September 18 spelt a day of change. Smartphone
and iPad devices were introduced to the iOS 7 update that hit the
digital world by storm - Blue Coat Systems stated that
after iOS 7 became available to download that Wednesday,
Internet traffic on Apple.com tripled to more than 13% for the
average customers instead of 4%. Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste
explained one of the reasons why,
"iOS 7 is getting such rapid adoption because
it's like getting a brand new phone instantly and for
3 SIDED CUBE cannot curb their excitement about the
change in the software, it has set a new groundwork for the next
generation of apps. The app developers at 3 SIDED CUBE feel as if
they have had new lease of life which has left them remarkably
excited for the future. iOS 7 is causing developers to re-think and
re-evaluate their apps so i did a little bit of undercover work to
find out more.
Before I start let's give everyone the low
down about why the two of you are significant members at 3 SIDED
Dan: Here at 3 SIDED CUBE I do a variety of things. My job role
is a designer but I am an all around creative, I tend to just be a
creative lead in regards to videos, wireframes, concepts, UI and I
do user experience as well. So it's a bundle of everything.
It tends to be anything creative you throw at me. Me and Phil
are both designers here so we tend to collaborate together as
Phil: At 3 SIDED CUBE i am a designer and iPhone app
developer but i am the jack of all trades. So i'll start a project,
i'll come up with ideas and stuff and remain involved in that
process, we'll take it to wireframe and planning and i'll follow
that process through, i'll help with the designs and help that
process and then when we start building it i'll help through that
process. Basically i'll do tasks from the start until the
The release of iOS 7 on September 18 is when
Apple gave birth to the beginning of a digital change. How long had
the two of you been aware about the release of iOS 7?
Dan: We knew about iOS 7 for about three months,
three and a half months maybe.
Phil: We'll it was announced at the World Wide
Development Conference, so we had known about it for a few months
now. So they basically hold an annual conference each year where
they announce 'hey, here's what's new with iOS, here's what's new
with iPhone and Mac' etc.
So was it just the two of you at 3
SIDED CUBE that knew about it until the release?
Dan: Well everyone in the tech scene knew about it because
basically we do something called the WWDC which means the World
Wide Development Conference which is held in San Francisco by
Apple. Phil went over to San Francisco for that so he was there
when they announced it live and everyone shat their pants because
they were so excited about it. It had all changed instead it was
bright and colourful. So yeah we had known about it for three and a
half months and i guess at that point it was when we started to
work out what our vision would be.
Phil: Well you enter and apply for tickets and
it's first come first serve so i was very lucky to go there this
Do you like it?
Dan: I at first was quite adverse to iOS 7 but
mainly because when they first released iOS 7 it wasn't in a
polished state. Basically they do it in stages. They'll release the
first beta and then they'll release the second one and then
eventually they will reach gold master, which is then released to
the public. So the first one they showed to everyone was sort of
released and it was a bit hit or miss, some bits were lovely and
others weren't so lovely. By the time we got to the gold master it
was great as the my design style is similar to what iOS 7 looks
So it's much easier for you to design apps
in a way? Because it's already in your style.
Dan: Yeah for me to design in iOS 7 it's very
similar to how i would design anyway and i am very happy that they
have gone down that route of kind of less texture and instead the
content is king. I really believe that content is an important
thing. The design in iOS 7 is more about how things work and how
they are presented whereas in iOS 6 it was more about the detail of
torn paper and basically thats something called skeuomorphism which
basically means they try to make things look real life. That's ok
because when iOS first came out people had never really used touch
screen devices in such a way so they made everything feel as if it
was part of the real world. Notes looked like a real notepad and
the calendar was like a calendar you would have on your wall so
when people were using these apps they were felt as if it was
something they were already used to. With iOS 7 people already know
how to use those things so they don't need a pretend reality
Had you planned anything in advance for the
release of iOS 7?
Dan: Yes we started designing for a few
different apps like the American Red Cross apps. We started to have
a look at how we could play around with iOS 7, what our limits were
and where we could take it. We kind of went from doing some like
crazy and extreme stuff that perhaps wouldn't work to things that
were too minimal. I was working on the ASPCA app and that was
basically the first time i actually designed a project in regards
to iOS 7. I spent a few days really analysing the apps in iOS 7
anyway because we have found that through our years of iOS 7,
Apple know what they are doing so it's best to follow native
examples because people would have already thought about these
things. The best thing to do is - i find - is that you take a
native thing that Apple already have already done and then work out
how could i make this better rather than starting from a fresh and
starting from a new. Why invent when it has already been
Which of the apps have you altered because
of iOS 7? Will you be altering all of them?
