iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since it’s introduction in 2007. iOS has been running behind in terms of it’s look and feel for the past few years and needed a change. Now, with Forstall gone and Ive in, we have that change. There are some outstanding new features and there is a new user interface that looks absolutely stunning and I will discuss all of this and more in this article.
System UI Changes
For the first time ever, the entire UI of Apple’s iOS software has changed. Gone are the skeumorphisms in exchange for solid colors and a simple elegant look. Every stock application has changed. There are solid colors across the whole OS. Icons have a whole new look as well. The lock screen has been changed to have a more clean look as well. A cool UI change is the addition of the parallax view which shows the images behind the icons move as you are moving the screen. The icons on the screen just pop at you and the colors they used are brilliant. In addition, this new OS has much more animations such as the one where when you open an app, the content splashes quickly till the screen fills. Go home and the app closes down to it’s original spot. Or double tap the home button for multi-tasking and the app you are in jumps up with the rest of the apps in the multi-tasking bar. It really looks cool. Also in iOS7, Calendar and Clock app icons are now alive, with each providing you the date and time respectively. While only the Clocks app is new to do that, it is the beginning of something great that Apple will probably continue to do in the future. The charging indicator also changes to allow you to see what the percentage of battery is left to charge when you are charging your phone, not just the little outlet plug icon like in iOS 6. New simple multi touch gestures are available too such as the upward swipe for Control Center, or the middle of the Home screen down swipe that allows you to activate search mode, that way you no longer have to go to Spotlight to search an for an app. Notification Center and Control Center act more like layers than actual apps and it brings simplicity to the OS. The whole system has been redesigned with a whole new look that looks so great, words can not adequately describe it. Therefore, I recommend that you go to Apple’s website and check out the new design here.
During the keynote, Apple announced a plethora of new features for the upcoming iOS release. These include improvements to the Photos and Camera apps, improvements to Safari, improvements to Siri, improvements to Notification Center, improvements to multitasking, improvements to App Store, improvements to Find My iPhone, the new AirDrop feature, the new iTunes Radio feature, the new Control Center, the new iOS in the Car feature and several other minor improvements. I will cover all of these great features.
Camera and Photos
The new Camera app now has a new design, just like all other Apple apps in the OS. You can take regular photos, videos, panoramas and now square photos. In addition to the new square photo feature, you can add filters to your images. There are eight filters for you to enjoy and while this may not deter you from renown filter apps, lesser known filter apps may be biting the dust. These filters should help you give your food a whole new look when you post it on Instagram. The new Photos app has also been redesigned and in doing so, allows an easier process on managing your photos. Your photos will now be placed in groupings such as Years, which shows all the images you have taken in a year, Collections, which are groupings of images during the year, such as your trip to San Fran, and finally, Moments, which are more specific such your trip to a monument in San Fran. You can hold your finger on a year a and move around to find a picture that you want to find and then touch it to look at it bigger. iCloud Photo Sharing allows you to share your photos to anyone and the people who you share it to can comment on them or even add their own photos and now, videos. Overall, we are seeing some great improvements to the Camera and Photos apps.
Safari, again, has a new look, the blue or black bars at the top and bottom are gone. Safari also has a few nifty features. You can now go completely full screen. You can now use a unified search bar just as in Safari on a computer. Safari now has a new way to manage tabs. You can organize them in a neat way, you can swipe a tab to get rid of it and now you can have as many tabs as you want. You are no longer limited to just 9 tabs. Just as in Safari in Mavericks, you can now see the links that people have shared with you. Articles in your reading list, like in Mavericks will just keep scrolling. No need to keep selecting the next one. You can just keep scrolling and the articles will appear in the order that you have them in your Reading List. Safari also has iCloud Keychain which saves your hard to remember passwords in iCloud and pushes them to all your devices. 1Password is no more. Whenever you want to purchase something or sign into something, it will remember you on all your devices. In addition, Safari can now generate a password for you and then remember that password in iCloud Keychain. With the new look and new features, Safari is sure to shine.
First off, Siri is a great way to communicate to your phone allowing you to control your phone through your voice. I use Siri all the time when I am in a Wifi-zone since it doesn’t work very well in my slow 3G connection. Anyways, Siri has some great improvements in iOS 7. Siri will no longer sound like herself. She has a new, more human-like voice. Siri is no longer a separate box that comes up over the home screen or app screen. Now Siri floats onto view, above whatever is on your screen. This, I think, is a cool design feature. Siri will now check more services such as Wikipedia and Twitter and thus becomes faster at answering your questions. She can also return calls, play Voicemail, control different settings such as increasing or decreasing brightness, control the new iTunes Radio in addition to the music controls she already has. Also, settings that she can’t control will be provided to you via a link to it’s location in the Settings app if you ask her (or him) to do that specified task. That’s right I did just say him in that sentence. You can change Siri’s voice to a man’s voice now. Siri can also know when you are talking and Siri also shows you when it knows since sound waves will move when you speak. In addition, you can now stay within Siri even when you tell her to search something for you. You will stay within Siri so you can ask her a different question after she provides search results. Siri’s improvements are the biggest ever in an OS release. Of course, this may be because this particular release isn’t your average release.
