iOS 7 marks the first huge change that has been seen in the iOS ecosystem. Making a transition to a flat UI, the latest iteration boasts a lot of new additions and functionality that are focused toward modernizing the iOS environment. The onus for Jony Ive has been to create a flat design that reflects what other manufacturers are doing in terms of their mobile platforms, like Google has done with Android. Let’s delve into what has changed with iOS 7.
iOS 7 has a flat UI that features a new system font. Gone are the faux-3D visual effects and the leathery look, and even the lock screen gets an overhaul. A major change is that the Notification Center is now accessible using the lock screen. A new Control Center menu is added that gives you a set of quick-action toggles for commonly used functions. Also, multitasking is on by default for all apps, and apps can also be updated in the background automatically. The multitasking view features a card-based interface that shows large previews of apps.
Safari has also gotten a new look and now features better full-screen navigation and has a new tab overview that is very similar to Google’s Chrome. Also seen is tighter Twitter integration. Camera also gets a reworked design, with new tools and features that let you edit images more easily. Images taken now are categorized into Moments, and can be sorted using location and time. Also, Calendar, Mail and Weather get a new design overhaul and now work well with gestures.
Control Center features a host of toggles that can be reached through a single gesture, and it includes settings for screen brightness, music, data, Bluetooth and several more. Earlier, such customization was available to users who have jailbroken their devices in the form of SBsettings. So it is nice to see this feature being included natively as it makes life a lot easier when it comes to accessing settings with much more ease.
AirDrop is similar to Android Beam. It enables you to quickly send photos, videos and other data through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. File transfers are encrypted, so you can share content without any worries. Featuring a sleek UI, this feature is one that was sorely missing in iOS till now.
Notification Center has a tighter integration overall and includes better push notifications, with your notifications now syncing across devices so that you don’t see the same notification once you log in to another device. It also includes a card-based interface that allows you to see your notifications based on toggles like “Today”, “All” and “Missed”. The Notification Center is vaguely similar to Google Now.
Siri has also been reworked, and you can now choose between a male or female voice for the AI engine. It also has gotten better social network integration through Twitter and is also set to become available in more languages in the near future.
iTunes Radio, while being late, is still going to be a game changer. The streaming music service will feature a Genius-like recommendation engine that will search your music library and offer suggestions based on the genre and artists you usually listen to. The service will feature ads for free users and will be ad-free for subscribers of iTunes Match. The interface also has a “Buy” button that lets you buy a song you’re listening to directly from within iTunes, which features a catalog of over 26 million songs.
Overall, it is clear that the focus with iOS 7 is to maintain a tighter integration between hardware and software. It is clear that Jony Ive has meshed both so that they essentially focus on an element that has been integral to Apple: design.