Any time a well-used technology brand gets a makeover, there’s no shortage of strong opinions on the matter. When Apple Inc. revealed its new look for iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developers (WWDC) keynote in June, it was the first time the OS got a major graphical update since being released with the first iPhone back in 2007.

Apple designer Jonathan Ive presented a more colourful, simplistic, and modern approach to a familiar design. Apple’s iOS still features its famous grid of app icons, three-row QWERTY touch screen keyboard, and word bubble text message conversation threads. The icons look softer and are free of textured backgrounds. Calendar and conversation screens are dominated by white space and punctuated by the details a user would need.

As Gigaom’s Om Malik found out when he asked his Twitter followers about the new design, some loved it while others were more critical. Matt Galligan, the CEO of Circa, wrote; “Icons seem poorly designed and over-complicated. Not enough spacing. Color palate is extreme. Menus like Control Center seem cluttered.”

Crowdsourcing graphic design Web site DesignCrowd decided to have some fun with the iOS 7 unveiling. It challenged its 130,000 registered designers to reimagine what Apple’s mobile user interface could look like. So far there have been 56 submissions to the contest, some with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and others taking a more serious approach. Take a look at the slideshow above to compare the different designs to Apple’s original.

Apple is known for its uniform approach to user experience, and tight control of user interface in requiring developers to adhere to strict standards to gain entry to the App Store. But perhaps the DesignCrowd context shows Apple may want to offer the ability to skin iOS 7, so users could change up the look of their phones independently.

What do you think of the new iOS 7 design? Do you prefer any of the DesignCrowd approaches? Let us know in the comments.

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