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Apple’s iOS 7: A New Look for Your iPhone & iPad

grand master

Mobile News.png

 

Every year, Apple releases a new version of the iOS operating system. Later this year, iOS 7 is set to radically change the way that iPhones and iPads look. iOS 7 introduces a new design, improved multitasking, new photography features and AirDrop functionality for easy file sharing.  

 

iOS 7: A Radical New Design for Your iPhone & iPad

 

iOS 7 - Top.jpgWhen the iPhone was originally released in 2007, it was at a time when smartphones and touchscreens were new to most people. Before 2007, most mobile phones were operated through a number pad or a scroll wheel. The software on the original iPhone was designed to introduce people to a touchscreen smartphone and to familiarise them with the interface. To do this, Apple made heavy use of skeuomorphic elements on the iPhone’s interface.

 

Six years on, the design of Apple’s mobile operating system is still largely the same. The current version of iOS 6 makes heavy use of skeuomorphism. In many places, the software is designed to look like something from real life. Many applications in iOS use a fake wood or fake leather texture. Other applications go further by mimicking an entire object – a pine bookshelf or a pool table for instance. In the past, the design of iOS has been criticised for looking cheap and for distracting the user from the task at hand.

 

iOS7 Apps.jpg

 

With touchscreen smartphones now commonplace, it’s been argued that designers no longer need to provide “training wheels” for their user interfaces. Instead of interfaces that mimick real-world objects, interfaces can be made simpler and cleaner. With Android 4.0 and Windows 8, Google and Microsoft both made the transition to “digitally authentic” design. With iOS 7, Apple has followed in their footsteps by also switching to a simpler and more digital design. According to Apple, iOS 7 will be the “biggest change since the original iPhone”.

 

To give an example of a few changes in iOS 7:

 

News Stand.jpg

iOS 7 has a simpler and cleaner design. Rather than having an interface that mimicks real-world objects, applications are designed to look more “digitally authentic”. To give an example, the News Stand application in iOS 6 (left) uses a faux bookshelf design. In iOS 7 (right), this has been removed. The new design puts the focus on the content within the application.


Games Centre.jpg
Another example of re-design in iOS 7. The ‘Games Centre’ in iOS 6 (left) used a faux pool table design complete with green felt and wooden toolbars. In iOS 7 (right) the Games Centre has been revamped with a more modern and colourful design.

 

The extensive redesign of iOS 7 reaches through every application on the device. There’s also a redesigned home screen with cleaner and brighter icons.

 

iOS6 and iOS7.jpg
The home screen has been redesigned on iOS 7. Compared to the iOS 6 home screen (left), the home screen on iOS 7 (right) is flatter and more colourful. Application icons have been redesigned as has the default wallpaper and notification bar.

 

For anyone who’s previously used an Android smartphone, the new “Control Centre” in iOS 7 will be greatly welcomed. Control Centre provides quick access to toggles, settings, music controls and handy utilities. It’s opened by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen and functions without you ever needing to leave the application you’re in. From within the Control Centre, you can enable or disable features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and screen rotation. You can also change the currently playing song and open tools such as a torchlight and calculator.

 

Control Centre.jpg
Swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen will open ‘Control Centre’. This provides quick access to a range of toggles. You can also control your music and open utilities such as a torch or a calculator.

 

The new design in iOS 7 is certainly a breath of fresh air. However, not everyone’s been a fan. Some commentators have criticised iOS 7 for being incredibly confusing. Others have pointed out that it’s still a work in progress: further changes are likely to come before the final release this autumn. What’s certain is that iOS 7 radically changes your iPhone or iPad. Once you’ve upgraded, later this year, it’ll take some time to adjust to the new look of your device.

