iPhone OS 1.0 was designed for a world that didn’t know smartphones and tablets would redefine our digital lives. It was all about making touch interactions obvious through visual cues and metaphors that could easily transition the user from the physical world onto the reality existing inside multitouch screens. Without a mouse or a physical keyboard, Apple’s best decision was to make iPhone OS 1.0 futuristic and advanced but at the same time reminiscent of its apps’ analog counterparts. The Notes app was a legal pad and the OS had buttons shaped like capsules. It had to be done, and it was amazing.
Six years have passed since iPhone OS 1.0. The tech world has changed, design trends have matured, and Apple has kept adding feature after feature to iOS, struggling to find physical metaphors to explain additions like Passbook and its player in the Podcast app. At what point do fun designs become an exercise for Photoshop skills and, overall, just gaudy and tacky? - Federico Viticci
Great review of iOS7 by Viticci.