We all knew a change was coming, but no one foresaw such a drastic revamp of iOS7. Apple just took the wraps off of the next-gen mobile OS and it’s a radical departure from the OS and UI we have become used to seeing.
The changes begin at the lock screen, where the slider now has to be pulled from the bottom of the display. The notifications centre can be accessed directly from the lock screen. Once you are in, you will see the icons have been redesigned and are now flatter as was expected. There’s a whole bunch of new animations at every turn. Folders on your home screens now support apps on multiple pages.
The new icons, fonts and colours
Messages, Game Center, Weather and Calendar all sport a new look. The Weather app has great new animations that remind us of HTC’s weather app. The Calendar app is completely clean and almost entirely white except for the appointments, which are in various shades. You can now swipe between months and weeks. Messages also has a flatter look. The text bubbles seem to have a lot more breathing room and the white and blue design of the UI is consistent with the rest of the redesign. The Game Center app has got a new icon, that’s nothing like the old green-baize table. Instead, there are several intersecting bubbles. Inside too, the app has a cleaner interface with a more prominent place for your friends’ profiles. The Mail app looks much more modern in iOS7. It brings edge-to-edge images and the ability to delete emails with a slide, just like Android.
Apple also talked up the new Control Center feature, which lets users get to the most-used settings by swiping up from the bottom. These include brightness, Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc. Users can even turn on the torch and control the music player directly from here. Multitasking on iOS 7 is very similar to the WebOS implementation with cards of all your open apps popping up.
Just like the OS X version, Safari on iOS now sports a new look and supports full-screen browsing. More than eight tabs can now be opened on the new Safari. Parental controls have been added to the browser, and there’s more integration with the desktop version of the browser.
In addition, iOS7 get a new Photos app. There are some Instagram-like filters here. The gallery has a new Moments features which arranges your pictures based on time and location and you can ‘zoom out’ to see a large chunk of time and the resulting mosaic of all images taken in that period. Photos can be shared through AirDrop and iCloud and the app also supports photo streams where your friends can drop images to an album. The new app brings supports for video-sharing via iCloud.
Like the rest of iOS 7 pieces, Siri also has a new look, with more translucent backgrounds. There are two new voices: male and female and they speak in French, German and English. Siri now lets you control Bluetooth and brightness and search through Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing.
iOS 7 will be coming to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
Siri also plays a role in the new iOS in the car feature. Users can access apps like iTunes and Maps via the display in their vehicle. They can also have their messages read back to them and can dictate texts to be sent. The likes of Honda, Mercedes, Nissan and Ferrari have already signed on.
Finally, Apple showed off iTunes Radio along with a redesigned Music app. The new streaming service lets you create stations based on your library and listening habits, and also share them with friends. It’s free with ads, but there’s a non-ad version for iTunes Match subscribers.
iOS7 is a major overhaul for Apple and for most parts, it looks and sounds great. Watch out for our more in-depth look at the new features of the iPhone and iPad UI.