The Past 100 Days

Today’s a big day.

With iOS 7 rolling out now, most iOS customers are seeing a deluge of app updates on their devices. I’ve seen 17 so far today, and that’s just on my iPhone.

In thumbing through these apps today, it’s amazing how much work and care the developer community has put into these updates.

Last month, I wrote about how I feared many apps would lose their personality thanks to the changes in iOS 7’s UI:

I’m looking forward to see what sort of creativity iOS 7 sparks within designers. Until then, I suppose, things will be a little more uniform than what we’ve all gotten used to over the last couple of years.

While a lot of apps I’m seeing today are staying close to the default look created by Apple, many, many developers have taken their existing look at personality and tweaked things to closer match the new aesthetic.

The result is that apps I’ve used for years suddenly feel new. Things that were once bound into boring lists are now free and bouncy.

I like it.

What’s really crazy is that Apple unveiled iOS just three months ago. It’s been a mere 100 days since developers saw the new UI, got their hands on the new physics engine and first encountered iOS 7’s font changes.

I mean, this GIF really tells the whole story:

Many of my developer friends have been up to their elbows in Xcode since, working to modernize what was perfectly acceptable code up until June 9.

I’m lucky enough to know many of the people behind my favorite apps. Over the last 100 days, I’ve installed countless beta builds of apps, watching developers change UIs and add features, racing to go public today.

(The developers behind Whisper even put a sticker in their app for my son, which is really, really cool.)

In addition to updates, today marks the introduction of many new apps to the iOS App Store. These apps are almost all iOS 7-only. Clearly developers believe that if they take advantage of some of the new technology available today, they may be able to take a foothold in what may have been a market previously locked-up by a competitor.

Their work has paid off. Today, iOS 7 shines not only because of the work put into it by Apple employees, but the army of third-party developers who make their living on Apple’s platforms.

While some developers have release updates as paid, separate apps, many people are giving away their hard work for free. I know Apple probably isn’t going to add paid upgrades to the App Store at this point, but the company should. While I have no problem with paying for an app update, I understand I’m in the extreme minority. Looking at my revised home screen today, I think that’s a shame.