Why is this Orange?
After updating to iOS 6.1 the other day I noticed a jarring change, one that simultaneously couldn't be smaller and more confusing. Apple changed the lock screen airplay icon to orange when it is actively streaming instead of blue.
Now this small seemingly insignificant change is anything but. Every single other system menu highlights blue when it is selected and it has been that way ever since iOS was created. It is so universal that most apps even choose blue as their highlight color just to be consistent with the iOS color scheme. Even the very same airplay icon highlights blue when the device is unlocked
So the real question is why. Why would Apple take something that is consistent and make it inconsistent and confusing. I say confusing because that’s genuinely what it is. I’m certainly not a design expert but I do know that orange is in the red family and red means bad. It has lead to at least one person thinking that airplay is not working simply because the icon is orange instead of blue (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4425574?start=0&tstart=0).
If this were any other company I would say that it was a rogue programmer or a whimsical management decision, I mean at one point Android had two completely different ways in which to copy and paste text. In contrast I have the overwhelming feeling that if this change came out of Apple there was a clear, coherent, and tactical reason. Is this a glimpse of iOS 7? Could it be Jony Ive’s first software design decision? Why did I choose Etta James for my screenshots?
What do you think?