Thursday, June 13, 2013

iOS 7 Design, Features, Short review and Availability

At WWDC 2013, Apple finally unveiled the next version of its famed mobile Operating System- iOS 7. The iOS platform was in need of some revamp and iOS 7 very much delivers to this need. Jony Ive, the new SVP of design at Apple and his team have together given iOS 7 a refreshing new look. From newly designed stock app, removal of skeumorphism from apps and other elements of OS to addition of much needed features that would please users, iOS 7 includes all. Tim Cook describes it as "The Biggest change to iOS since the iPhone". Is iOS 7 really such a big change? Should you be looking forward to upgrading to iOS 7? Is your device compatible with iOS 7? Grab a cup of coffee and sit back. Read on as I tell you everything you need to know about iOS 7 and its features.

DESIGN AND LOOKS: It would hardly take you more than a 2 seconds to realize that iOS 7 does not look like the iOS you have been familiar to all these years. The lock screen itself seems a bit different. You'll see "Slide to Unlock"  written at the bottom of the lock screen (Just where it was all the time) but what's missing is the Slide to unlock "Arrow". You have to swipe your finger across the screen over the text to get to the Home screen. The lock screen has some new features too which we will talk about as we progress. Once you enter the Home screen, you would be greeted with a brand new and refreshing OS with newly designed icons and totally changed color pallet and color schemes. Goodbye to heavily colored, deeply outlined icons-say Hello to crisp, elegant and totally "Flat" icons which give a feeling of being pastel colored, to describe it the best. It can really take some time before your eyes get used to the new icons and flat-look; but for better or worse, you will have to come to the terms that what you are looking at indeed how your iOS 7 looks like.

Next you can start exploring and playing around, opening a few random apps. The Flat-design philosophy follows everywhere- the Messages app has been shunned off the familiar 3D-effect text bubbles and instead been given a flat panel design, the Settings menu, your photos app everything would seem just so unfamiliar. Even Siri seems a stranger, new voices (Both Male and Female which sound much more human than the robotic voice you are now used to), the color scheme's much lighter which perfectly blends with your background and enhanced abilities of speech recognition along with ability to search directly on twitter and Wikipedia, Siri indeed is much more smarter. The transitions from one screen to another, opening, swapping and moving around apps look much more pleasing with all the small, yet noticeable animation and effects that are added to complement the new look of the OS.

Though, new color schemes and flat-look would take some time to get used to, the overall functioning of the OS is exactly as it was before. This means there won't be any "Learning Curve". To put it in really simple terms, iOS 7 would look unfamiliar to your eyes at first but once you get your hands on it, you can maneuver across the whole system without being struck for even once. This will surely be appreciated by the platforms dedicated User-base.

CONTROL CENTER AND NOTIFICATIONS: Its not just about changing the looks of the OS, additions of new features are a must for an OS upgrade. Apple surely hasn't disappointed. One of the biggest feature that has been added is the "Control Center". You can access it by swiping-up from the bottom of the screen no matter where you are in the OS. It would bring some of the most used settings and features of your phone including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, Do not disturb, and also Music controls, a small integrated flashlight tools that uses your camera's flash (Goodbye dozens of third-party Flashlight apps on the Appstore) and Airdrop (For the very first time on iOS). One of the interesting features of Control Center is that when you access it, it automatically adjusts its color schemes according to the background app that is running at that moment.


Notification Menu is still accessible by swiping-down from the top of the screen. Apart from the refreshed look to compliment the new flat-design, you will notice that the pull-down menu shows all your alerts, missed call and received messages in three tabs while a new "Today Pane" keeps a track of all the calender appointments, reminders and alarms for the specific day (as the name suggests). Its a slight addition yet an useful one for day-to-day life.

MULTITASKING: Multitasking on iOS 7 is designed to please Power users. You still have to double click the home key to access all the running apps. But instead of the tiny icons you are used to seeing now, iOS 7 displays a full-screen snapshot of all the running apps. Up to three apps are visible on the screen at a time on iPhones and iPods, with the most recently used app in the centre. You may scroll to find all the running apps. Closing the apps is also different from previous versions of iOS. 