Notification Center Improvements
Notification Center has become more human like. It will give you the information you need in paragraphs of useful information instead of just blocks like it has been. And now Notification Center will now include a tab called “Today” giving you a run down of what you are doing that day, such as your calendar events and what the Weather and traffic will be like. The Today service reminds me of Google Now since both services are integrated in their respective OSs. Notification Center is also accessible from anywhere you need it, including the lock screen. NC has been updated in a big way just like everything else in the OS.
Multitasking in iOS 7 has changed dramatically. First of all, it no longer is a simple black at the bottom that comes up from underneath the regular dock. Now it is a colorful overlay that covers whatever you’re on, just like the new Siri. The multitasking really looks great. That aside, lets talk about its new features. Multitasking on iOS is now true multitasking. When an app is on multitasking, it will update while it is in the background. Take CNN for example. Let’s say I go on CNN right now, check the stories and then leave. Some major news event happens and I go back to the app, that major news event is already there. Finally, the multitasking that iOS users have been waiting for.
App Store Improvements
Like all the other apps, the App Store gets a design overhaul that is simple and intuitive. A new feature in the App Store in iOS 7 is called Apps Near Me, an intuitive new way to discover apps that are popular near you. That way if there is a popular event near you, you can easily find apps that correspond to that event. Or if you live in the countryside, perhaps it can help you find apps that can help you with your country life (if such help is needed at all). In addition to Apps Near Me, iOS 7’s App Store will now update apps automatically. Finally, that pesky badge is gone. The App Store also has a kids section which is divided by age group. This should be a huge relief for moms everywhere. Personally, I’m excited about automatic updates, such a great feature!
Improvements to Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone is an app on the App Store that doesn’t come as a stock app but it is an app that everyone should get. It is free after all, probably one of the only free things that Apple offers. Find My iPhone is exactly what it’s name implies. If your iPhone is lost, you can find it again using Find My iPhone on a separate device via iCloud.com or another Apple device, should you own one. Find My iPhone gets some great features in iOS 7. Now, if someone tries to turn off Find My iPhone, tries to erase the content on it or reactivate it, the iPhone will ask for an Apple ID and password, something only you would know. If your device is erased, Find My iPhone will still continue to display a message.
NFC didn’t come to the iPhone, technically, but AirDrop has. You can quickly share photos, videos and much more. You can share anything that has a Share button with it. All you do is tap Share, tap the person that you want to share it with and they will get it. Since it’s all done using Wifi and Bluetooth, you don’t need to go around bumping phones with people since you can share it with the whole room at one sitting, at one time with no phone bump. Phone bumping has come to an end.
iTunes Radio is a new addition to the iTunes family. iTunes Radio is Apple’s answer to Pandora. It allows you to create your own radio stations based on artists, genres, songs etc. Siri can also control iTunes Radio, so you can tell Siri to play a certain station for you. You can control iTunes Radio to give you Top Hits, Discovery or mixed so you can either listen to music everyone does or you can discover new music. You can view the history of everything you downloaded and choose to buy it from within the app, right through iTunes. It is a great way to discover music.
Control Center is now the best way to control your device’s functions that you always seem to go for frequently. Swipe from the bottom of the screen up to access Control Center. From within Control Center you can access toggles for Wifi, AirPlane Mode, Bluetooth and Do Not Disturb. You can lock the screen orientation, control the brightness, control your music. You can connect to AirPlay devices and you can quickly access the Camera, flashlight, calculator and a timer. First off, say goodbye to the flashlight apps. Second off, this is a truly great way to get to the controls you care about most. I can’t wait to try it out myself. They are controls that I’m sure that you go to the Settings app when your on an iPhone. Now, that’s no longer necessary. This is definitely one of my favorite features.
iOS in the Car
iOS is the Car is coming to select vehicles come 2014. The indash system inside the car will now simulate iOS on the screen, showing Maps, Siri, Messages, phone calls, and music. You can now do everything on your phone that you would do normally on the phone, now on the car screen and wirelessly too. It will do what you want it to do without distracting you. The iOS in the Car comes to select vehicles sold by the following car makers: Acura, Chevrolet, Ferrari (gee, I wonder who came up with this one, oh Eddy), Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Opel, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Volvo. Whoever owns one of these cars and an iPhone 5 is a very lucky person.
Now, in iOS 7, you can block people from calling or messaging you. Folders now scroll so you can put much more apps in folders. You can swipe to go back in Safari. Sharing becomes better than ever with a new look and the ability to share to specific people. Elements within the OS change when you change your background. You’ll never see the same notification twice. When you view a notification on one device, it will sync to other devices that you viewed it. Made for iPhone game controllers are now officially supported which will give a big boost in gaming.
Apple has, by far, the best release of their mobile OS ever. It takes on some nice looks and some nice new features and it truly is the future of iOS. iOS needed a change and under Cook and Ive’s direction, they did it justice. I definitely look forward to downloading it this fall, just like everyone else.
Thanks for reading,
Images Courtesy: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/features/