11 Jun iOS 7: iOS Completely Rebuilt, Redesigned, and Redefined
Apple has unveiled what CEO Tim Cook has stated, is “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”
After months of rumours and speculation, iOS 7 has finally been revealed, and what has been revealed is a completely different experience for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Headed by Jony Ive, Apple’s industrial designer who took charge of the software following the departure of Scott Fortsall, iOS 7 has done away with skeuomorphic (visual metaphors reflecting the physical objects a digital version aims to replace i.e. bookshelves for iBooks, notepad paper in Notes etc) designs and 3D effects, leaving us with a ‘flat design’.
New Flat Design
iOS has undergone a complete makeover, with colours, font, icons, apps and notifications all receiving some cosmetic surgery.
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- New font: iOS 7 sports a brand new skinny, clean font
- The ‘slide to unlock’ screen has done away with the shiny top and bottom bars, replaced by a translucent ‘slide to unlock’ bar above the background image
- Default app icons (such as mail, safari, iBooks, Game Centre etc) are now flatter
- Your service coverage will now be represented by five little dots, which are white and grey depending on how strong the signal is.
- The notifications panel has also been flattened. It has a ‘today view’, which will show you friends birthdays, upcoming invitations, calendar, stocks and a quick look at tomorrow.
- The keyboard is translucent, letting you see what’s underneath the keyboard.
Similar to what is found in Android, the control centre is a panel that allows you to access frequently used settings such as Wi-Fi, brightness, Airplane mode and play, pause, or skip a song. It is accessible from within any app with just a swipe.
As briefly explained before, the new notifications centre not only lets you know about new mail, missed calls, things on your to-do list, but it also offers a new feature called ‘Today’. Today gives you a summary of birthdays, the weather, traffic and whats on your plate for tomorrow. It’s available by swiping down from any screen including the lock screen.
As we start using our mobile devices more and more in our everyday life, being able to multitask efficiently becomes increasingly important.
Apple have improved the multitasking feature in iOS 7, by monitoring which apps you frequently use to help determine which ones need more full-functioning multitasking. It learns when you like to use your apps and will update your content before you launch them. As Apple says on its website, “it knows what you want to do before you do”.
To view the apps you currently have open, simply press the Home button twice. This brings up a preview screen for each app open, allowing you to decide which ones you still need at a glance. To quit an app, it’s as easy as just swiping it up and out of preview.
iOS 7 also schedules updates during power-efficient times, such as when you device is on and connected to Wi-Fi so you aren’t left with a dead or drained battery.
Safari hasn’t missed out on the new look and feel, with the new design centred around providing as much screen real estate as possible for the content rather than bars and buttons.
The unified search menu (which was removed in iOS 3.0) is back. Safari automatically suggests the closest match your search query when typed into the unified smart search field, allowing you to access web pages faster. As you scroll down the page, the unified smart search bar will disappear, giving way to the content on the page.
Apple has added a new tabbed view to Safari, with tabs sporting a 3D effect and scrolling in a vertical carousel. There is no longer a limit on how many tabs you can have open, and to close a tab you just swipe it off to the side.
For those of you that have trouble remembering the many different passwords you have for different accounts or services, iCloud has the answer. iCloud Keychain helps you remember your account names, passwords and credit card numbers (protected by 256-bit AES encyrption) and automatically enters in the required information whenever you need to sign in to a site or shop online. Safari also features a Password Generator, which will generate a unique, hard-to-guess password for new accounts you create and remember this password for you.
Already a feature in OS X, AirDrop is coming to iOS. AirDrop allows users to share photos or files peer-to- peer with other iOS 7 users who are nearby. To share a file, just tap the ‘Share’ button and select the person you want to share the file with. Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, AirDrop sends the file to the selected person, with all transfers encrypted.
You’re automatically visible in AirDrop to your contacts running iOS 7. However, if you want to make yourself visible to anyone using iOS 7 outside of your contacts or make yourself invisible to everyone, you can set that within Control Centre. Files shared via AirDrop can be saved on the recipient’s phone.
Airdrop supports iPhone 5, iPad 4th gen, iPad Mini only.
Apple have overhauled the Camera and Photo apps, making it easier for users to capture and store their photos.
The Camera app lets you change between camera types (such as still, video, panorama, square) with a swipe, so users don’t have to fumble around to get to the right camera type. Intagram-esque filters such as black and white and retro type effects are now available through the camera up to jazz up your pictures.
The update to the Photo gallery app has made finding and viewing your photos easier, allowing users to search based on date and location within the photos app. Users can also now create Shared Photostreams, into which other users can post photos as well as share with others, while also being able to share photos via AirDrop or iCloud photo-sharing.
Even Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant has been given a new look, a new sound and some new features.
Siri now comes with the choice of either a female or male voice, which now speak in more natural speech patterns making Siri easier to understand. Speed at answering questions and checking more sources such as Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter have been improved, while Siri now also takes on extra tasks such as returning calls, playing voicemail and controlling iTunes Radio. Search results are displayed within Siri so you don’t have to navigate away from Siri.
New Security Features For Lost iPhones
Find My iPhone has been around as a feature of iOS for a while now, making it easier to locate your iPhone should you lose it. While knowing where your device is currently is great, if it seems as though you’re not going to be able to get your hands on it soon, Apple have introduced new security features in iOS 7 to make it harder for anyone to use or sell your device. Your Apple ID and password is now required to turn off Find My iPhone or erasing your devices, as well as when reactivating the iPhone. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message even after your device has been erased.
iOS 7 is expected to be released in spring this year, however, not all the features will be available with older versions of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Check out the table below courtesy of TechCrunch, which outlines the features available:
What are your thoughts on the redesign of the iOS platform?