Thursday, 19 September 2013

iOS7 Review

So, after months of waiting, Apple finally released iOS7 to the public on Wednesday. This is the first chance I've had to play with it, so I'm understandably excited.

Now, I'm not going to detail all the changes, that would take far too long and to be honest, there's already been plenty written about the new features, so I'm going to pick out a couple of things I use and detail those.

1: The UI

As you can see, it's a complete redesign. The Forstall design era is well and truly over. The new UI is flatter, features a lot of visually pleasing tricks and gimmicks.

For a start, the apps sit forward from the background, so if you tilt the phone on the home screen the background moves slightly. It's not a big difference, but it's a nice effect nonetheless.

Fonts have been refined, everything is cleaner and neater. It's rather nice.

2: The task menu

Swipe up from anywhere in the phone (including the lock screen) and you get this task menu. Simply enough it gives you quick short cuts to common functions such as Bluetooth, wifi, airplane mode, air play and the current music playing.

It's a nice feature, something iOS has been lacking since it's inception.

3: Multitasking

So whereas in iOS6, multi tasking consisted of the screen sliding up and a row of your open icons, in 7, you double tap the home button and you are greeted by this rather splendid card view.

While it does look similar to the Palm Pre's Palm OS, it makes multitasking look much snazzier, even if it doesn't add any functionality.

4: Notification Centre

The notification centre has had an overhaul. The transparency that sits throughout iOS7 is present here. Swipe down from any screen, again, including the lock screen, and you get a quick overview of your day. The weather, calendar events and your stocks.

The previous notification centre was overly cluttered and too busy for me, so this is a welcome change.

5: Camera

The camera app now caters directly for the Instagram lovers out there, with live filters and square frame photos all available from the camera's menus, it's a fairly pointless change in my eyes. But, plenty of people will enjoy it, so I can see the reasoning behind it.

The Verdict

I've only been able to play with iOS7 for a few hours, but overall it's a welcome change. iOS was getting stale and restrictive.

Although this UI change is very reminiscent of Android 4.3, it puts Apple back into the game when it comes to a modern UI.

One thing I will say is that on the iPad 2 it runs pretty slowly. So I'm assuming that on the iPhone 4 it will be the same. I'm running iOS7 on my iPhone 4S and whips along at a decent rate, so I would say the best way to experience iOS7 is to use iPhone 4S/iPad 3 or upwards.

Still, I like this UI a lot and I'll be interested to see the extra functionality on the 5S, such as the TouchID and Air Drop functions.

iOS7 is free to download now through iTunes or over the air when your device is connected to a wifi hotspot

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