With the WWDC 2013 (Worldwide Developers conference) being announced, it’s safe to assume that Apple plans on releasing the much awaited iOS 7 - at least the beta version for its developers.
Back in September 2012 (roughly 7 months ago) when iOS 6 was launched, nobody imagined it would be THAT bad. Having said that, I personally feel it is an understatement. Fans around the world have shown strong aversion towards the present day, full-of-skeuomorphism design of the iOS 6. The abhorrence has been so strong that the OS has often been called as ‘stale’ and ‘boring’. Almost 6 versions and 5 years old, the iOS hadn’t seen a single design overhaul.
But come June 10, 2013 and all that is set to change (hopefully)! Some interesting rumors are going viral on the internet as to what the head of Human interface department; Sir Jonathan Ive plans to do with iOS 7.
What you can expect from Apple’s OS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch:
FLAT DESIGN –
The current (and older) versions of the iOS reek of skeuomorphic designs. Be it the wooden panels in the Game Center, wooden shelves of the newsstand, yellow papers for the notes, the leather used in the contacts and calendar apps on the iPad and the list goes on. Though the weather and stocks app are third party stock applications (Yahoo), they look rather cluttered and often fail to update on GPRS/EDGE and slow internet speeds in India.
UPDATE – Apple seems to have taken this too seriously. However, they’ve managed not to make a mockery out of it. The new set of icons for the default apps look hideous but the overall design looks amazing. Jonny Ive seems to have stretched an arm and leg coupled with a lot of sleepless nights to make it look so beautiful. To be honest, my heart skipped a beat when they revealed thejaw dropping gorgeous design.
The design updates include:
- New Keyboard Design
- Linen Textured background changed to frosted glass overlay (notification center and Siri)
- Calendar App
- Weather App/Widget
- Stocks App/Widget
|Left: Artist's impression of a flatter design for the weather app|
Right: Current Yahoo! weather app on the iOS
So what exactly is the flat design? To start off, all the aesthetics will go the Scott Forstall way – Out of Apple, Inc. The company has dropped subtle hints of this transition when they changed the overall look of the podcast. Internet is abuzz with the rumors that the software engineers at Apple have been busy ‘deforstallizing’ the iOS 7. The OS is also set to have a new set of icons for its default apps.
|Left: Old version of the Podcast App | Right: New design changes|
GESTURE CONTROL –
While this may not see the light of the day with iOS 7, the internet world has been speculating that Ive has had meetings with makers of gesture control technologies to discuss its implementation with the hardware.
UPDATE – 3D rendering! The iOS seems to incorporate motion tracking where one can peek behind the icons on the Home screen. It looks something like the demonstration in the following video:
ADDED FUNCTIONALITY –
It is rumored that the software engineers responsible for the iOS (including the engineers pulled from the OS X for Mac) are looking to revamp the Calendar and Email apps ‘dramatically’. This could mean that not only will they get a design overhaul, but will see functionality changes as well. However, these changes remain a best kept secret with the company and its employees.
|Image Courtesy Engadget | Control Center|
UPDATE – You now gain access to quick settings. Swipe up from the bottom bezel and you reach a quick settings menu. Here, you can quickly change Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi On/Off, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb Mode and Lock Screen. The ‘control center’ also features a built in Flashlight, Airplay and AirDrop features.
Since the iOS was launched in 2007, one of its key features has been its simplicity of operation. Be it a 70 year old or a 5 year old, one has learnt how to operate the OS with a bit of hit and trial. With the operating system expected to have an overhaul pretty soon, the company is rumored to maintain the simplicity of the OS, despite adding more functionality and design changes.
UPDATE (Rumor) – Apple first introduced Airdrop Wi-Fi direct (an application that creates an ad-hoc network between 2 or more devices) for Mac computers in OS X Lion in 2011. Since then, it has been rumored that Apple has been planning and testing Airdrop on iOS devices as well. It was planned for iOS 6, but, the technology (Wif-Fi direct) required to run the application wasn't available back then. It was only in iPhone 5 that the Wi-Fi chipset was updated that supported Wi-Fi Direct. Since the required technology is available now, it is believed that Airdrop will be built in the OS and for the 1st time, iOS to iOS sharing could see the light of the day.
UPDATE – Here is where Apple has really played well. By bringing in a complete design overhaul and added functionality, the simplicity of the OS remains intact. It just became more pleasing to the eyes.
OTHER UPDATES –
Find My iPhone now features an ‘Activation Lock’. What it basically does is, if your phone gets stolen, and the thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone or wipes off all the data, they will not be able to re-activate the device as the feature will prompt for the user’s Apple ID and the password.
Siri has been updated to perform more tasks. It can now adjust your phone’s brightness, Twitter, Bing and Wikipedia. It has a new voice and of course, now it provides you an option of Male/Female voices along with voices in French and German language for the time being. Apple has also revealed plans of how they propose to integrate Siri in cars.
Instead of swiping from left to right to unlock your device, you will now have to swipe up; something that seems to be inspired from Android. Talking of the Home Screen, the notification center can be accessed in the home screen by swiping from top to bottom.
|Image Courtesy MacRumors | L to R: Mail, Weather, Messages|
The Mail and Messages App have a much cleaner look with the overall usage of white. Photo attachments in the mail app will now be visible from end-to-end in the mail itself. Individual emails can also be deleted by swiping left to right on that particular email.
The Photos App has been updated to organize the photos in a collection called ‘moments’ and if your further pinch out, moments get aggregated into bigger chunks. You can scrub your fingers left or right to edit the photo. Photo stream has been updated to sync photos and videos with iCloud.
The Camera App now features translucent bars instead of standalone buttons. The app also adds instagram-type filters for the ones who love ruining their photos.
|Image Courtesy MacRumors | L to R: iTunes Radio, Photos, AirDrop|
The Music App has also undergone an overhaul which now looks like iTunes 11 for Mac and Windows. The app features a radio which is ad-free for iTunes Match subscribers. You can even create your own Radio stations and broadcast your music. Something that would be a great feature for budding musicians.
Multitasking has been upgraded to a whole new level. It will be available for all the apps and double tapping the home button will reveal the current view of the app along with its icon at the bottom. Earlier this year, this has been demoed by a tweak in the jailbreak community. True multitasking will be on offer as the iOS will get accustomed to your habits and keep only frequently used apps running. For example, if you use Facebook more than Twitter, the OS will recognize this and keep Facebook running in the background, thus ensuring an updated feed. This will subsequently result in lesser battery consumption and specific internet toggling of apps.
iCloud in itself will feature a service called iCloud Keychain which will store your passwords and credit card details in the cloud. While filling forms, this feature will come in handy.
Apple has revealed plans of bringing nearly 1500 new APIs for its app developers. This brings in the possibility of existing apps being updated with added functionality and new apps being developed with these APIs.
The beta version of iOS 7 for the iPhone will be available from today itself whereas the iPad version will be rolled out in the coming week.
Apple has done a great job on doubling down on secrecy to maintain the excitement quotient. This seems easier on software updates as compared to Hardware as the former is performed in-house.
Apple has released iOS 7 to the Public. As is the case with all servers, Apple servers have been brutally hammered and users are finding it difficult to update their devices.
As for the update, it is only 750 MB but requires 3.25 GB of free space which seems rather odd considering no previous major iOS update required so much of free space.
Personally, I love the new look of the iOS. It seems to be something that the geniuses (no pun intended) at Apple would make.
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