Helvetica Neue

Apple gives iOS 7 a Neue look

July 9, 2013: 5:25 PM ET

Developers praise Apple's willingness to take their feedback to heart.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Arment at the computers where he created Tumblr.

Arment during the Tumblr years.

FORTUNE -- Can you see the difference between the two paragraphs of text above?

The top one is set in Helvetica Neue Light, the system font Apple (AAPL) chose for the beta version of iOS 7 released at its developers conference in June. It was widely criticized as too hard on the eyes.

The bottom paragraph is the system font in the beta 3 version of iOS 7 that Apple released Monday.

Asked whether he really believed that "bloggers bitching" had anything to do with the change, one of the most prominent bitchers -- Marco Arment, the co-creator of Tumblr and the creator of Instapaper and The Magazine -- answered "Absolutely."

"To understand why," he continued Tuesday in a post titled Effecting Change from the Outside, "it helps to understand how Apple works."

Apple, he writes, was never a dictatorship, even when Steve Jobs was running the show.

"It's a company full of many smart people at all levels, and while those people are generally in agreement on high-level philosophies and priorities, they often have different ideas that need to be resolved through experimentation, debate, or executive order...

"Almost any decision that causes controversy on the outside has almost certainly caused just as much on the inside, it's probably still being argued, and the decision probably isn't set in stone.

"We can't participate directly in those debates, but we can provide ammo to the side we agree with."

Arment adds, sensibly, that it's only productive to argue positions that Apple might feasibly take (i.e. forget about Adobe Flash and removable iPhone batteries) and only in arguments that they're actually having.

This is not the first time Arment's bitching has spurred Apple into action. See Marco Arment: The Hero of Apple's Appageddon.

His original complaints about Helvetica Neue Light were registered in a June 27 Accidental Tech Podcast (start at 1:02:45). He commented on the change in fonts Monday in A Thicker Hope.

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