No Metro: iOS 7 Will Not Have Square Icons

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Remember that iOS 7 video we showed you earlier today? It’s one of dozens of iOS concepts. While it may be one of the most thought through and polished concepts seen yet, there’s a very critical detail that simplyzesty missed. One that John Gruber of Daring Fireball oh so kindly pointed out.

Imagine the hate that Apple would receive for copying Metro. Not that Apple doesn’t already get hate for the other counts of “copying” that many claim it is guilty of, but many would be left unimpressed by a design that–regardless of its “modern” look–is aging. It’s not old, but it’s definitely not new.

Glimpses of the “metro” design language were first seen in 2005. The Windows “metro” interface screams Microsoft. I don’t mean this in a negative way, mind you, so don’t take it that way. I just think Apple can do better and, if they want to stay competitive, they need to.

And certain of Joyce’s details are oddly tone-deaf branding-wise. The shape of app icons is not going to change from round-cornered squares to sharp-cornered ones (or any other shape for that matter). Apple owns this shape; this shape says “iOS app” in everyone’s mind. It’s even printed right on the hardware home button of every iOS device. In fact it’s the only thing printed on the front face of every iOS device. And just look at the WWDC 2013 logo. (I’ve long thought we won’t see apps and an App Store for Apple TV until some future hardware revision of the product with a much-better remote control; it occurs to me now that that remote will surely have a home button with the universal empty app icon on it.) And his font choices — yikes. Frutiger (or whatever Frutiger-like typeface he’s using) makes the whole thing look more like a Windows Phone 9 concept than an iOS one.

The round iOS app icon is one of the most recognizable of all iOS branding. From the WWDC 2013 logo to all of the iOS devices’ home buttons, the rounded square is here to stay.

With that said, I would be inclined to propose that the screenshot you see above will be most like what we see in iOS 7. Gizmodo has done a great job of collecting all the iOS 7 concepts. Which of these designs do you think will be most like what we see at WWDC?

Post a response / What do you think?