The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has begun! That means lots of news bites from that side of the tech world beginning with an iOS update that has something old, something new, several things borrowed, but no one will be blue.
Behold the iPhone with the new iOS 7.
The first things you’ll notice are cosmetic changes. The icons are flatter, more clip art than fancy symbol. For example, the camera button is now an old fashioned camera instead of a lens looking at you (which I always found hard to spot quickly.)
They also got rid of the bars in the top corner and went to dots. This is going to force the world to change their vocabulary. Years from now, when kids are watching old movies from the early 2000’s, they won’t understand when the trapped hero asks the heroine, “how many bars do you have?”
The font is thinner which adds to the cleaner look of the page. My favorite cosmetic change happens on the lock screen. Now, instead of those ugly gray bars, there’s a transparent slider over the background photo. So much nicer.
Shaving off Seconds
Faster is the keyword in this new design. Not so much the speed of the response itself, but how quickly you can access the things you need. For example, if you’re in a situation where Do Not Disturb is vital, you can now get to that by raising an overlay page of important settings.
You can use this same page to pause or skip songs that are currently playing through iTunes, turn Wi-Fi on and off and access your camera, calculator and flashlight (!).
One of the best new features is the simplest. It’s called Today and it’s an upgrade on the Notification Center. With iOS 7, you’ll get a single screen with the day’s weather, birthdays, and events. It even writes a reminder note about what’s coming up next at the top so you don’t have to fumble for your calendar. Switched to the “Missed” tab and you’ll see all of the text messages, missed calls and other push notifications that have come in over the last 24 hours. I need this.
Apple says the new system is smart enough to know that you check Facebook everyday at 9 am so it will make sure the app is updated before that time. It also chooses the best times to update, like when you’re on a Wi-Fi connection, so you save power.
They’ve also changed the way you shut down apps. I owned my iPhone for a half a year before I learned that apps were always running until you did that press and hold trick to shut them down completely. The new version is simpler. Instead of just icons across the bottom, you’ll get a preview of every screen that is running. Swipe up and out and the app shuts down. A small change but it will make a big difference for people who open a lot of apps every day.
Like everything else in this redesign, Safari is now cleaner, with more reading space. They’ve taken the navigation and search bar and hidden them behind another translucent wall. They only show up when you want them to.
They also added a new way to flip through all of your open tabs and collected your reading list and shared links in an easy to skim, prettier display page.
Finally, Siri is getting new female and male voices. If I could get it to sound like my favorite TV actor, I’d be in pure, iPhone heaven.
I’m going to give you a minute to digest all of this and then I’ll be back with a look at some brand new features including iTunes Radio, Air Drop and a photo filter program that seems rather familiar.
Go grab a coffee, then come on back.