The hot topic at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this week was the predicted radical redesign of their iOS operating system, iOS7, which was overseen by Jony Ive, their British-born design chief. Expected to be available for general release around September this year, the main talking point has been the change in the ‘look’ of the user interface.
Apple will no longer be using skeuomorphism (graphics which make objects/apps appear like they’re made from textures such as leather and wood etc) and will instead be using a simpler and bolder design which should be easier and, in Apple’s words, ‘more enjoyable’ to use. In effect they have removed a lot of the clutter and have aimed to make the navigation a lot more intuitive – anything which was deemed to have not added any value has been axed.
The look of the icons has been transformed with every single icon redrawn using a defined grid system and a specific colour palette. These icons float on a transparent background (see the picture) which moves with a parallax effect when the handset is tilted in different directions giving off a bit of three-dimension feel . There are also some fun new cinematic-style animations’, for example the revamped weather app will have rain, snow or hail bouncing around or flashes of lightning or fog passing across your screen depending, of course, on the weather forecast!
As well as the visual redesign, iOS7 also has several other exciting new features such as the swipe Control Center – a new hub for many of the important controls you’re likely to use frequently. The Control Center will give you quick access to a great choice of controls including volume, music, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen brightness, the do not disturb feature and a button to turn your handset into a torch! There are also very handy short-cuts to the camera, timer and calculator.
Other iOS7 updates include Airdrop, which enables you to quickly share files, emails and content with friends and colleagues nearby. There’s also an update to Safari, which hides buttons to give you more space to view your screen, provides the option to swipe to move forwards or backwards through pages and offers a handy 3D tab system so you can have multiple tabs open which can be navigated easily.
We also like the new Notification Centre which can be swiped-down from any screen and has information on missed calls, new emails and texts and to-do lists. It also has a really handy feature called ‘Today’ which gives you a summary of today’s important things to do, birthday reminders, details of all your calls and messages, a weather summary and traffic updates.
All in all, it’s a bold move away from the operating system Apple users are familiar with and one that’s been a pretty long time in the making. Bu,t if the reality lives up to the hype, there are some brilliant new features and some overdue updates to others.
We can’t wait to get our hands on it and try it out for ourselves!