Could the mobile world be any more dynamic? Five years ago it seemed Apple had distanced themselves from the competition with the introduction of iPhone OS (which was renamed “iOS” in 2010). Though Apple appeared to hold onto the lead in the mobile industry for the better part of those years, Android and Windows weren’t far behind… and today they’re all neck and neck.
Many consumers are concerned that Apple has lost their innovation, their edge, their x-factor. Some think that the late Steve Jobs was that x-factor, and that his passing revealed just how much he meant to Apple’s success. The fact of the matter is that Apple stalled just enough for the likes of Android and Windows to catch back up. But make no mistake… Apple is not throwing in the towel. In fact, Apple is gearing up to release their latest mobile OS in September, iOS7.
“True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation… it’s about bringing order to complexity.” – Jonathan Ive (Senior Vice President of Design: Apple Inc.)
If Apple manages to bring simplicity and order to the mobile world with iOS7 as their advertising suggests, it could be a massive step toward edging out the competition. Here are just a few reasons Apple mobile users may want to stick around awhile.
1. New Look and Feel
Apple has gone with a very modern and simple looking “flat design”. Though parts of the design have been hotly debated within the design community, (mainly due to the use of gradients and semi-complex icon design) most will agree that it’s a huge improvement over previous versions.
One major improvement is the addition of translucency allowing the user to have a sense of context. While texting, the user can actually see messages coming from beneath the keyboard. (A very cool effect)
Another design feature is the addition of parallax backgrounds giving a 3d feel to a 2d image. When the user tilts their device the perspective will shift giving a feeling of depth. This feature also looks very cool in the weather app with live backgrounds that appear to be raining, snowing, storming, etc.
Overall, this OS is made to be VERY user friendly. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t need to customize everything and just wants to be able to use and understand something right out of the box; iOS7 should be right up your alley.
2. Control Center
It’s finally here, a legitimate Control Center! The user now has a way to access key features just by swiping up from the bottom of the device. This will save users multiple hand gestures throughout each day. Though this is a necessary addition that has been a long time coming, Apple has done a great job creating a beautiful interface as well as selecting the right settings and features for this panel.
Some key elements of this panel include a WIFI toggle, a Bluetooth toggle, a do not disturb toggle, an airplane mode toggle, brightness setting, iTunes controls, the flashlight, the timer, the calculator, and the camera. And best of all, the user can now access both the Notification Center and the Control Center from the Lock screen.
We’ve had multitasking in the past, but now multitasking is “smart”. Your device will learn when you use your apps and can update content before you launch specific apps. So, if you typically check your Facebook app before work each morning, your feed will already be ready to go. Multitasking also has a beautiful interface allowing the user to choose an app, or quit an app just by swiping it up and out of preview.
The camera has been redesigned as well. The interface is super simple, a full screen view of the image with the settings on a translucent layer. Depending on your Apple device, you will be able to quickly swipe back and forth between photo, video, square, and panoramic and some users will even be able to put filters on before snapping the picture. (Happy Instagramming)
Siri also got an upgrade with an all new interface that fades into view on top of whatever the user had open previously. The user will now be able to choose a male or female version of Siri, and the voices are much clearer and natural sounding. The best addition is probably Siri’s ability to control additional features such as playing voice mail, controlling iTunes, viewing tweets, turning on Bluetooth, etc.
6. iTunes Radio
Who doesn’t like free streaming radio with some of the best selections of music? It’s pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few neat features that other online radios may not have.
You can buy the songs you’re hearing on iTunes with one (hopefully not just one) click. iTunes Radio will be ad-free with an iTunes Match subscription which stores all your music in iCloud. Also, Siri will take iTunes Radio requests such as “play more songs like this”, “who sings this”, or “play rap radio”.
This won’t be a game-changing feature, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Safari is getting a much needed complete overhaul. To mobile users that heavily use the internet, this is possibly the single most impressive feature in iOS7. (If this is done well, it could keep many iPhone users from switching to an Android or Windows device)
Safari will now utilize the entire screen for browsing by hiding top and bottom elements during scrolling much like the chrome app many use today (an essential feature on a phone considering the size).
Tapping the search field will allow you to search (obviously), but will also bring up a page full of icons giving you easy access to your favorite websites. Also, the bookmarks button now opens a pane with 3 tabs including bookmarks, shared links, and reading list.
Next, the tabs interface is all new with a virtual 3D rolodex that the user can scroll through, tapping and holding to move tabs, tapping the “x” or tapping, holding and swiping to the left to remove tabs. iCloud tabs will also be available at the bottom of the local Safari tabs overlaid on top of them.
One thing that differentiates Safari from the Chrome app is the swiping gestures while browsing. In Chrome when you swipe left or right, you switch between tabs, but Safari is introducing the ability to navigate backward and forward by swiping left or right. This seems like a much better use of the gesture.
Safari also gets the iCloud Keychain feature which basically allows users to save their addresses, passwords, credit cards, etc. to eliminate the need to enter all that information multiple times.
Oh, and last but certainly not least… users can now have UNLIMITED tabs open at once! This is critical to those heavy internet users who want to be able to save stuff for later without having to bookmark pages or save them to a reading list.
At best, Apple’s iOS7 has the potential to cause a paradigm shift
in the mobile world, and at worst it looks to be a drastic
improvement over its own outdated system.