Edit: My take on iOS 7 has changed a great deal since looking at the beta. See my full review of the final release, it might surprise you. iOS 7 has turned out to be far better than I expected. Plus, there’s a slew of new features that make it a worthwhile upgrade.
Please note that what follows is not a review of iOS 7, nor should you interpret it as such. It’s just a bit of commentary about the iOS 7 beta laced with some magnificent hyperbole, a few politically incorrect observations and a heaping spoonful of subjective interpretation. Read on at your own risk. If you sensibly prefer not to then you can go here and do some shopping. You’ve been warned…
Apple has released a beta of iOS 7, and I couldn’t resist snagging it with my Apple developer account. I was actually quite excited to check it out first hand rather than just go by what I saw in the WWDC keynote. Unfortunately, it turned out to be worse in some respects than I’d anticipated.
When I first got it installed, I found myself really liking it in some ways. The Control Center, multitasking, iTunes Radio, Safari improvements and some other stuff were welcome and useful. I enjoyed using these new features because they added real value to iOS 7.
But my eyes!!! It felt like someone had dragged a cheese grater across my eyeballs when I saw the iOS 7 home screen, with its horrendous icons that looked like they were designed by Lisa Frank! Yes, the iOS 7 beta comes perilously close to looking like Lisa Frank’s “Stuff Girls Love” site.
iOS 7 Beta Designed for Giggling 13 Year Old Girls
The minute that you enter the iOS 7 beta home screen, you realize that it has been designed for a gaggle of giggling 13 year old girls. Most of the icons are a mishmash of pastels that exude emotionally incoherent inconsistency. Some of the icons use gradients (camera, weather and messages) and shadows (the settings icon), while others have a more flat design (newsstand, compass and stocks).
The color scheme is almost unbearable if you’re someone that appreciates the stronger, richer and more detailed icons in iOS 6. The first time you see the iOS 7 beta icons, it feels like somebody set your eyes on fire.
iOS 7 Beta: Masculine Versus Feminine
There’s a real gender issue with the iOS 7 beta icon color scheme. They practically ooze estrogen! The manly, solid colors and design found in iOS 6 have been chopped off as viciously as Lord Varys’ manhood in Game of Thrones. In short, the iOS 7 beta is a kaleidoscope of obnoxious colors that overwhelm most male eyeballs, while bathing the user in a sea of soft, vapid nothingness. The icons also offer precious little in terms of informational value (see the Game Center icon below).
If this is Jonathan Ive’s work then it seems pretty clear that Scott Forstall was the alpha male at Apple. Or maybe it was Steve Jobs, or Jobs and Forstall together who put a masculine stamp on iOS? Either way, it’s pretty clear that iOS has totally lost its mojo in the iOS 7 beta. What exactly does Ives have against men, anyway? Couldn’t he at least offer us a choice in icon theme colors?
If you look at the icons side by side in the image below, it’s clear that the ones on the left are testosterone-based with strong, manly, dark colors while the ones on the right float in an estrogen-addled nightmare of gaudy colors. Did we really need fluorescent green Messages and Phone icons?
The Emasculation of Game Center in the iOS 7 Beta
Speaking of the lack of testosterone, Game Center has become a total eunuch. Some people complained about the green felt look in iOS 6, but at least that had a masculine feel to it. It reminded me of playing pool at a pool hall, or going to a casino at night in Las Vegas. It felt like you were going to a place that would welcome guys, and that you’d have a good time there.
But now? The Game Center icon is…bubbles. Yuck! First of all, what do bubbles have to do with gaming? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Second, gaming is known as one of the few communities that is still mostly masculine in its perspective and sensibilities. So what was Apple thinking by gelding Game Center like this?
It seems pretty clear that Johnny Ives and his designers have ZERO knowledge about the sensibilities of gamers. I suspect that none of them is a gamer, and probably could care less about inflicting this watered down version of Game Center on male iOS gamers.
This iOS 7 beta utterly removes the masculine energy of Game Center found in iOS 6. The Game Center icon went from exuding the promise of action and fun, to meaning absolutely nothing whatsoever.
And when you tap the Game Center icon? You get…more bubbles! Ugh, ugh, ugh. Floating, shimmering bubbles that make you feel like you’ve been checked into a sanitarium and pumped full of some mind-altering drug that leaves you hypnotized as you gape helplessly at what Apple did to ruin Game Center.
No Spaces for Men in the iOS 7 Beta
There’s an excellent new book called Men On Strike (written by the brilliant Dr. Helen Smith) that covers many issues related to men’s rights (see also The Spearhead, the Red Pill on Reddit, the Men Going Their Own Way forum and A Voice for Men for additional men’s rights articles and discussions).
One of the sections of Dr. Smith’s book talks about the lack of spaces for men in our society. She notes how most typical male spaces have been either feminized outright or invaded by women, with little or no regard given for the need for men to socialize with one another without women being allowed to intrude.
This, of course, does not work the other way. Dr. Smith mentions how women are still allowed to have their own spaces, totally free from men. And any man that would dare to try to participate in a woman-only space would be condemned as an insensitive brute, with no regard for the well-being of women. Yes, it’s a massive and blatant double standard that needs to be fixed.
That got me thinking about the iOS 7 beta, there really is no male space in it. It’s an almost exclusively feminine experience from top to bottom. This wouldn’t be so bad if there were alternative icon themes and colors that men (or women who didn’t like the default option…you just know that there will be some women who dislike the sheer gaudiness of iOS 7 too) could choose.
But it doesn’t look like Apple is planning to offer that option any time soon. Would it be so difficult for Apple to let us pick a different theme, with different colors?
Femininity in and of itself is obviously not a bad thing (no more than the idea that masculinity is a bad thing), but it becomes negative when it totally crowds out masculinity in a product like iOS 7, to the detriment of both. The iOS 7 beta looks like it was designed exclusively for women, and that’s not going to be a good thing for Apple’s iOS device sales to men.
I wonder if Apple is aware of any of this? Did they give any thought at all to how iOS 7 would be perceived by a lot of men? I doubt it. If they had then they might have at least offered an alternative color scheme in the Settings app.
Note that I’m fully aware that some women might argue that iOS 6 was too manly. Fair enough, but you had your chance ladies. You should have spoken up about it earlier on. Or maybe some of you did behind the scenes and Apple listened just a little too well and thus we got iOS 7?
Final Thoughts About the iOS 7 Beta
It remains to be seen what the final version of iOS 7 will look like, Apple still has time to change the icons and color scheme.
But, if past history is any guide, it’s unlikely that there will be much in the way of refinement. It’s much more likely that what you see today in the iOS 7 beta is more or less what you’ll get in the final release.
If that’s the case then I’ll probably be sticking with iOS 6 for as long as possible. It’s much more comfortable on my eyes, and it still works very well even if it lacks some of the new doodads in the iOS 7 beta. I can get by with iOS 6 for a long, long time.
Of course, the possibility always exists that one of my iOS devices might die and need to be replaced. But even then I still have the option of buying a replacement device that will run iOS 6. Not to mention Android and Windows Phone, neither of which have been overly feminized in the same way as this beta release of iOS 7.
Yeah folks, the iOS 7 beta really is that bad visually. I suspect that some of these changes to iOS will have a lot of men (and even some women too) running for the exits to Android or Windows Phone, if the final release looks the same as the beta.
What’s your take on the garish icons and overly feminine design of the iOS 7 beta? Tell me in the comments below.