MANILA, Philippines – Back in 2012 Apple let go of long-time employee and Steve Jobs-ally Scott Forstall. Forstall, along with Jobs was seen to be a major proponent of a design movement called skeuomorphism – which takes design cues from real life objects and interprets them in user interface of software and application. For example the iOS Notes app resembles a yellow pad, iBooks – a wooden bookshelf, and Contacts & Find My Friends – faux leather binding. Apple lead hardware designer Jony Ive, known for his clean cut, minimalist industrial design was assigned to step for Forestal. Ive, a major critique of skeuomorphism was expected to bring changes to iOS.
As expected Ive delivered.
Today at the worldwide developers conference Apple unveiled its upcoming smartphone operating system iOS 7. Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling this update the “biggest change” since the introduction of the iPhone back in 2007.
The new user interface sees a major design overhaul, with a flat design, translucencies, and a new thinner font. Gone are 3D-like app icons, drop shadows and bold primary colors. Instead Ive introduces a new palette of modern shades and tones.
Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design stresses the power in the simplicity of iOS’ new design, “There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation—it’s about bringing order to complexity. iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals.”
These design changes are said to make the phone appear bigger. The new fonts are said to create even sharper text on Retina displays. Users will also notice subtle changes, like dots that replace the signal bars, a moving lock screen wallpaper that responds to the phone’s orientation.
Beyond the look and feel of iOS other notable features include:
A much requested feature is Apple’s adaptation of what Android users call the drop down control panel. In iOS 7 it’s a swipe-up menu that gives users quick access to frequently used functions like turning WiFi or Bluetooth on or off, brightness controls, volume, and shortcuts to common apps like calculator, flashlight and camera.
A novel new feature in Mac OS X – Air Drop is almost like Bluetooth in a sense that its a way of easily transferring files from one Mac to another. Apple adds Air Drop support to iOS 7 giving users the ability to share files between supported iOS devices and Macs. Aside from photos it isn’t clear what other types of files users can share using Air Drop for iOS. It is interesting to note that because of this development it is unclear if furture iPhones will include support for Near Field Communication (NFC) which other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung utilize to share files between devices. Users with NFC enabled smartphones can just tap their phones together to start a file transfer.
Camera / Photos
An enhanced cameras app adds Instagram like features including photo filters and a square camera option. Switching between camera modes (standard camera, video, square, and panorama) are just a swipe away. The Photos app also gets a new feature called Moments – similar to Events on iPhoto its a way to organize your photos based on time and location. iCloud support
Auto App Updates
App developers will be pleased to see that Apple has improved on multitasking abilities including allowing apps to update in the background – another feature currently enjoyed by Android users. iOS users need to manually trigger app updates, less savvy users go without ever updating installed apps.
Users can now make FaceTime audio calls over a cellular network. This will compete directly with existing apps like Viber and to a certain extend regular voice calls. Previously FaceTime was only a video calling application.
Find My iPhone Activation
Find My iPhone is a built-in safety setting that allows users to locate missing iPhones as long as the service is kept on and the device is connected to a data network. In iOS 7 users will be required to enter an Apple ID and password before they can disable the service.
iOS 7 supports the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th gen) and will be available sometime between September to November 2013. – Rappler.com