On September 18th, Apple released iOS 7, the latest edition of their operating system to iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. Over the last several years, Apple has continued to add new features, while keeping the same general look and feel. With iOS 7, Apple has really stepped up the mobile operating system game and made some MAJOR design changes.
I have been using iOS 7 for a few days now on my iPhone 4S. It has been a very, very smooth experience for me. The more I use it, the more I understand and appreciate the design. The smallest touches seem to make the biggest impact.
When you first see iOS 7 on your device, it is completely different, but strangely familiar. Apple has kept the gestures the same, but made everything look very different. When you unlock your screen, you now find that you can swipe anywhere to unlock your device. My first thought was “oh, that’s a nice touch”.
Then I noticed something unexpected. I had a very lightly colored background image, and I was having a hard time reading my top bar that has the time, and my signal strength. Apple has made iOS 7 incorporate a lot of translucency, so your background image really changes the way your phone feels and looks. It really gives the user a lot more control over how their phone looks. Again, I think “oh, that’s a nice touch”.
A while later, I find myself in need of a flashlight. I started going for my handy flashlight app to turn my camera flash on…but then I realize that Apple has built in a flashlight button to the Control Center. I swipe up from the bottom, and turn on the flashlight. Well…that’s another nice touch!
As I discovered more about iOS 7, I continued to have little moments of delight…not a bad first impression!
I have two Apple devices that run iOS 7. One of them was updated using iTunes, and the other one was updated “over the air” using the software update function. Both worked flawlessly (once Apple’s servers caught up to demand). The upgrade process took about an hour…but it didn’t need any thinking or troubleshooting on my part.
Apple has always made iOS updates super easy since iOS 5 came out a few years ago. Every device that can handle it gets it on day 1.
Look and Feel
It is colorful. Very, very colorful. Apple seems to be embracing the quirky world of color now, and it is done in a very polished way. It seems like every color on my iPad and iPhone is bolder and brighter. It seems like they are making a statement that they are boldly redesigning iOS, and they are standing behind it.
As with any change, it will take a few days to learn how to recognize the new icons, but one thing is for sure…the old iOS 6 looks…well…OLD by comparison.
The music player…oh how I love the new design! And iTunes Radio? PURE AWESOME! I will be honest…I really did not like the music player in iOS 6, especially on the iPad.
iTunes Radio is quite simply, a perfect merge of live radio and streaming technology. They have enlisted guest DJs to put playlists together complete with commentary before some of the songs. Oh, and the custom playlists, I absolutely LOVE the huge catalog they have to work with. When I was listening to Pandora, I would sometimes start hearing repeated songs after about 2 hours of listening. With iTunes Radio, I have not heard a repeat all day!
This definitely is not a complete review of iOS 7, really it is more of an opinion piece. I have used every version of iOS and Mac OS that has ever gone public, and I must say that I am happier with this release than any other version I have had the pleasure of using.
iOS 7 is packed with nice surprises, wrapped in something that is familiar, and new, all at the same time. Download and enjoy!