iOS 7: First Impressions
With Apple’s unveiling of the new iOS 7, a lot of changes are coming. Apple CEO Tim Cook said it is the “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.” My first impression was, “That looks a lot like Android.” This update seems that it will be heavy on UI/UX updates, and as a design-first company, Apple has a lot riding on this update. iOS 7 seems to be a very flat, clean design, which I prefer.
Some of the interesting features include the Command Center, which allows you to control common features of the phone, like the WiFi and screen brightness and even includes a flashlight toggle (sorry Flashlight apps!), plus new sharing capabilities that don’t use NFC–the technology the Galaxy S3/S4 employ–so users can tap their phones together and share photos, playlists, etc.
For my company, Lantern, I noticed some positive aspects of the new OS right away. Aside from the likelihood that flashlight apps slowly will be phased out (Lantern competes on App Store SEO against some of these apps because they use “lantern” and similar terms and descriptions), I like the idea of automatic app updates. Right now, when we release a new version of Lantern, like the one we’ll be releasing this week, iPhone users simply get a small “1″ in the corner of the App Store icon, letting them know a new update for some app is available for download. For a startup company, where we’re constantly making updates and improvements, introducing new features and generally making the user experience better, we want to get those new features in the hands of our users as quickly as possible. With iOS 7, that will become closer to reality with app updates that run automatically in the background.
Another interesting feature is the new multitasking capabilities. Apple has always done a great job of creating responsive UI designs. When you click a button on Apple, the screen immediately reacts. Although I’ve never seen confirmation of this, it’s rumored that the OS gives the highest priority to user interaction tasks and events, meaning that if you’re downloading a song and clicking around on the screen, the OS will actually shift processing power away from the downloading song to react to what you’re clicking on. Of course, this all happens in milliseconds, so as a user, it seems as if everything’s happening at once. In a multitasking OS, we will have to wait to see if Apple still accomplishes this responsive design while handling multiple background tasks.
One thing is for sure: Apple and Android fans alike will be watching when the iOS 7 rolls out this fall. In my opinion, this will set the tone for Tim Cook’s run as Apple’s CEO.