WWDC 2013 - Our Reaction, Part I

Future Workshops Team

Apple previewed iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks at this year's WorldWide Developers Conference. Four major years of stitching, leather and linen gave way to elegance and minimalism.

The team at Future Workshops had strong and varied opinions on the announcements.

Fabio (CTO)

"I loved the video that opened the keynote. Such a well crafted declaration of intent, a refreshing take on Apple's values compared to the old "intersection of technology and liberal arts".

The place in which these values have been applied most consistently is on the redesign of the photo app. That's a powerful example of how thinking outside the box should be done, and how user-centric design brings to a product of better value.

Apple has also been able to apply the same fresh approach to core technologies like memory management and disk-swap files. There's somebody in Apple constantly thinking 'there has to be a better way..', even at the kernel level!"

Jonathan (Programme Manager)

"The keynote brought a series of successively more impressive announcements from Apple.

OS X Mavericks is a clear incremental improvement with some great technology innovations and plenty of useful new functionality. The new Mac Pro is a phenomenally beautiful, innovative and powerful refresh, and definitely worth the wait.

And iOS7, wow! Apple smashed even my wildest expectations and delivered a new benchmark in mobile OS design and implementation. Google and Microsoft's finest have got some long shifts to look forward to! All in all, this is the most excited I've been by an Apple event since Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4 back in 2010."

Jay (Lead, Windows Phone)

"Adopting the new design must have been a humbling decision for Apple. This is probably what Samsung and Google felt when they first observed the rise of the iPhone. For the first time, Apple didn't pat themselves on the back for the trivial updates they've introduced in the last few years. I feel that Apple has finally grown up, and whole-heartedly acknowledged the existence of other platforms.

This release brings iOS on par with Android and Windows Phones in terms of features and UI. The consumer can now have a homogeneous experience in any platform they pick up, and this could only mean that Apps will start to look similar and design languages between devices will start to merge.

The layered approach feels unnecessary, as it will tax the graphics unit and harm the battery life without adding any real value. I am a bit wary of the muti-paradigm approach. Apple picked the most popular features for every other platform without carefully considering the subtleties of how they should tie in together. As a whole iOS does seem messy from where I stand, but I must use it to comment further. As a WP user I still see nothing that would make me jump ship."

Marco (UI Specialist)

"Today, Tim Cook told us, 'This is going to be the biggest innovation since the iPhone', and he was right. I can see the path, the long walk from 2007 to today. Despite my initial worry (above all, that we would miss the man who created Apple), I'm really happy and satisfied.

This year, two things were in the spotlight:-

The former is maybe the harder to achieve, the latter requires years and years of experience. Both of them require commitment, and massive amounts of attention.

Every year Apple releases something new, something cooler. This time they decided to reinvent the iOS user experience and they did a great job. They know people love to use Apple devices, they know how to establish, how to create this strong relationship.

Seeing the demos was an emotional feeling. I could see the attention, being always focused with what you do, with what you want to deliver. iOS 7 has the coolest new UI/UX patterns; less (maybe no) shadow, buttons with no border, blur, parallax, dynamic interfaces that change accordingly to the content. Everything works well, integrating seamlessly with the device, and the experience is awesome - just what we are used to. Thank you Apple guys, well done on a great job.

P.S. I really enjoyed Jony Ive showing us the process of creating the new icons - by finding the master grid on which to base all the icons. It might seem obvious, but it felt like a secret disclosed."

Cole (Designer)

"Today's keynote opened with a simple, resonant point: “Designing something requires focus.”

Apple in 2013 is a company working with a greater focus than it has in years. Design and engineering, hardware and software: these no longer feel like the silos they once were. Rather, it feels like all the company's limbs are finally moving in concert — to spectacular effect. Today was about more than minimal UI and market share; today was about what happens when you build brands and products based on people, not numbers.

Forget 'flat' — Apple is about functional, emotional depth. Which is why they remain untouchable."

You can find further reaction from the FW team in Part II