and quick but fluid and easy to whizz around. Everything feels in the right place (if not looking quite right) and there’s a fluidity and continuity to it that iOS6 didn’t have. Going back to iOS6 now feels a little clunky, like everything is a bit too solid and boxed. There is a lot I miss from the old OS but iOS7 has a lot to like. It’s not there yet though and I’d like to see some of the design and UI niggles fixed in the next big release, but overall, yes, I do LOVE iOS7!
That just leaves one more question though…what is iOS7 like on the new iPhone 5s? Where’s my wallet…
I hate iOS 7. There, I said it!
There’s been a lot of talk about iOS7 over the past few months and last week it finally launched. Lots of people won’t update yet but working in the web design and iOS design industry you kind of have to. So I did. To be honest I find it messy and cheap looking. The famous gradient icons just don’t seem to work in places especially on the dock with certain colours. The dock – annoyingly (why can’t we choose a colour for the dock?) – takes on an automated colour based on your wallpaper image and sometimes that colour clashes badly with the icon gradients making them blend into the background and look really nasty. On my iPhone only dark backgrounds seem to work well. Anything in a mid tone fights with the icon colours too much. And those folder icons are the same, they take on an automated colour that just doesn’t seem to work and they look a mess. With all the emphasis on nice transparent layers in iOS7 I would have thought that some transparency on the folder and dock backgrounds would have looked very nice.
Another thing that adds to the messy feel of the app screens is the padding around app names. A lot – far too many for my liking – of the app names on my iPhone touch each other. It’s as if there’s not enough padding on the grid and names are overflowing into each other. Now come on, any web designer knows that padding should be set so that grids flow nicely and text names don’t touch or overlap. On every project we do at kc web design kent its one of the THE most basic things to get right.
The icons on my phone look really inconsistent because many apps haven’t updated their icons to the new style. I guess this is only a matter of time and once developers update their icons it will feel more consistent but it shows that the new iOS7 isn’t very forgiving. Because of its very unique style anything that doesn’t use that style now looks out of place. Surely the iOS should facilitate a certain amount of freedom and not dictate what looks good. The old iOS6 seemed to deal with this a lot better and the vast array of different styled icons still looked ok on the screen.
And fonts, oh those fonts. I don’t actually mind the Helvetica Neue, it looks quite nice, but in some places the size is too small and the weight is very light. On some apps the icons at the bottom have text underneath and they’re barley readable. So many people I know that wear glasses find them unreadable. Again, this is basic design stuff and Apple should have got this right.
I know these seem minor gripes but as a web designer at kc web design kent I have to deal with and make sure these types of design rules are done right every day, and I make sure they are. Apple, with all that man power and money, could surely do the same. At kc web design kent I’m looking forward to working on our next iOS app design project so that I can play around with the new styles.
Lets hope some updates appear over the coming months that fix these teething problems. And on a brighter note, lets not forget that iOS7 is a huge update and a massive leap forward for the worlds leading mobile OS. When I think back to the first iOS it was revolutionary, but it had a lot of issues too. It took a few years and a few iOS updates for it to feel like a proper iOS and I feel iOS7 is the same. It’ll mature and grow over the next few years.