Although some Apple fans have been camping outside the company’s stores for days and even weeks to be first in line to taste two new flavours of iPhone, today we can already experience a key part of what’s going to make these new handsets stand out from their predecessors – iOS 7.
Brand new look
Sir Jony Ive is the man at Apple who previous laid pen to paper to put together the initial designs for company’s most iconic hardware, but with the departure of Scott Forstall following the somewhat shaky arrival of iOS 6, Ive was brought in to helm the next iteration of iOS, and it’s safe to say he’s made some changes.
The UI has been completely reworked. The clean lines, bolder colour palette and minimalist overall aesthetic might come as a surprising change to those at home with iOS 6’s look.
Transitions between apps and homescreens are slicker and fundamental UI differences take the shape of a more advance app switching screen, and a faux-3D tab view in Safari. To keep the UI looking consistent, backgrounds on aspects like the keyboard, Siri and Control Center now all feature a frosted look, so you can still make out what’s going on behind; Ive described this as part of one of the ‘layers’ in iOS 7.
You’re the Centre of everything
One of the significant new additions that long-time iOS users will greatly welcome is the introduction of Control Centre. Much like the notifications panel pulls down from the top, a swipe up from the bottom of the screen practically anywhere within the UI will reveal a new panel packed with toggles and sliders. From Control Centre you’ll be able to slide brightness and volume, up and down, pause, play and skip music tracks, toggle aspects like WiFi, Airplane mode and Bluetooth on or off and even have access to tools like a torch, calculator and Air Drop.
The notifications panel, now called Notifications Centre has also grown three new tabs labelled ‘Today’, ‘All’ and ‘Missed’. With these new filters you’ll better be able to established when and from where events occurred and it’ll keep tabs on the last 24 hours so you really don’t miss anything.
Share through the air
Whilst many rival smartphones have looked to NFC as a new way to establishing file sharing from device to device, Apple brings the Air Drop brand from its computers to iOS 7. You’ll be able to choose pictures, videos, messages, files, anything you want to share, and have the additional option of Air Drop, which broadcasts a file sharing invite to other iOS devices in the nearby areas. What’s more you can set each transfer so that it only shares with friends, or shoot your favourite snaps out to everyone.
Both taking and viewing photos with an iOS 7 device is a new experience, especially when compared to iOS 6. The camera interface now features different shooting modes, simply by swiping left and right. As well as standard photos, you can access a square and a panorama-shooting mode as well as video recording and colourful filters can be applied across all of these modes.
Not unlike iPhoto on a Mac, the Photos app now organises your shots and clips into distinct events with the most specific instances grouped as Moments, showing you only a few photos at a time. Zooming out, however, will let you see photos grouped over a few days and by location in sets called Collections and zooming out even further shows you an overview of your shots by year, which you can still browse, simply by dragging your finger over to magnify each thumbnail.
Siri’s been to school
One of the last key upgrades that iOS 7 brings is a smarter Siri. Apple’s educated voice assistant now features a clearer, more natural sounding voice, can be asked to toggle settings like Bluetooth on or off and can even draw information from Wikipedia and Twitter as well as continuing to offer a wealth of knowledge of significant people, sports scores, restaurant recommendations and everything else iOS 6 users have already grown used to.