At the WWDC this year, the folks at Apple made a few announcements that people have been looking forward to. For those of you who missed the stream, here’s a quick look at the things Tim Cook discussed with the rest of the Apple-loving world.
First, and arguably the star of the whole show, is iOS7. The update to the current engine behind Apple’s touch-driven devices brings a beautiful new level of design.
First, the cosmetic. Apart from gorgeous new typeface across the whole system, a more unified look to the icons and an updated color palette, iOS 7 will also bring eye-catching transparencies that not only give apps a sort of hierarchy as you view them, but also help the colors from your wallpaper blend more naturally with other OS elements, creating a single, cohesive feel to the who experience.
The OS will also work in tandem with the iDevice’s accelerometer to render realistic-looking parallax that makes the home screen appear as if it were in 3D. The icons (as well as some other things we will talk about later) seem a little familiar-looking, but it is all for the best I believe. The whole experience looks really great, and does a lot to change the feel of the operating system, which was clearly starting to show its age. This gets Apple on closer footing with other OSs, such as Android, that allow users to have a little more eye-candy than a simple, stock OS has to offer.
Functionally, the new OS also has a few new tricks. The Photo App has been updated to be more user-friendly, allowing you to simply across the screen to switch modes. The app also uses location information to intelligently organize photos, which should prove a boon to those who find themselves spending inordinate amounts of time sorting through snapshots. It also allows for a shared photostream that lets others upload photos to your stream and come up with a more comprehensive view of the action.
iOS 7 also highlights their App Store, which happens to be the largest one in the world. It is also location-aware, and will offer suggestions on relevant apps depending on where you find yourself. iOS also has Air Drop, a sharing facility that allows you to share files with people near you. Once you find you have something to share, Air Drop lets you know if there are contacts nearby, and lets you send the data to them, “no bumping required.” Safari has also been redesigned to allow for full-screen browsing and better bookmark management, among other things. Siri has also gotten a boost. Apart from male and female voices, and a less robotic tone, you now have access to system settings through him/her as well.
You can now also swipe up from any screen to bring up a convenient little system menu to switch commonly-used functions on and off, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the like.
The system will also offer better multitasking abilities, with the the device looking at usage patterns to determine which apps are prioritized while running in the background, so services such as push notifications aren’t going to be interrupted. There is also a change to the multitasking menu, which looks to be a little more convenient than the tiny, old icons of previous versions.
The people at Apple are making a pretty big deal about iOS7, calling it the biggest revolution in user interfaces since the original iPhone came out in 2007. To be honest, some of the system features look eerily familiar, but are very welcome additions to the operating system as a whole. The additional features Apple has included are clearly ground-breaking–for Apple. Android users have had access to many of these features for several iterations of their OS already. I don’t think it is a bad thing that Apple has jumped on and adapted some of these features and controls for their mobile OS. If anything, it’s great that they are letting iOS users experience the convenience of such features, because really, that’s what owning a device is all about: convenience. Apple and Android fanboys can keep bashing each other all the way to next Sunday, but the bottom line is that many people will have an easier time handling the devices now, and that’s a really good thing all around.
That being said, the nice thing about Apple’s execution that sets it apart from ‘Droid, is that it is done a little more elegantly, it looks jus a little more refined and polished, and this is what Apple has always been about.
Release is scheduled to be in the Fall of this year, so hang on to your iOS devices and keep your eyes peeled for the update notice on your device.