 

The redesigned iOS 7 will be available on the following devices:

 

iPhone

 

iPad

 

iPod Touch

 

iPhone 5

iPad, 4th gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 5th gen

iPhone 4S

iPad Mini

iPod Touch, 4th gen

iPhone 4

iPad, 3rd  gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 3rd gen

iPhone 3G S

iPad 2

iPod Touch, 2nd gen

 

Improved Multitasking

 

On iOS 7, the multitasking capabilities have been upgraded to make it easier to switch between applications. Upon double-tapping the home button, a full screen task switcher will now open. This shows a visual preview of any applications you have open. Scrolling side-to-side allows you to change applications and applications can easily be closed by swiping the preview icon upwards.

 

The new iOS 7 multitasking interface is similar to that of the HTC One X.

 

Multitasking.jpg
On iOS 6 (left), double-tapping the home button would open a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This would show a list of recently used applications and their icons. On iOS 7 (right), double-tapping the home button will open a full-screen application switcher. The new task switcher contains a visual preview of all applications that are open. Applications can be closed by swiping upwards on the preview icon.

 

Photography Improvements: Filters & Square Photos

 

With iOS 7, Apple has enhanced the camera software with new filters and shooting modes. This is an attempt to integrate some of the functionality from Instagram. If you have an iPhone 5, you can now take square photos and apply filters to them directly using the camera application.  For other devices, including the iPad, functionality is more limited (see the table below).

Camera Filters.jpg

 

The photography features that are due to be available in iOS 7 depend on the device that you have:

 

 

Live Camera Filters

Filters in Gallery

Panorama

Square Photos

iPhone:

 

 

 

 

iPhone 5

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4

iPhone 3G S

iPad:

 

 

 

 

iPad, 4th gen (Retina iPad)

iPad Mini

iPad, 3rd  gen (Retina iPad)

iPad 2

iPad (original)

iPod Touch:

 

 

 

 

iPod Touch, 5th gen

 

AirDrop: An Easy Way To Share Files & Photos

 

AirDrop.jpgiOS 7 introduces a feature called AirDrop. AirDrop is designed to make it easier to share files with friends. Instead of manually creating a Bluetooth connection whenever you want to share a file, AirDrop can automate the process by looking for other people nearby (they’ll need to have AirDrop open on their own device). By tapping on an icon for their phone, a connection will be set up automatically in the background.

 

AirDrop will work on the iPhone 5, the 4th generation iPad, the iPad Mini and the 5th generation iPod Touch. It’s not compatible with Android devices or with Windows Phone devices. This will limit its usefulness somewhat.

 

On Android devices, a similar sharing feature is already available in the form of Android Beam. Android Beam makes uses of Near Field Communication (NFC) to set up a peer-to-peer connection. According to Apple, AirDrop is superior to NFC as there’s “no need to stumble around the room bumping your phones together”.

 

AirDrop will be available on the following devices:

 

iPhone

 

iPad

 

iPod Touch

 

iPhone 5

iPad, 4th gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 5th gen

iPhone 4S

iPad Mini

iPod Touch, 4th gen

iPhone 4

iPad, 3rd  gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 3rd gen

iPhone 3G S

iPad 2

iPod Touch, 2nd gen

 

 

iPad (original)

iPod Touch, 1st gen

 

Siri: Apple’s Upgraded Virtual Assistant

 

Siri.jpgSiri has been upgraded in iOS 7. New features include:

 

  • Integration with Wikipedia, Twitter and Bing. Siri can now access information from a larger number of sources. These include Wikipedia, Twitter and Bing. The end result is that Siri should now be able to answer more questions than before.

  • Ability to Change Settings. You can now use Siri to toggle settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode.

  • New Voice. iOS 7 sees a new voice for Siri: Apple says the new voice is “clearer” and “more natural-sounding”. There’s also the ability to customise the voice – it’s now possible to use a male voice.

Like other applications in iOS 7, the Siri application has also been redesigned with a new interface.

 

Siri will be available on the following devices with iOS 7:

 

iPhone

 

iPad

 

iPod Touch

 

iPhone 5

iPad, 4th gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 5th gen

iPhone 4S

iPad Mini

iPod Touch, 4th gen

iPhone 4

iPad, 3rd  gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 3rd gen

iPhone 3G S

iPad 2

iPod Touch, 2nd gen

 

 

iPad (original)

iPod Touch, 1st gen

 

iTunes Radio: Apple’s Streaming Music Service

 

With iOS 7, Apple has been making a lot of noise about the iTunes Radio service. This is a music streaming service that’ll be free for iPhone and iPad owners. Based on your musical preferences, Apple will use their Genius Engine to find music that it thinks you’ll enjoy. It’ll generate a personalised radio station which will then be streamed to your device.

