Simple

iOS 7 and Apple apps engineered for iOS 7 are not “simplified” over their older counterparts. Instead they have be redesigned for a different platform, one that can scale. iOS was created at a time when touch-computing was mostly unheard of and apps could afford to be much simpler. However, that time has passed and Apple is building a platform for the future where touch is ubiquitous and interface is nothing but cruft around information and hence, must be minimized. Apps are already running on incredibly powerful and unbelievably efficient architectures like the 64bit A7 SoC. These apps need to grow and scale much further into becoming standalone solutions instead of a complement to powerful desktop apps. Ironically, desktop apps now need to be complimentary and follow along as users move to touch computing. You cannot go on piling things on top of architectures that were conceived with different goals or you get the likes of Windows 8 and MS office. When features are added to apps beyond the initial plan, they inevitably loose simplicity as those things must be jammed in into an interface that wasn’t designed to support all those features. You cannot steer or “adapt” design. You need to restart, from scratch.

Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.

That’s what Apple tends to do with these apps. These aren’t iOS7-ports or re-skinning efforts. iWork workflow has been completely rethought to work for users who are adopting touch as their primary medium. What is happening is that Apple is designing a content aware interface that can accommodate far more features than the old crufty one. It’s making them scalable for a future where touch, gestures and content-aware interfaces will be the norm. When redoing enormous apps in this fashion, one has to prioritize. All the features will never make it in the first cut or the platform won’t materialize until it is too late.

So, what you got wrong is this: the process isn’t to strip down features to make things simpler, rather to restart and create a platform where far more features and far more powerful functionality can be presented in a much more intuitive and accessible fashion. First step in the process is restarting from scratch and with constraints in mind, one can understand why these apps appear watered-down. Feature-loss is a temporary but practically inevitable outcome of such a process. And a process like this is the only way to ensure relevance as computing moves further closer into the human realm.

The cause isn’t a desire to simplify for it’s own sake and the effect isn’t stripped-down apps. The cause is the start of a new era in computing and the effect is apps which are much more flexible, powerful and scalable. This intermediate stage is just a temporary side-effect.

I’ll say, these are growing pains. Stop whining.