The first thing you notice when you install iOS 7 is the brand new look, even if just from the lock screen. It’s a brighter, more font rich approach to the operating system. The next thing you notice as you pick up your iPhone is the sudden shift of the wall paper.
It shifts according to the movements of your device. It doesn’t do anything to provide any functionality, but it’s a nice visual gimmick. But the fun of an OS does not lie on the lockscreen. Once you slide the screen to unlock (no longer a button), the fun begins.
The New Icons
First, let me get this off my chest: I’m not a big fan of the default icons of iOS 7. It’s not that they’re ugly or poorly designed, it’s just very different from the previous look and in my opinion a bit too flat. Some of the icons look very nice like Photos, Newstand, Passbook and Game Center. Others like Calendar, Music, Compass and Stocks are OK. The Contacts, Facetime and Camera icon makes me think Apple employed 6 year olds to make them. Of course, this is my opinion, and you will read and hear plenty on this end.
If you want to make people uncomfortable change the look of something that has been familiar for sometime. This is going to be the conversation for months to come. With that said, when I changed the background and added my third party apps to the phone, it wasn’t too much of a big deal. They start to grow on you.
First thing I did was swipe down to access notification center. Gone from the OS is the linen (Thank God!) and you have better options for managing your notifications. You’ll see some neat day summaries and weather information. You can also now swipe away banners which is a great simple feature.
When you swipe up from the bottom of your device, you’ll see Control Center. Here you’ll see quick settings to turn on/off antennas, access brightness settings, control music, share via Airdrop and access flashlight, Safari, Calculator and Camera. This is neat and something we’ve been desiring for quite some time. It works as it should and the translucent view is pretty and simple.
Gone are the days of icon multitasking. Now we get full page views of apps that are running in the background. Visually, this is a beautiful feature. Not only does it show you the apps that are running, but it shows you the icon under it so you can identify the app. This is one of my favorite features.
Folders are now translucent and you can have several pages of apps. Very neat.
The whole OS is full of nice and simple animations. Folders are translucent and zoom in when you tap on them, apps zoom in and out of their icons and gestures feel just right. Each tap, hold, swipe is animated beautifully and shows that iOS 7 is more than just how it looks, but also how it feels.
There is so much more to this OS that it’s hard to explore it all in a few hours. There’s iTunes Radio, Photos, settings, Mail, and other features that we at Mac Daily will explore over the coming weeks. I’ve just had about 4 hours of time with iOS 7 and though it’s too early to tell how everything works and feels, I do have a deep appreciation for what Apple has done here. They took an aging OS, burned the book, and started from scratch.
This is no easy task. For a company that is constantly criticized for every single decision they make, they decided to go with their gut and prepare the way for the future of iOS. Make no mistake, this is a bold move, and you’ll hear lots of criticism about this move from competitors, media and iOS users. After the dust settles, we’ll all look with appreciation at Apple, knowing that the company is at its best when it doesn’t play safe. And this is Apple at its best.