After creating the ’50 billion app downloads mark’ in history, Apple unveiled iOS 7 at WWDC 2013 along with updated version of Mac OS X and new product Mac Pro. iOS 7 comes with a fully re-designed user interface which is more gesture-driven. Apple changed the entire design of iOS version from skeuomorphic to flat with more white spaces.
According to Jony Ive (Sr. Vice President, Apple) “iOS 7 brings order to complexity”. From Apple’s signature feature of ‘Slide to Unlock’ to introduction of ‘Siri’ many things have been changed. Both from design perspective as well as functionality. Enabling full-screen transparency and smarter multitasking, iOS 7 will surely be on top from other versions.
What’s New in iOS 7?
Some of the key features of iOS 7 are:
- Control Center – Although this feature was available in iPhone earlier, the swipe and select controls from the deck is clubbed and set as a single control. Users can now select the Brightness, Volume Control, Wifi, Bluetooth etc. with a single swipe up.
- Notification Center Interface Update – Rather than just a single list, users can check their missed calls, new mails, to-do list, application notifications in a segmented format. New feature added in this version – “Today” provides users with summary of today at a glance (someone’s birthday, traffic status, weather condition etc.). It also makes it easy for users to sort out on what they missed and what they need to get reminded on. Major change in this feature is enabling the notification center even in a locked iPhone screen with a swipe down.
- Multitasking – iOS 7 learns when users want to use their apps. This feature allows users to update their app contents even before they can launch it.
- Camera App Update – Camera App does have some interesting updates this time. From Instagram like effects for photos to easy swipe between Video, Panorama and Square modes has overall increased the user-friendliness with camera.
- Photos App Update – With much faster and better grouping photo app, users can navigate through their collections, years and moments based on time and place. Apart from earlier photo app features, which had only basic listing and grouping capability, iOS 7 allows users to share the photo via iCloud.
- AirDrop – iOS 7 comes with AirDrop feature which allows users to quickly share files and photos with nearby contacts in couple of simple steps. AirDrop automatically connects via Bluetooth/ Wi-Fi without the users having to set-up anything. The file sharing is secure too.
- Safari Update – Safari update includes new tab view which is similar to CoverFlow previously used in Apple Inc products. Safari update is enabled with a smart search field which stays hidden till user reveals them. This allows more content to be displayed on the screen. This also enables faster webpage loading. New Bookmarks update, Shared Links update and AutoFill feature with iCloud are some of the other new updates in Safari.
- iTunes Radio Service – Apple’s much awaited application for Online Radio Service – iTunes Radio Service is introduced in iOS 7. It streams music from radio stations and personalizes the music users listen to.
- Siri Update – New capabilities are added to previous Siri version. Sound quality is clearer, faster in responding to questions, checks more sources such as Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter. It also includes capabilities such as returning calls, playing voicemail, controlling iTunes Radio etc.
- AppStore Update – iOS 7 introduced new feature called ‘Apps Near Me’ which shows users the applications relevant to the current location and sorts apps based on age group. It also updates, user’s apps seamlessly.
- Security Updates – With ‘Find my iPhone’ feature added in this version, if the user loses their phone, then the user needs to enter Apple User ID and Password to enter into the application, to turn off their phone and to erase the content in the device. This provides additional security for iPhone users.
What’s New in iOS 7 for Developers?
Release of iOS 7 has provided new features and better version for Xcode for app developer. Hands-on coding with the latest iOS version will be good experience for app developers. Some of the changes in this version are:
- With new UI transitions, animations will need to be handled differently
- Getting FullScreen layouts for all the screens will encourage developers to use the complete space
- Sprite Kit introduction for Cocos2D games and graphics will be entirely new for the developers
- Improved MapsKit framework has add-on, enabling 3D maps in applications
- Improved features for background operations such as download content and updates will change the entire app behavior
- GameControllers enable users to add hardware devices via Bluetooth. Application will automatically identify and convert the controls as per the game
- New video and camera APIs are available in SDK
- Inter-App Audio can enable each app to register its own audio stream making it available for other apps to use it for mixing etc.
- Setting up the accessories in iOS like Bluetooth, Wifi Settings, Airplay Speakers will be needed
These are few changes listed. However, there are many more additions in latest Xcode which is useful to developers. From integration stand-up, some integration is made simple, some are new, and few are complex too. However, these integration add lot of value to applications.
What’s New in iOS 7 for UX designers?
iOS 7 UI is all re-designed. Some of the changes are:
- Helvetica font style has been replace with Helvetica Nueue
- Designers now have to design the application in Full screen mode
- Navigations and Tab-bars enabling transparency in the application will make designers much more accurate on the screen designs
- Apple prefers to have the icon grid for the designing application icons
- Designers now have to put lot more white spaces in the screens
iOS 7 and Enterprise Mobility
Security is the primary concern in enterprise mobility. Apple has taken security to next level with their Find my Phone feature enabled. In addition, all the personal and work data are stored in such a way that no third party apps can access the data without prior approval from user (in terms of password or decrypt codes). Some of the benefits of iOS 7 in Enterprise mobility applications:
- Higher protection of work and personal data
- Better management of App licenses
- Seamless enrollment in Mobile Device Management (MDM)
- Wireless App Configuration
- Enterprise SSO (Single Sign On) Support
- Default data protection for third-party apps
- Faster performance and optimized battery consumption
Consumers, UI designers and application developers are eagerly waiting to have hands-on experience with iOS7.
Senior Software Engineer, RapidValue Solutions