iOS 7 and Consumer Reaction

iOS 7 removes a lot of the glossy eye candy from iOS 6 and earlier. I’ve talked to some people and have some interesting reaction.

ios7logoI’ve spoken to some users about the upgrade and let them take a look at the new mobile OS on my iPhone 5, and reactions to it have been pretty consistent – most everyone is either disappointed or reacts violently to the new look and feel. Flat…is not good.

The negative reaction so far has been pretty universal. The UI is NOT what consumers are used to, isn’t what they’ve come to expect from Apple, and quite honestly, they don’t like it. At all…

iOS 6 and earlier contains a LOT of eye candy and skewmorphic design elements. iOS 7 removes about 99% of the glitz and gloss that most everyone has equated with Apple’s spit, polish and device finish. They eye candy is part of what made Apple, well… Apple. The new industrial, flat and enterprise friendly version of iOS 7 will provide users with some much needed and long overdue feature enhancements – Control Center, the redesigned Notification Center and the new and enhanced security features that will help prevent stolen iDevices from being sold at pawn and other resale establishments – THAT stuff will be welcomed, if not considered a bit late to the party.

The rest, from a consumer point of view, is the look and feel of the OS, or the UI; and if developers are criticizing the look and feel, and some are, then the reaction from the masses is going to be much louder and much more critical.

Yes, it’s very much the whole Who Moved my Cheese thing, but it’s a bit more than that. Apple customers are used to a certain level of finish when it comes their Macs and iDevices. iOS 7 removed a lot of that finished layer and flattened the 3D look of the OS.

In short, I think iOS 7, while technically a much better version than iOS 6, isn’t going to do Apple any favors. I think it’s going to bring a great deal more negative press, as the flat design isn’t be received well by those that I’ve shared it with, the development community or with the technical community whom may have had early looks since its introduction. It’s unfortunate, too, as there are parts of the OS that I really like – the new security and Control Center features I mentioned – but the look and feel of the OS… yeah. Not so much…

A for effort here, and a nod to Jony Ive for giving iOS a revolutionary, instead of evolutionary, update, but the redesigned UI of iOS 7 – Yeah… Not a fan.

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Windows 8 Adoption is Slower than Adoption of Windows Vista Was

If this isn’t a “V8 Moment,” I have no idea what might be…

There’s been a bunch of articles hitting the tech rags lately indicating that the current rate of Windows 8 adoption is slower than the adoption rate of Windows Vista was at about the same point in its release cycle.

Well, duh.

If that isn’t a “V8 Moment” (think of the V8 vegetable juice commercials, where people smacked there head out of “stupidity…”) I have no idea what is.

The major reasons why Windows Vista failed were:

  • The interface – Microsoft moved our cheese
  • XP adoption was still strong
  • Enterprise adoption didn’t take off

Unfortunately for Microsoft and Windows 8, the conditions the market is seeing with Windows 8 is either the same or much worse than with Windows Vista. I’m going to break it down, very quickly.

Graph Source: Net Applications via ComputerWorld

The Interface
Unfortunately for Microsoft, I think there’s more negative press with ModernUI than with the Vista version of Aero. The biggest problem with Vista was that MS changed where people had to go to get to most of the same functions they were using in Windows XP. What they were doing when they finally FOUND what they were looking for didn’t really change, though there were some updates to process, method, etc.

Unfortunately for Vista, the changes were considered so drastic that its consumer adoption tanked. People didn’t want to have to relearn what they were doing and those that were buying new PC’s decided to use Windows XP instead. Which brings us to the next point…

Previous OS Adoption
At the time that Windows Vista was introduced, Windows XP was still in very wide use. It was stable. People were comfortable and familiar with it, and most importantly, were productive at home and at work.

Enterprise Adoption
This was a foregone conclusion – enterprise adoption of Windows Vista wasn’t going to happen quickly, even under the best of conditions. IT Admins and managers don’t introduce unknowns onto their networks. They just don’t. They want tried, tested and reliable equipment, software and tools they know won’t fail or cause problems. At the time, Vista wasn’t it, and wouldn’t be for at least a year or more.

The problem with Vista’s enterprise adoption was that people weren’t willing to wait to learn where Microsoft had moved everything. Vista failed to gain any traction because it was considered too different in a sea of Windows versions that had evolved and moved users towards greater productivity.

Now let’s take a look at Windows 8. The interface is a more drastic change from Windows 7 to Windows 8 than Windows Vista was from XP, Windows 8’s touch interface also doesn’t work well with non-touch hardware.

Windows 7 is still very popular and very usable on laptops, desktops, slate styled tablets and ultrabooks. Windows 7 also hasn’t made it into the enterprise in many cases because of the upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7. You either need to jump to Vista (and pay a license fee to do so) or wipe the PC and install from scratch. Enterprise adoption slows to a crawl there due to the amount of heavy lifting and/or large cost to upgrade from XP (where many companies still reside) to Windows 7 or even Windows 8.

So what’s the bottom line here? Please don’t be surprised that Windows 8 adoption is slow. Please also don’t be surprised when Windows 8.x (including Windows Blue) is declared a flop. I am seeing a great deal of press on all of this and no one should be surprised.

Windows RT should be the tablet OS and Windows 8 should be a desktop/laptop OS. The Live Tile interface on the desktop doesn’t work, and Microsoft is being VERY stubborn about admitting it made yet another mistake.

My biggest fear is that I’m right about all of this. My biggest fear is that Microsoft takes too long to make changes to address the way its users work and it waits itself right out of business. I’m not saying it’s GOING to happen… I’m saying I’m afraid it might if someone at Microsoft doesn’t take control of how the ship is spiraling out of control…

If I were a shareholder, I’d be demanding changes be made…quickly. If I’m wrong, I’d love for someone to present convincing evidence to the contrary. I’m willing to listen…

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