Apple fans were probably nailed to their PC’s last night to see what Apple’s software guys have been brewing for the last year. The anticipation was more than usual this year – iOS’s development leadership structure had a reshuffle a few months ago, and Jony Ive has taken over the design of the new iOS7.
A New Look.
Jony Ive is the guy responsible for Apple’s hardware design until now. His work until now gives you an idea where his preferences lies. Simplicity and well thought out “golden rule” approaches can be found all over the new iOS7. App icons are all redesigned (after 5 years of very subtle changes) using a grid like design within the icon. All the 3D looking gradients of past icons are gone. Simple flat icons might take some getting used though.
But the entire interface is not purely “flat” like say, Windows Phone. The interface has distinct functional layers to help create depth to give the impression of hierarchy and order. Plenty of translucency is also found with elements like the keyboard.
Just like the rumours suggested, Apple has removed most of the skeumorphic elements from iOS7. All those green felt and leather stitching is now replaced by much cleaner (dare we say Google like?) looks with more white space and fine text. But Apple has also been quite sneaky – many of their built in apps now use elements of very popular apps in the AppStore. Mail now uses a sweep across very similiar to the recently Dropbox acquired Mailbox app. Calendar uses elements from Fantastical and Sunrise. Weather looks very much the new Yahoo Weather app (but with much nicer looking animations).
The new interface is also full of small changes – if you have been using iPhone in the past you will quickly notice them.
Yes, just like Notification center, this feature was taken from Android “as inspiration”. Control Center is not integrated with the pull down menu however. You move your thumb upwards from the bottom of the screen for all the most important settings. Brightness, Airplane mode, music controls and Airplay are all there.
There is also finally a quick button to enable a “torch mode” – effectively killing all flashlight apps. Small change, but has a big effect.
Notification Center has also been significantly changed. Instead of a long list of incoming messages, the new notification center gets a new look, but also gains three tabs – today, all, and missed. The today screen has a Google Now kinda feel to it. It tells you about your day in more natural language with weather, as well as a quick view of today’s calendar. Right at the bottom it also tells you what your day is like tomorrow.
First off, Multitasking now finally looks a lot better than before. iOS7 will show you a preview of the app running in the background, as well as a quicker way of killing it – simply swipe upwards on the preview.
But the big news is not the way it looks. iOS7 will now intelligently updates apps in the background when it feels the time is right – based on power efficient times, as well as your typical schedule. Normally read News24 first thing in the morning? News24 will be ready and waiting when you wake up. Apps that receive push notifications will also load to be ready when you see the notification. No more clicking on notifications and waiting for the app and content to first load.
AirDrop has always been one of the nicest features of Mac for teams who quickly need to share files. AirDrop is now coming to iOS as well – which means you can instantly share items with other iPhones. Yes – bluetooth sharing has been available on other platforms for years, but it sure is great to finally have it on iPhone as well. You can choose who can see your device – for example, no one, only contacts or “everyone” can see your phone for AirDrop transfers. No need to bump your phones against each other like other phones out there.
Need less to say there is lot more features in iOS7, but these are the ones we are really excited about.
What do you think of iOS7? Much of the same, or truly innovative?