It was hardly a secret that the look of iOS was due for a design makeover. Former iOS software head Scott Forstall was out, and Apple's product designer Jony Ive was in. Ive apparently winced when asked about the stitched leather look of some apps—it was obvious the days of faux texture were numbered.
Now that we've had a good look at iOS 7, though, it's clear that the departure is stronger than most people expected. This isn't a gentle de-stitching; it's a pretty radical overhaul.
When the iPhone debuted, there just wasn't anything quite like it. Yes, the idea of a screen as a phone wasn't solely Apple's creation, and no, it didn't invent the grid of icons on a touchscreen. Nevertheless, Apple was forging a new path, and it was its trail to blaze.