The rumors that Apple would eschew skeuomorphism have come true and, although iOS 7 is on the whole exquisite, there are some misses. There are, of course, new benchmark features, such as Control Center, AirDrop and iTunes Radio, as well as improved Notifications, Safari, Photos and multitasking.
“There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency,” said Jony Ive, senior vice president, Design. “True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation —it’s about bringing order to complexity.”
And, that’s a theme that echoed throughout today’s entire WWDC keynote address, though Ive himself never took the stage.
New and Improved Features
Can My iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Run iOS 7?
• Control Center: — Single gesture access to Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and the ability to adjust screen brightness, pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream your music with AirPlay.
— Instant access to Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight, as well
• Notification Center Available from the Lock screen
— New Today feature offers an at-a-glance view of your day, including weather, traffic, meetings and events
• Multitasking: Devs can enable any app to multitask in the background via a new API
— iOS 7 pays attention to which are used most and automatically keeps content up to date in the background
For those of you keeping score at home, these first three items represent the largest number of complaints about iOS to date. Assuming Apple executes here, usability will improve by orders of magnitude.
• AirDrop: Discover and share documents, etc with friends on the same wi-fi network, instantly
— A zero configuration feature that works with Macs, iPhone, iPad
• New Camera App: Features filters for real-time photo effects. Now includes a square camera option. Easily switch between video, photo, square and panorama cameras with a single swipe
— Moments automatically organizes photos and videos based on time and location
— iCloud Photo Sharing improves on PhotoStream, configurable by user, group, image, album
• Mobile Safari: Improved fullscreen browsing, smart search field, new bookmarks view and improved Tabs
— iCloud Keychain provides access to all passwords, suggests complex passwords and keeps credit card info for instant user access
— Enhanced Parental Controls
Perhaps a minor point, but some of the new app icons in iOS 7 are simply unattractive and non-intuitive. Perhaps the best example of the new ugly is the Mobile Safari icon (image above, Multitasking).
• Siri — New male and female (Goodbye, Samantha) voices
— Twitter, Wikipedia integration
— Bind Web search with apps
— Change device settings, access voicemail
• Music app: All-new user interface
— iTunes Radio (not iRadio) is a free Internet radio service with over 200 ad-supported stations
— iTunes Radio is ad-free for iTunes Match subs (currently $25/year)
Siri doesn’t seem to have changed very much, eh? Of course, actual use may prove otherwise, but I expect Siri will continue to be a source of criticism for Apple.
Assuming Apple maintains the current iTunes Match price of $25 per year, iTunes Radio will be a massive hit. Otherwise, iTunes Radio will simply be the default streaming audio service on iOS.
Additional New iOS 7 Features:
— New Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires Apple ID and password before a thief can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased (BRILLIANT!!!)
— Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when use in the dark
— FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network
— Notification sync — Dismiss a Notification once and it goes away everywhere
— Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking
— Tencent Weibo support for users in China
— The ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads
— Enhanced in-car integration, improved Siri Eyes Free
FaceTime audio is a nice feature that should have been in there from the beginning. Now, if only would put IM functionality into FaceTime, as well — it should do all three things well.
iOS 7’s Best New Feature
And, by far the best new feature in iOS 7? App updates are now automatic — say, thank you, Senator McCain.
Again, there are some potential misses in iOS 7, both from a feature (Siri) and design (app icons) perspective. That said, the actual Safari app looks stunning and delivers edge-to-edge views that are uncluttered and it’s all the more powerful with Keychain feature.
iOS 7 is stunning and melds the immediate familiarity of iOS 6 and Jony Ive’s new mobile aesthetic.
Yeah, the haters are gonna hate, but Apple has once again raised the mobile operating system bar… What’s your take?