Users now can swipe the tab showing the live screenshot of the app out of the view i.e you need to swipe the snapshot of the app towards the top of the screen to get rid of the app unlike now where users long-pres the icon of the app which brings a small red "---" symbol to their corner which on being touched closes the app. This method of closing the apps is somewhat similar to what Android ICS and Jelly Bean offer.

REDESIGNED CAMERA, PHOTOS AND WHETHER APPS: Camera App is now much more simplified. Open the app and you are presented with quick aces to the 4 shooting modes namely the Still Camera, Video,
Square and Panorama. An additional button will also allow users to apply live filters to still and Square shots; however, live filters might not be available across all devices which would be upgraded to iOS 7.

The Brand New Photos Apps sorts all your snaps according to their time and year of capture. Images are treated as "Moments"  and arrangements of images are done also around geotagged locations. 

The coolest feature of the app allows users to zoom out and see all the images from year to year. You can swipe your finger across the image, which pop up from the rest of lot once your finger stops on a particular one. You can't call it a major addition but hey, its cool and well maybe even useful, I'll let you decide.


Siri GETS SOME NEW TRICKS: Apple's cool yet handy voice assistant Siri now comes with brand new voices; a new Female as well as new male voice. Both sound much more Human. Siri's speech recognition abilities have been upgraded so expect better response from Siri on iOS 7. Few major changes- Bing is now the new default search engine so a bit of a bummer for Google accustomed crowd. You can now also siri to search for something specifically on Twitter or Wikipedia (Sounds useful) or even use it to toggle bluetooth, play your voicemails, adjust your phone's brightness levels, etc. Siri however does not seem to have improved much in terms of time it takes to process your commands, it still takes its sweet little time but now results appear in full screen, not just a tiny card.

SAFARI IMPROVED: Safari receives its own share of upgrades including full-screen browsing mode, unified search and URL field (Google Chrome users know what we are talking about), unlimited tabs while browsing which now appear as vertical scrolling rectangular cards (classic), auto-sorting of links from people you follow on Twitter, auto-hiding of Navigation bars when you don't need them, etc. You can now swipe left or right to go back and forward a page while browsing. iCloud Keychain is feature added to the Safari on new OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 which encrypts and stores highly sensitive passwords, credit card information. Overall, Safari on iOS 7 is much better than its previous versions and would make browsing and surfing the internet a breeze.

iTunes Radio: Apple's home built Spotify and Pandora rival does not offer anything new to the table. It lets you create stations centered around your favorite artists and listen to free music. iTunes Radio would be ad-supported for everyone except itunes Match users who would be able to experience it ad-free.
The biggest bummer however is that, iTunes Radio would be available only in the U.S at launch with Apple promising support for more countries in the near future. All thanks to licensing issues!

AirDrop: iOS 7 also adds AirDrop- Apple's peer-to-peer file sharing system previously present only on OS X to iPhone 5, iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad. AirDrop works by creating a ad-hoc connection between devices, using Wi-Fi and bluetooth to share files amongst users. The recipient device can accept or reject to receive the file. Users can also make their device invisible to other devices enabled with AirDrop with a some taps in the new Control Center.

Some Other Features: 1) Face Time on iOS 7 will also allow users to make a voice call instead of the usual video calls which is a welcome feature for the users.

2) All your Apps would now update automatically. So you would no longer see those mind-boggling numbers on the App store icon. Those who are worried about this feature can take a deep breath, you can choose to disable Automatic updates from the settings.

Availability: Apple has stated iOS 7 would be coming to users this Fall (assume September as an appropriate time-window). iOS 7 beta is available for registered developers already. iOS 7 would be available for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2nd generation and later, iPad Mini, and iPod touch 5th generation.

So there you have it. Everything about the iOS 7 you need to know. Final built might include some minor changes to the features but no major change is expected. You can comment and let us know about you views about iOS 7, your reasons to like or dislike it and features you like or dislike.


  1. wow amazing os 7 review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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