My take on iOS 7

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I’ve had a chance to check out iOS 7 on an iPod Touch for a few days now and I thought I’d add my notes here. Since buying my first Windows Phone last year, I’ve loved how simple and unified the experience feels. Android continues to have a designed-by-committee style—even with the influence of Matias Duarte, it continues to be a bit of a mess. So, as far as I’m concerned, from a design perspective, there are only two relevant mobile phone OSes—iOS and Windows Phone 8.

Comparing the two might seem like it makes sense on the surface. Apple wholeheartedly bought into the so-called skeuomorphic design with prior iOS versions. The wood grain, stitched leather and green felt diminished the overall experience, undermining any decent UI work going on in the OS. Some apps, famously, went far off the deep end. The voice memos app displayed a big microphone instead of giving users more useful information, and the podcasting app looked like a 1970s reel-to-reel tape machine—something that most iOS users have probably never seen outside of the movies.

iOS 7 is supposed to clean up the mess left behind by Scott Forstall’s cronies. Steve Jobs might have been a fan of the style, but let’s remember that he also thought the iPod Hi-Fi was good enough to replace his primo home audio system. It’s the first effort from a team headed by Jony Ive.

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Surface, fanaticism and Steve Jobs

In the wake of Microsoft’s Surface announcement, some have lauded the company for a commitment to truly turning themselves around; others naysay Microsoft’s effort to enter the tablet marketplace.

I, for one, think this is great. Microsoft is making their strategy clear without the help of their OEM army. They’re blazing the trail for their licensees to create similar devices using their model. RT and ARM for the low end, 8 for traditional devices and x86 tablets. Microsoft’s own Surface has chosen a unique tablet form factor and demonstrates clearly that there’s still innovation to be had within the space without being a total Apple copycat.

It shows Microsoft’s commitment to their vision doesn’t go only as far as to instruct others. They are putting their own reputation on the line in order to communicate the story they want to tell with Windows 8. They’re leveraging years of research and development to make a splash with their very first true computer devices.

But, to borrow a phrase from the internet, haters are going to hate.

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