Apple banks a lot on iOS 7
Apple’s introduction of iOS 7 relieved quite a few people, myself included. Apple had hinted at many cosmetic changes to the design that were going to make the look more “simple” and “flat”. The fear was that Apple would mimic Microsoft’s Metro interface too closely, with it’s monochrome color features that many find too bare and stark. As you can see, while the new design aims to be “simple”, it certainly isn’t simplistic.
iOS 7 is the first major reworking of Apple’s mobile platform in years. There’s a lot at stake, given the high popularity of Android models such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well as renewed competition from Microsoft (yes, I almost forgot Blackberry). While many of the new features are cosmetic there are others that, while not necessarily ground-breaking, make the system easier and more intuitive to use. Apple spent a great deal of time not just making iOS 7 “pretty”, but downright beautiful.
Here’s a brief rundown of some major tweaks and additions:
- Control Center allows you to access the most commonly used settings, such as Bluetooth, brightness, music player and others, from one screen. This saves digging down through multiple layers of menus. The Control Center also sits as a layer on top of your home screen – a simple swipe brings it up.
- Speaking of layers, the one thing you’ll note is the use of distinct, functional layers that sit one on top of the other. Apps and notifications will no longer fill the screen, but will feature translucency to create depth of field never seen before. Apple even went so far as to allow the background desktop image to move as the device is moved, creating a parallax effect that makes it appear as if the home screen icons are floating in midair.
- Multitasking in iOS 6.x was possible but cumbersome. iOS 7’s multitasking not only shows you what apps are running but provides a windowed view of each actual running app.
- AirDrop is similar to near-field communications (NFC) which has been sorely lacking in iOS. AirDrop allows you to share information, photos and social media with nearby contacts.
- iTunes Radio is basically Apple’s answer to streaming media services such as Pandora and Spotify. A nice inclusion, but nothing major.
- You’ll notice increased use of animations everywhere from the built-in weather app to app transitions and zooms.
- Greater integration of Siri to include control of system settings.
Are these new features mostly cosmetic? Sure, but given that iOS was in need of a cosmetic overhaul that’s not a bad thing. The new design looks fresh and makes it feel completely different from the current product without being too drastic of a change (what did we learn from Windows 8?…). Apple also has a way of making a product greater than the sum of its parts. To really get a feel of how it will look and work, check out the video below.