 

At launch, iTunes Radio will be a US-only service. The service will be free and is supported by advertising. It’s not quite a replacement for Spotify as you can’t choose the exact songs you want to listen to. However, iTunes Radio could still be a great way of discovering new music.

 

When the iTunes Radio service launches in the UK, it’ll be available on iOS 7 with the following devices:

 

iPhone

 

iPad

 

iPod Touch

 

iPhone 5

iPad, 4th gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 5th gen

iPhone 4S

iPad Mini

iPod Touch, 4th gen

iPhone 4

iPad, 3rd  gen (Retina iPad)

iPod Touch, 3rd gen

iPhone 3G S

iPad 2

iPod Touch, 2nd gen

 

 

iPad (original)

iPod Touch, 1st gen

 

iOS 7: Release Date & Availability

 

iOS 7 will be available as an over-the-air update for the following devices:

 

  • iPhone: iPhone 4 or later
  • iPad: iPad 2 or later, iPad Mini
  • iPod Touch: iPod Touch 5th generation only

iOS 7 is currently available as a developer preview. If you’re a registered as a developer with Apple, you can download a beta of iOS 7 to see what the hype is all about. For everyone else, iOS 7 is likely to undergo some changes before its final release this autumn. The new iPhone (iPhone 5S or iPhone 6) is also likely to be released at the same time.

 

Your Thoughts…

 

iOS 7 is the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Launching this autumn, it’ll bring a fresh new interface to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. It’ll also bring features such as a new Control Centre and improved multitasking. Along with the top-to-bottom design overhaul, iOS 7 will bring new photography features, AirDrop and an updated version of Siri.

 

What do you think of iOS 7? Are you a fan of the new design? Will you upgrade to iOS 7 or would you prefer to stay on iOS 6 instead? We’d love to hear your thoughts: please drop us a comment below and let us know what you think!

 

Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.

32 Comments
graduate
Some things about iOS will be great, not sure on the look though.
handy giff-staffer

Hold on, are Apple removing Siri from the 3rd gen iPad, or are they just not enabling the new features?

adept
Are we going to be abile to the hot stop without jailbreaking
consultant
wow!
pupil

Looks a awful lot "cleaner" than IOS6 and its predecessors. Looks good.

newcomer

looks very similar to that of android. running out of original ideas

governor

personally think iradio is gonna be a seller feature..

top cat

I don't like the new icons! Smiley Surprised

maestro

I quite like it to be honest. Looks lighter and more "friendly". 

 

Looking at both of them, I think iOS 7 looks more colourful and wanting to be used.

 

I'm not surprised because the software designer is Jony Ive, and I don't think he's got many flaws. 

grand master

I'm running iOS7 on my 4S and apart from the bugs, which are expected as its only a beta, I must say I love it, vastly improved look and feel over iOS6, of most parts, a few icons and button are in my opion worse Smiley Tongue

 

The only few niggly things, which only really are because I've used iOS6, are when taking a photo before, you used to be able to hold the shutter until the photo is just right then take the photo, now, it takes the photo the minute you tap it, tad annoying bout i you get used to it, and also, before I used to just double click the home button slide to access the music control, it's now slide up 

 

So really not that bigger issues, overall greatly improved over iOS6 it will be amazing, when they sort it out Smiley Tongue

 

@paul1978 No sorry, iOS 7 won't allow hotspot connectivity, that will only happen if giffgaff get an official carrier file

 

@t_will I'm pretty sure Siri updates are coming to  iPad 3 apple say iPad with retina display, which the 3 does, but the wording on the apple site, as previously they say iPad 3rd generation or above, but i can't see why I wouldn't come to 3 aswell as 4