iOS 7 *


The most magnificent updates in 5 years brought us this totally different iOS 7. After introducing a lighter visual style, more usage of typography design and more gestures, iOS 7 still has a pretty bright future. As a mobile phone geek, I couldn’t stop screaming “iOS Rocks! Apple Rules!” You may think I will then study and flatter Jobs’ theory (oh Sorry, it’s already Ive’s).

NO, absolutely not! I do have to criticize the new iOS just because I love it so much!


Launcher icons are the part that hurts me most. Not sure what’s your expression when seeing the home screen of iOS 7, let me tell you mine, completely no expressions at all. My mind was totally freezing, and my face was even whiter then the background of Ive’s famous keynote videos where he talked about purity and simplicity. It took me 5 minutes to start thinking again. And “What the heck is this?” is the first question lingering in my head then.

Let’s talk about the color scheme first.


The figure above shows the iOS 7 icons

We know for sure that color is an important element to keep consistency within a set of icons. But iOS 7 launcher icon set is totally a bad case. The choose of colors looks so random to me, for instance, their are 13 icons contains blue color in the figure above, but I can see no connections between them. App Store (B1) and Safari (A2) uses vertically bright to dark gradient, but B1 is rgb (8,224,251) → rgb (30,77,239) while A2 is rgb (2,231,255) → rgb (11,65,241). And in the meantime, Weather (A4) and Mail (B4) uses totally reversed gradient, their gradients are vertically dark to bright. A4 is rgb (27,115,239) → rgb (124,231,251); b4 is rgb (30,77,239) → rgb (8,224,251). For the rest blue icons, Reminders (d2) is rgb (0,171,251), Stocks (b5) is (45,171,255)…

Many people may tell us”why does it matter? I think these vivid colors work fine, they are quite vigorous and never sticking to a dead guideline”. I have to agree with that, the consistency of color is not a critical issue. iOS 7 didn’t choose to use a fixed color scheme and that indirectly causes the chaos result.

Next, let’s go down to the choice of colors. It’s really hard to understand why a group of professional designers will use such high-saturation colors. Let’s see the colors I picked from iOS 7 launcher icons.


en….These colors look so fashionable and young when put together,I’ve heard some explanations said:”high-saturation colors are trends for the young, Nike’s fluorescence shoes, underwaist and Fuel band are very popular, right?

And I say:“Fuck off you stupid trends!
Only those who don’t know about design could come up with these conclusions. Nike’s clients usually use their products in night, and the fluorescence colors are more safe so people love them. But launcher icons are for our eye in almost all environments and occasions, and they are displayed on screens. The only reason these icons are real is that Ive’s got eye diseases.

And then the shapes.

According to the HIG,App icon sizes will be adjusted to 120×120(iPhone) and 152×152(iPad). And the shape of the icons are no longer simple rounded-corner rectangle. And about the exact form of the new shape, I found lots of discussions and reverse engineering. We all wanna figure out how to draw the exact shape from scratch, for example you can a thread on Zhihu What exact is the shape of iOS 7 icons?
Sadly, so far I haven’t seen a totally convincing result. Even the best try still looks different from the actual icon. From what I understand, the continuity curves (Continuity)are widely used in industrial design, but none of main-stream graphics software can easily help us draw it. No simple solutions means unpredictable results. Some icons likeEvernote FoodSmartr ContactsSyncSpace Free)can’t look great when they don’t have the accurate icon outline. You will believe that when seeing many current 3rd-party icons showing on iOS 7 home screen. But of course Apple will release a set of templates when iOS 7 officially releases to solve it. But that will be 2 different sets icons for iOS 6 and iOS 7. How can this be related to “Simplicity” which shows up in iOS 7 promotion video for a million times?

Except shapes, let’s see the new grid system.

Look at the right part of the title image, it’s the new icon grid system that Apple introduced in iOS 7 videos. In the icon chart above, C1, D1, A2, A5, C5 apply the circle in grid system quite well, they look very consistent, Apple did well to follow the grid system but the awkward part is the grid system itself. I don’t know how Apple come up with this grid, to me the outer ring is way to big, you will find that Safari, App Store and iTunes icons feel a little hollow and that is because the circle is too big and very close to the edges.

Lastly, please please tell me that are the contacts, game center, Reminders icons really best choice you’ve got?

n a word, the iOS 7 launcher icon updates are really poor comparing to the OS itself and the quality are not even close to the usually Apple standard. I watched“Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview” and let’s end this article with the words that Jobs commented about Microsoft:

“So I’m saddened—not by Microsoft’s success, I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products. Their products have no spirit to them. They have no spirit of enlightenment about them. They are very pedestrian. And the sad part is that a lot of customers don’t have a lot of that spirit either.”

Some opinions from the internet:

2013-6-11 20:01 @leongao No, we can’t ignore the ugliness of the launcher icons just because of its other advantages, and we also can’t take it for granted just because normal users don’t care. iOS 7 is still great, many part of it is quite different to Apple’s traditional aesthetics. It could be better.

2013-6-12 19:00 @hxflyer I’ve seen some videos of iOS 7, it feels like Steve spent a whole life painting a fascinating picture of a beauty, but just after he died, someone just added a penis on that beauty! And in the face!

2013-6-12 00:38 @向若珲 I really can’t stand someone’s explanation of the ugliness, it’s just ugly, not about treads, not about interaction mode, not about any stupid things you mentioned to described behind its principles and humanities. It’s just ugly! unacceptable ugly! They totally can do it nicely and don’t violate principles, they just didn’t.

2013-6-11 17:59 @Livid Still a few months to the release date, optimistically, they’ve got so many talented designers, quite enough to re-design a few rounds. But this initial version is really annoying, colors are way to vibrant, so flat but using too much gradients and textures, and why do they use a quite sharp setting icon? Looks so awkward!

Other articles about iOS 7

What’s Wrong With the iOS 7 Icons? -Ian Storm Taylor
Wrong -Neven Mrgan

My best friend, JJYing helped me translated this article into English, THANNK YOU! BUDDY :)


  1. Ray says:


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