As we expected, earlier this month at the annual World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) Apple announced that the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be released this fall. Though there are several notable changes in the OS functionality and feature set, the real attention-getter has been the drastic changes to the user interface design. The new look is a major divergence from the Apple interface we have come to know – bubbly icons, lots of gradients and textures, a more primary color palette and lots skeuomorphism in icon design. Some have even been referring to the new design as the “Windroid” interface, due to its similarities to the Android and Windows Metro designs. The new look is much more on trend with modern interface designs we have seen, with flatter icons, brighter colors and simpler text treatments.
Now on to the noteable iOS 7 features; the main focus of the new OS is upon ease of use. The Apple developers have made significant upgrades to Settings, Notifications and Multitasking to make navigating and accessing important information easier than ever. As an iPhone user myself, one of the new features I am most excited about is the Control Center. In earlier iOS versions, including iOS 6, the Settings menu is really complex and isn’t conducive to making changes to apps, notifications and phone settings on the fly. The Control Center (which is accessed by swiping up from any screen) will now allow users to turn on and off their wifi, put their phone in Airplane Mode, launch the camera, control music, brightness and more without having to open separate apps or navigate the maze that is the Settings menu.
Personally, I have never really used the Notification Center (which can be accessed by swiping down from any screen) because I felt like the information wasn’t really relevant to me. iOS 7 will address this issue, giving users a convenient summary of “today.” This includes text messages, missed calls, birthdays, calendar appointments and weather. With the Notification Center and Control Center accessible with just a simple swipe down or a swipe up, everything you need is really right at your fingertips.
Though Apple made an honorable first attempt at multitasking in iOS 4, in essence “multitasking” in the previous context was really only an additional method of navigation that didn’t necessarily streamline switching back and forth from several running applications. iOS 7 touts major improvements to the multitasking abilities of iPhone and iPad. Double tapping on the Home button now displays screenshot previews of all the apps that are open, making it much easier to refer to information within different apps without having to jump back and forth to the actual application.
Other updates include built-in filters for the camera application (watch out Instagram?), and a complete overhaul of the Photos interface into Collections, Moments and Years. In older iOS versions, organizing your photos from your mobile device was nearly impossible, the most you could do was create new albums. Now Apple mobile users can find and organize their photos they want, and share them over iCloud to others through their photo Stream.
There are many more exciting features and updates in iOS 7 that we will continue to discuss as the time ticks away to the launch of the new OS in the Fall. Which is your favorite part of iOS 7? Let us know in the comments below!