Back in 2007, the iOS was a major breakthrough – it changed the way we use our phones, its brilliance lay in simplicity and the intuitive, intelligent use of keys. It was the first time we could use gestures to access the device’s features; iOS succeeded where others failed. Six years later, we’re treated to iOS 7 – iPhone’s complete redesign of user interface. Can the new operating system keep up with Android’s vast versatility and ingenuity or will it crash and burn?
Before we start breaking the system bit by bit, we ought to let you know that the new iOS 7, regardless of its redesign, still maintains the feeling of the previous iOS. You still swipe left and right to browse apps, but there are small changes and additions that make this operating system interesting.
Right at the beginning, you’ll notice a huge difference in the way the system is presented. Rather than looking streamlined and business-like, iOS 7 seems to have taken a trip to the candy store. This is more of a preference thing, whether you like the cotton-candy look or the old-school feel is really up to you. There are hits and there are misses. The new Game Center is much nicer to look at than the poker-table of the previous iOS, but then the Notes app has been reduced to a white canvas, making it a very dull presence. In addition, wallpapers now furnish the background, giving the user a sense of owned, personalized space. The OS is peppered with design mishaps, but it does have a certain kiddie-pool charm.
Multiple apps have also been redesigned – the messages, the phone, and several others. The overhaul feels like almost like having a new device again, and exploring what each app does now is its own delight.
The changes give Apple’s devices a shiny-new feel, but fail to innovate when the competition already had all of these same ideas on their smartphones. The new notification center is now organized, gone are the stacks of notifications, the mess is replaced by the notifications of today, tomorrow, and the ones you missed. It’s a welcome change for anyone with a huge contact list and a hectic schedule. It’s a relief to see an organized list that structures your day. Siri has become a little smarter – it can now access Wikipedia and speak in a male voice. The camera app has also seen a huge overhaul – it can now apply effects in real time, quickly change interfaces, and take quick shots for subjects on the move. Out of all the add-ons, the biggest one has got to be the control center – an easy shortcut to settings accessed by scrolling up from any app and any page on the iPhone. Here, you’ll find all the necessities: airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-fi, ‘do not disturb,’ as well as the calculator, camera and even a flashlight. On multiple occasions, I found the control center extremely helpful – especially when trying to prolong battery life.
A great addition is the upgraded security, iOS 7 makes it harder for thieves to just keep the phone. Gone are the days of simply plugging in your phone and rebooting it. This time around, if you want to reboot your system, regardless whether it is turned on or off, it requires the input of the your Apple ID, making the iPhone useless for most thieves. The music app also brings in iTunes Radio, a service similar to Pandora, but with a few upgrades. One of the great features is the ability to buy any song you like right then and have it download into the phone.
iOS 7 is more of an upgrade of necessities – it’s fallen far behind the competition. If you’ve owned one of the other smartphones in the market, iOS 7 will look and feel old. iOS 7 doesn’t bring any new features that would make the iPhone stand out, rather, the OS was updated to stand without falling. There’s still a few bugs that need to be addressed, but in the meantime, iOS 7 does bring a solid upgrade to the existing iOS 6.
So, is the new iOS good as we’re told? What should Apple have added more to make it original?