Luckily, things like icons, colors, and typography are easier to iterate than userflows, information architecture, and features. They’re also the elements that take more time than expected to craft, so I can see all of these refinements being the most likely to be cut from a tight deadline, and the first up to be revisited by the design team before the official release, or quickly thereafter. If that awful Safari icon bugs you, imagine how the designers at Apple must feel.
Some elements sure didn’t feel as round, complete and perfected as they could be. But it’s also software which is a lot cheaper to iterate on than using hardware. And perhaps Jony Ive is trying to offset the timelessness of the hardware devices with more fashionable, temporary and current ‘wallpaper’. Not design. Design is how it works. This needs to work, be flawless and intuitive. Gestures and workflow can’t change every year. But the icons could be updated and match the current fashion trend every so often thus giving you a phone that’s always hip, always on, always new and fresh.
I’d like that. The same way I enjoy that neon is back in trend.