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iOS7 Thoughts…

Posted on Jun 22, 2013

So I’ve been using iOS7 now for around two weeks now, I didn’t update straight away following the WWDC announcement as although it looked ‘interesting’ I didn’t feel the benefits of the redesign and few enhancements outweighed loosing jailbreak.

I regularly make use of jailbreak features like personal hotspot (usually disabled on GiffGaff), zephyr (which has become second nature), swipeSelection (for fast text editing) amongst other great tweaks.

The urge to update was niggling at me and I eventually gave in.

First Impressions

My first impressions are that visually it looks better in real life than it does on photos/videos, OK so the icons could do with some more refinement, I quite like Mantias dribble redesign, and it perhaps suits the white iPhone better than the black (notice how white has been used in all of the Apple material). For a Beta 1, it feels great, to think Jonny Ive and his team pulled this off in less than 8 months is incredible.  I’m slightly worried at what the general public will think in the Fall when it gets officially released and ‘mum and dad’ update to find everything they’d finally got used to has been pulled from under them.


 

Some might say it’s only aesthetic changes that have been made and so this shouldn’t make a difference, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The swipe right to delete an email is now a pull left, the swipe to unlock is now a swipe anywhere, but only one way, the lock screen camera is now tiny, do you tap it, do you swipe it? Pretty straight forward for someone who’s tech savvy but perhaps not so much for that huge new older generation that only tend to use their phone for browsing Facebook and playing Candy Crush.

Can’t please everyone

As with anything in life, you’ll very rarely please everyone and if there’s one constant in life, it’s that people don’t like change. Even pod2G the Apple jailbreak prodigy has announced he hates iOS7 that much he’s converting to Android (he’ll be back soon, I know I’ve been there, done that and the grass is not greener, it’s black, very black). Prior to iOS7 the internet went through a Skeumorphic debate, mainly off the back of Scott Forstalls departure from Apple, around how we no longer need hints towards familiar real world objects in order to make us feel more comfortable using new technology. We no longer need green felt to know we’re in game centre, or faux wood to help us relate to a book shelf in iBooks. Most of this has been stripped away in iOS7 although no all, notes.app still has a paper like texture for example. I personally think Apple have done the right thing, everyone who I’ve shown iOS7 have said it’s about time they updated the look and the love the new look. It immediately makes everything current look dated, to the point where I keep all my app store apps on a separate page because they just don’t fit in.

The small things matter.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Apple is their attention to detail. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this article on complexity that went in to Apples ‘simple’ iOS page transition. iOS7 has been no exception, some of the details really make it feel like a completely new operating system, mainly through incorporating physics (or dynamics as Apple call it) into interactions. Some of my favourite changes include:

- The corners of the screen are now square not rounded.
- Notification centres bounces depending on how hard you swipe it down.
- The switches seem to minutely grow and shrink as you flick them left and right.
- The ‘x’ button to clear in the notification centre rolls left revealing the word ‘clear’ when you tap it and back again when you tap -to clear.
- The wake and sleep is now a brighten/dim rather than straight on/off.
- The camera blur when starting up and closing rather than the iconic shutter.
- The icons bounce off each other when swiping left and right in the multi-tasking window.
- Parallax effects in safari tabs and pop-up’s.

The list goes on; these are just a few examples of how achieving this in fewer than 8 months becomes even more incredible. I’d like to see some more work done around the zoom in/out transition when entering/exiting apps, it’s a little cheesy and a little slow, but other than that I think Apple did a great job.

You can watch the full iOS7  WWDC Keynote here:

 

Conclusion

As said, I’ve only been using iOS7 for a week and already I’m blown away by the improvements, even to the point that I haven’t felt bad about losing some really nice jailbreak tweaks (and the use of some apps). Jonny has done a tremendous job in expressing his design vision across all the teams that contributed to iOS7 resulting in a cohesive, perfectly formed update that will see Apple through the next 5 years, whilst once again setting the standard for mobile operating systems, just as they did back in 2007.