Thursday, February 20, 2014
iOS vs Android
Apple completely rethought the design of its mobile operating system. The calendar has no fake leather, the notes app has no legal paper, and icons are flat as can be. But unlike Microsoft - which took flatness in Windows to such extremes as to make it nearly impossible to differentiate among the icons and windows - Apple balances the two-dimensionality with subtle 3D touches, such as wallpaper that shifts as the phone does and clever movements of icons alongside their windows in the multitasking view.
The place where Apple borrowed most from Android is the lock screen, which is now slider-free and features Android-style moving wallpaper. As usual, Apple's typefaces far outdo Android's aesthetically: The crisp yet limp curves of the Android numbers look like a cheap Microsoft copy of an Adobe typeface, while Apple keeps it simple and slim with a light version of Helvetica.
Apple still forces users to fill the app grid line by line, unlike Android, which allows users to place icons wherever they want. But with new flat icons and a translucent dock, the effect doesn't feel as constricting as it once did. And seen next to the clean iOS icons, Android's look simultaneously clunky and shrunken.
Compared to the Google calendar, left, Apple wasn't doing too badly with iOS 6. But in the new OS, we get a complete, and welcome, redesign of the app. The key piece Apple didn't change is the typeface, Helvetica, which was probably the strongest design element of the iOS 6 calendar. Gone are the fake leather and stitching, leaving a delightfully simple new version.
With Control Center, Apple users finally get shortcuts to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other settings (including a flashlight that will almost certainly kill off third-party apps) - something Android users have long bragged about. The functionality is almost the same in iOS and Android, but Apple maintains a clutter-free design by keeping notifications in a different slide-to-reveal menu. Here, the translucency Apple is pushing is clear. It's effective and eye-pleasing for the most part, though if you have a light background some of the text can be hard to read.
If you can't see why iOS is better designed here, then you're probably an Android user.