Dan: Yes all the apps will be updated to iOS 7
soon but it depends on the project. I think the one that will be
the most challenging is going to be the RNLI app because it is iOS
6 through and through. It's very textured and heavy so it will be
interesting to see where we will go with that. Phil will be
designing the app so it will be interesting to see where he takes
RNLI or whether we will keep it very similar because it is at the
end of the day a stylised app and we don't want it to loose
character just because of iOS 7.
Word on the street says that building apps
has become easier. Is this a true fact or is it a packet full of
Dan: I would say it is a packet full of hot air
because basically there are many packages that say that they can
easily make you a good app but it's still tough to find a package
that allows you to make a good website. Yeah you can make an app
but it doesn't mean it will be a good app.
The new interface has meant users find the
apps are more efficient to use. Do you agree?
Dan: I think that people at first that use iOS 7
are going to find it a bit hard and a bit different but after a few
weeks of using iOS 7 you kind of realise what an improvement it is.
iI think everything is a lot easier to do on iOS 7 but i do think
it does take a little while to get used to.
iOS 7 has a new flat design. Will you have a
design theme that screams 'I've been designed by 3 SIDED CUBE'
throughout all of the apps you make from now on?
Dan: With us we aim to design differently. In
the previous iOS, the thing that made us 3 SIDED CUBE was just the
little details that people might not notice but if they did they
would be like 'thats so cool'. For example in the RNLI app if its
raining you get little water drops fall onto the screen and if you
shake the phone you can cycle between the weathers and it will snow
and so on - its little things like that. So it will be interesting
to see where we go with iOS 7 and we will have to see what other
surprises we can put in.
Apple has increased the size of
its download limits on cellular networks to 100MB from 50MB. This
means you can make your apps double the size than they were before.
Will you be taking advantage of this at all?
Dan: Yeah sure, we can put more in i guess which
is always a plus. We preload our apps with content, some others you
download content when you connect to the Internet. We bundle
content in there so people can download the app and get using it
straight away which is what we like.
There is a new functionality that enables us
to briefly update data, even when an app isn't running. Do you
think you will be propelling some of your apps into the limelight
because of this feature?
Dan: Yeah what's great about iOS 7 is that it
automatically updates apps and it will definitely mean that we can
update apps without making such a big thing about it. Before when
you made an update you were not guaranteed that everyone was going
to download it and then everyone was on different versions whereas
now, with auto updating, people are put onto the version whether
they like it or not.
Before i go, Dan and Phil tell me what your
favourite feature is on the software? And something that could be
Dan: My favourite thing of all of the new
software is the blurring, i think its really hot and it blurs
everything. I really like it as it gives nice hints. Things that
could be further improved are some of the app icons such as the
Safari icon i am not a massive fan of and the stock icon as it is
too dark for iOS 7. Finally they have updated the clock icon so
it's in real time which has made me very happy.
Phil: I'd say the best bits about iOS 7 are the
dramatically changed visuals. Things are much cleaner and it's such
a departure from what they were doing before so I really like it. I
like the new kind of design principle as well. Like if you look at
the calendar app it is really clear, if you start at the year view
it kind of zooms into the month view and then into the day view.
There's a sense of place about where you are throughout the system.
When you zoom out of the app it goes onto the icon you were just on
so you never really loose where you are. I think it's really clear
to a user and most times they will think 'oh i haven't gone
anywhere, i'm just here' so theres a real sense of place and that's
the thing i really love about iOS 7. There's been a departure from
the use of icons and instead they use text everywhere and i think
sometimes it can be too text heavy but i think that will be
something which will gradually improve over time as the design is
Dan said it used to be quite 3D and quite
textured compared to the current flat design. Is the flat design
something you favour? Or do you prefer the textured
Phil: Well the textured design is called
skeuomorphism. Both have their kind of purposes, so the original
one which is called skeuomorphism, like each app looked distinctly
different from the last one so like if your mum was using it or
something you would say go to the app that looks like a notepad and
she'll know what you mean because it looks like a notepad. But
Apple has kind of moved away from that, now it's almost like taking
the training wheels off a bike. We've had the training wheels on
for a few years now but people have become familiar about how to
use these phones now. Back in 2007 it was such a new thing and
people were like 'Oh my God, you've got a touchless piece of glass
and you've got to do all these things' so people needed a lot of
hand holding - alot of helping. Now, five years on people are used
to them so you can take the training wheels off. People understand
what they are doing now so there is no need for so much
obviousness. A lack of need for obviousness has meant Apple have
gone for a cleaner and less cluttered look.
So with the release of iOS 8, what do you
think we will see?
Phil: I think we will just see an evolution of iOS 7, it will
just be slightly different.