On Monday, Apple released the third beta for iOS 7 to developers, which packed a subtle yet important change to the company’s mobile operating system: An updated default font.
The first two iOS 7 beta releases featured a brand new default typeface, Helvetica Neue Light for all on-screen text. This is a change from the Helvetica Neue (regular) typeface used in all previous versions of iOS. At larger sizes and in screenshots, Helvetica Neue Light is a great choice. It looks clean and modern. But at small sizes, the font becomes difficult to read.
Famed typographer Erik Spiekermann described the decision as a “youthful folly” and explained why it’s not a good choice for Apple.
Clearly, Apple is listening. This isn’t the first time Apple has responded to criticism from the community — contrary to popular belief, Apple is very plugged in to the conversation revolving around its products and by its developers. The company just doesn’t always publicly engage or respond to those conversations.
The decision to return to Helvetica Neue regular for standard text is indicative of Apple’s evolving process while refining its releases (Helvetica Neue Light is still used at larger sizes and for headings). Beyond the font change, iOS 7 has several other updates, mostly in the form of new icons and subtle menu redesigns.
As I wrote last month, iOS 7 is a big change for developers and users, as well as for Apple. This much is clear from the changes to the OS within just one month.
Let us know your thoughts on the evolution of iOS 7 in the comments.
Mashable composite; images courtesy of Apple