You’re not a designer. You’re not a developer. You don’t work for Apple. It’s a beta. It’s not finished. You shouldn’t talk about it. You shouldn’t have installed it. Wait until you have installed it to comment. You know they only had 8 months. The Internet is filled with commentary about why you’re not allowed to have an opinion on iOS 7. The level of disdain for folks who have authored an opinion, either in a forum, blog post or 140 character tweet is astounding, but is it justified?
Let’s review the facts. Apple has introduced iOS 7 in all it’s vivid glory on arguably the biggest stage in tech. WWDC sold out in less than one minute, with tickets and lodging costing attendees thousands of dollars. For tech press, developers and even enthusiasts, this is their Super Bowl and admission doesn’t come cheap. Apple used this stage to announce an update to the MacBook Air, Mac OS X Mavericks and the positively ass-kicking Mac Pro. They saved the biggest of announcements for last. iOS 7. If they had spent two hours talking about nothing but iOS 7, attendees would have left happy. This event has become the annual iOS state of the union and for good reason.
When it’s the big game, you go big. Apple did just that with iOS 7. This wasn’t shown to a handful of reporters in a hotel room. As with previous iterations of iOS, a bug flushing process ensues and in a few months it will be final, ready for public consumption. Commenting on bug issues publicly is unacceptable, but it continues despite what some have deemed a disposable NDA.
Why is that people are being lambasted for having an opinion on the homescreen and specially the icons? The big one I hear is, “you’re not a designer“. Speaking for myself, that would be correct. I’m not a designer. On occasion, I’ll play with fonts, Photoshop or the design of this site. None of it qualifies me to be called a designer. For Apple, I’m something much more important. See, I’m an iPhone user.* When I’m not in front of a computer, I’m on my phone, even it means hiding under a table while out with friends. I care about the design choices made by Apple and third party app developers. I’m not a designer or an engineer, but I have a rooting interest. I’m not a head football coach or a pro quarterback, but on Sunday afternoons, it’s in my right to scream for Jason Garrett to pull Tony Romo. **
WWDC is the biggest show of the year. Not CES. Not CTIA and not even E3. There is no bigger stage and the platform is used to discuss the annual release of iOS. iOS 7 represents the biggest change in software since the iPhone. As with previous years, it will change over the next three months. Some things will not. You shouldn’t have to be a designer, engineer or employee to have an opinion. Ultimately, this is the operating system of our future, the people who use their iPhones each and every day. Their opinions should matter.
* I use a number of devices, but my daily driver is often an iPhone 5.
** I’m actually a Romo apologist and would never call for his removal from a game.