Why iOS 7 will go down like a lead ballon
I recently showed a fairly typical user my iPhone running iOS7 (they didn’t know iOS 7 was coming out soon). They just laughed and said “They’re not doing that to my iPhone!”.
It’s just over a week until iOS 7 will become publicly available for the first time and I feel compelled to write this blog post as a warning of the events that are about to unfold. This will make Apple’s mapping software fiasco last year look like a company success.
Apple has misunderstood the market
I don’t like writing blog posts that find fault in companies, especially successful ones, but in this case I feel that Apple has completely misunderstood the market place. It isn’t a secret that Apple has some of the most passionate technology fans in the world; but are these fans the real users of the end products? For the last few years they have been calling for a new design and at last Apple has obeyed. The result though isn’t really what people were expecting. If the technology fans don’t like it, imagine what the average user will think. They like their iPhone’s the way they are.
Image courtesy of The Verge
How much of the market do these Apple fans really fill? I’d be surprised if it is as much as 1%. The other 99% don’t really care about design and focus on the functionality of the device. Put simply:
People don’t like change
We have seen plenty of examples of big changes that have been met by end user outrage. Remember when Facebook introduced timelines and YouTube changed the channel design?
This is what Facebook will look like soon.
Image courtesy of Facebook
These changes could now be argued were for the better, but it took people a long time to adjust. Changing the design of iOS is on a scale of change we have never seen before. People use it everyday and rely on the functionality of their phones for their daily lives. When iOS 7 is released, there will be no instruction manual and users won’t be able to downgrade. The technology fans don’t have any fear in pressing buttons and seeing what happens. The other 99% of users don’t think this way.
People will get confused
Apple claims that iOS 7 is easy to use but I think they have seriously over estimated the average users ability to determine how to achieve simple tasks. The image belows some of the common tasks I believe are going to be completely confusing to the average user. Don’t laugh, they are easy but only when you know how.
So never change the design?
I’m not saying that technology companies should never change the core design or features of their products, but let the user choose the right time. Put it this way, “You wouldn’t want to your house to be decorated without your permission”. Apple are going to practically force you to make this change and then won’t let you switch back.
What will happen?
Good question. I don’t think protests outside Apple stores is a far fetched suggestion. I am certain there will be a public outcry and without a doubt a loss of customers. Last year people waited until Google brought out a version of Google Maps before updating to iOS 6. A simple app isn’t going to solve the problem this time around, so version segmentation will almost certainly occur.
We’ll just have to wait and see. What do you think? Leave a comment below.