Posts Tagged software update

The new iO7 – Is it any good?

September 18, 2013 marked the dawn of the latest mobile operating system from Apple – the iOS 7. To get a feel of what the next generation of apps might look like, you don’t need to look any further than this.

Since its debut in 2007, iOS has followed just about the same design blueprint, with refinements here and there. But what we notice in iOS 7 is a complete overhaul of the operating system’s look and feel, while still maintaining the easy-to-use interface. The unnecessary features have been stripped away, and now the design is flatter as compared to previous versions. The heavy bars at the top or bottom of iOS 6 screens, for instance, have been removed. So have functions such as Edit and Done, with just text being left on show.

Out with the Old, in with the New
Visually, almost everything has been modified in iOS 7 – from the lock screen to the Settings app. Apple gives us a lightweight, straightforward interface with an emphasis on high contrast and thin space-saving text in Helvetica. The richly textured icons have all but been eliminated, and in comes simple schematic-like designs with minimal shading and depth. Similarly, buttons in most of the places have been replaced with either text or icons. The remaining buttons are generally very basic; take the circular border with text in it, for instance.

Simply put, the iOS 7 design is clean and crisp, and regardless of whichever app you’re using, the interface doesn’t get in the way of requested information; be it Notes, Calendar, Safari or any other. What you’re getting is the information you want, as the interface pulls way back and puts the focus on the information on display. But love it or hate it, the new design will need some adjustment.

Locked on
The same key elements present on the iOS 6 lock screen may have been retained by Apple on the new iOS 7, but a thorough makeover has been done too.

Your wallpaper now fills the screen on the new design, personalising your device even the more, as opposed to the iOS 6 where whichever image you chose to embellish the lock screen with looked like an image stuck, a letterboxed one at that, between the unlock slider and the clock. At the top is a clock with the current date, along with a row of icons for carrier, signal strength, battery life, Wi-Fi, and others.

You can swipe your iOS device from anywhere on the lock screen; if there are any notifications and you happen to swipe one, it indents slightly, and the device proceeds to unlock into the app of your choice. Those with a passcode enabled can swipe to the right after which you’ll be directed to a screen with a numeric keypad – or a keyboard for an alphanumeric passcode – where you can input your combination.

Futuristic Feature-rich
The updated Notification Center now furnishes you with weather and your commute details, and what’s in store for you for the day. The new Control Center is a time-saver as it provides quick access to basic settings like brightness and Airplane Mode. It also boasts shortcuts for the timer, calculator, flashlight and camera.

The iOS 7 camera adds new filters and a square-photo option. The Photos app drops the map view and organises your images into events based on location and date.

In comes the AirDrop, a feature iCloud users will find useful as they look to simplify the process of moving photos and files between mobile devices and computers.

The Siri voice-search is now available in male voice, and those who couldn’t take instructions from a female voice now have no excuse. It also defaults to Bing in the case of Web searches and pulls in results from Wikipedia and Twitter.

Multitasking too just got a new meaning with iOS 7. The same Home button double-click now zooms you out to display a mini versions carousel of all your open apps.

Battery Life an Issue
Here are some of the changes you will need to make if you want to get more juice out of your battery.

Automatic Updates
It’s designed to be power-conscious according to Apple, and this is no doubt a time-saver as well because it keeps your apps up-to-date without your indulgence. But if you won’t be using the charger for some time, you might need to disable it.

Background App Refreshing
This is a welcome feature that allows you to multitask with the background apps still active. However, with the default setting allowing all apps to refresh, this is a contributor of battery drain.

As you may have guessed, Spotlight does suck up that battery. Searching for almost anything boosts productivity big time, which in itself means Spotlight is constantly crawling for new data before indexing it. Unless you rely heavily on this feature, you can cope just about well with a partially indexed phone, so consider un-indexing some items.

Frequent Locations
Location-based apps and services are a big battery hog. That might apply to mapping apps, but lurking beneath your Settings is a good number of location services that could be causing more damage than they are of benefit.

You won’t require a great deal of re-learning with the iOS 7. The basic functions and layout are similar; same as the gestures you’ve grown accustomed to, in addition to possibly new ones since the launch of iOS like a right swipe to go back or up a level (applicable in Settings, Mail, Safari etc). There is still an icon grid on the home screen, and at the bottom is a dock with your favourite apps.

Initially, there may be some confusion as you come to grips with all the new icons, but the best thing about it is that everything will still be at the same place as it was before. Apple clearly won on this one, as they set a benchmark for future developments. Again.

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