Small details make Apple's iOS 7 stand out
The latest version of mobile software iOS is a dramatic overhaul
The new iPhone 5C will run on iOS 7
Unveiled yesterday, iOS 7 brings a new lease of life to Apple devices. The seventh major release of the mobile software sees a dramatic overhaul, with not only new features, but a whole new look as well. The new software has been built with the iPhone 5S’s 64-bit technology in mind, although it will still run 32-bit applications.
What are the main differences?
Previous versions of Apple’s OS kept a similar visual style, but iOS 7 throws that out the window. The new version is brighter and cleaner looking. But it’s more than just skin deep; there are plenty of new features in iOS 7 to get excited about.
There’s the addition of the Control Centre, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. That gives you instant access to important controls, such as wifi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, the do-not-disturb feature and brightness. Music controls have also been integrated here, along with quick access to a torch, clock features, calculator and camera.
Spotlight search on your device, meanwhile, is accessible from any of the iPhone’s application pages; simply swipe down on the screen and the spotlight search box appears. You can choose what will be included in the search, from apps and mail to notes and voice memos.
The software also brings AirDrop to iOS devices, which allows you to share files wirelessly between devices that support the protocol. That can be accessed from the Control Centre too.
One of the most commonly used apps on smartphones is the camera, so it’s only fitting that Apple has put a bit more thought into how this works. Running iOS 7 on an iPhone 5 showed a more responsive camera that is easier to use. It panders to the current trend for Instagram photos, giving the user the choice between a regular photo shape, a square, and a panoramic shot.
You can access each of these by swiping, and the video camera is also just a swipe away. With that comes a better photo gallery mode, with images organised into collections such as photos taken on a certain date or in a certain place. It’s easier to search through them than before, and it’s all presented in a much nicer visual style.
Multitasking has also been redesigned. Instead of a list of icons at the bottom of the screen, now you get smaller versions of the app windows themselves. Quitting an app is as simple as swiping up.
The Notification centre has also been updated. Now, it offers you an overview of your day – the weather, appointments, what the traffic’s like – with all your app notifications falling into another screen. The notification centre can be accessed from any screen, including the lock screen.
There are also some convenient features, like the iCloud keychain that saves passwords and suggests more secure ones when you sign up for new services. The keychain will be accessible on any of your devices running iOS7 or Mac computers with OS X Mavericks. For the security conscious, it’s got 256-bit AES encryption to keep all your passwords safe.
But it’s the small details that make iOS 7 stand out. Apps now update automatically when you reach a wifi hotspot. Web browser Safari, meanwhile, now has a new tab view and a smart search field that makes it a little easier to use; it feels a little more like Chrome and a little less like an afterthought for the mobile platform.
All this has an impact on battery life. For most people, it won’t make too much of a difference, and it’s likely that any power drain issues that may arise will be solved in an update. But early versions of iOS 7 definitely impacted battery life, winding down power more quickly than its predecessor.
Who can get it?
The new software will be available to devices from the iPhone 4 and upwards, the second generation iPad, and fifth generation iPod Touch devices and upwards.
So is the update to iOS 7 worth taking a chance? There are many benefits that the new version of the software brings, but the more cautious among us will wait to see if any issues emerge once the masses have had a chance to put it through its paces.