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The new iOS7

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 

 

Apple has just launched iOS 7 with new features and capabilities, the update completely changed the entire look and feel of the iPhone and iPad operating system. In Apple’s own words, its biggest change to iOS since the iPhone! Let’s see what new Apple has brought this time to amaze its customers, developers. And of course, this is the time when one has to think about how it affects existing apps and opens the new panoramas of possibilities.

For the first time it is observed that Apple has not only added visual and usability elements to revamp its design completely, but also borrowed a few good things from some rivals in drips and drabs. Although UX is what catches the eye, the changes run beyond UI into deeper machine-to-machine integrations and super intelligence into the operating system routines! Let’s recap few now.

What’s new?

User Interface: New UX is a clean sweep that changes absolutely everything, from the typography and color schemes to the typical icon and button shape across the entire platform. We would say it is so simple and does away with many of the unnecessary bars, buttons, the gradients, bezels, and shadows. One may hate the shaver type settings icon, but in general the entire home screens and experience of application launch appears fluidic.

 

Lock screen: Along with new appearance and repositioning of the clock, we now have new way of unlocking the device. Now sliding to unlock goes from the left to right on screen rather than with the old metal button bar. The swipe up gesture brings the control center (if enabled for lock screen) and swipe down brings the notifications!

Home screen: Drastically changed, in place of black notification bars, complex icons and shadowed lettering we have flatter, simpler app icons, transparent bars and flat white text. This design revamp is a boon for the information centric application unlike the iOS6, which sometimes leads to heavier UI elements that can overpower the content.

Dynamic Background: Embraces the z-axis to a remarkable degree. A flashy parallax effect adds real depth to the home screen, letting you peek around and underneath icons to the wallpaper behind them. Basically interface detects where you're viewing from and adjusts accordingly - it gives the impression of a 3D space and you can see underneath icons. Presence of motion sensors in the device will amazingly give a real sense of 3D depth….

Surely a good option for the gaming and all places wherever it is necessary, however would not like to engage CPU to perform some UI tricks and impact the whole system’s performance and drained off the battery. It would not surprising if coming fall we see a hardware that takes advantage of this 3D effect to portray next level of 3D imaging on the screen!

Messages: Much simpler and moderate. The colored header bar is now plain white to match the background and a more basic, colored 'speech bubble' message icon has been implemented. Can clearly see Android messaging feature influence here!

Folders arrangements: Clean and simple and not cluttered anymore like iOS6, icons and text are simple and flattened. Also it has soothing light blue colored transparent background and best part allows scrolling and appears in full screen.

Let’s talk about real thing, which Apple has not at all introduced, in any of its previous versions:

What is different from previous versions?

Multitasking: Is like a cross between Windows Phone and Android. It features a scrollable carousel which you can swipe cards (like Palm's webOS) away from to close, or tap to open. You can now see the full screen mini views of running apps instead of just icons.

It not only switches between apps but also learns when user likes to use apps to update content before you launch them. The iOS schedules updates during power-efficient times, for eg. when your device is on and connected to Wi-Fi, the new services will allow your app to update information and download content in the background without draining the battery unnecessarily. The updates can happen at opportunistic times and are intelligently scheduled according to usage, so your app can update content in the background just when your users need it.

 

As we get deeper into the technical API capabilities, it seems like, we would start expecting the MDM platforms to provide better control on what applications to let run in the background. Is it a valid demand? We think so!

Control Center: Influenced by windows phone but a true value addition to the usability. In WP where user can choose the more frequently used features and pinned them down on to the home screen, iOS 7 makes it available everywhere (including the Lock screen), just swipe up from the bottom of your device and it will appear. From there you can toggle airplane mode, control your music, access your camera, your calculator, put it in sleep mode, toggle Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Very useful especially when user has to route network called through a specific channel (3G/4G/WiFI/Bluetooth). Although this is certainly helpful, user’s complex minds begs, isn’t it becoming little complex for the average user? For years we know iOS is simpler and did not need us to make multiple choices. It never allowed any confusing state but this may present a level complexity. Though certainly simpler than BB and Androids at this moment!

Notifications: Well thought and revamped design with three different views: today, all and missed. The today view gives you a snapshot of all the events happening today in your current day, including your calendar and the weather. All and Missed views let you see all your alerts or just those you haven’t addressed in the last 24 hours

 

Camera and Photo Apps: Well thought reorganization for Camera and other photo apps. Makes user’s like easy by surfacing all the shooting modes such as still, panorama, video, and a square, Instagram-like configuration. Another button will let you apply filters to the still or square shots. With iOS 7, photos are organized around geo-tagged locations, not just chronology. It also includes support for video sharing through iCloud and a shared photo streams feature which allows a group of people to share photos and videos to the user’s photo stream.

AirDrop: Share photos, documents, URLs and other types of data with multiple devices nearby by adding AirDrop support to your app. By simply adding the Activity sheet, all the details of sharing your content peer-to-peer is handled for you—no network or setup required. And with Wi-Fi peer-to-peer technology you can use the same underlying technology to directly connect with multiple devices nearby, and let your users easily share information with each other.

Other updates include

  • Unlock the phone, and icons drift down

  • Revamped weather app shows dynamic weather animations onscreen; pinch for all-city overview

  • iCloud photo-sharing

  • iCloud keychain remembers sensitive data

  • Long MMS support

  • Swipe from day to day in Calendar

  • Phone, FaceTime, and Message blocking

  • View PDF annotations

  • Activation lock to protect against theft – would love to see MDMs take full advantage of this!

  • Support for 60fps video capture

  • Airdrop from activity sheet

  • Background asset downloads

  • Inclinometer support

Endeavour (www.techendeavour.com) is a niche mobility organization, enabling mobile applications for Fortune 500 organizations on iOS, Android, Windows, BB and more. We will be diving further into the technicalities of the new OS and sharing a comparison with other OSes in our next blog.

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