iOS 7 - Form over function?

iOS 7 adoption reportedly hit 29% one day after release

The little things

Little things make a big difference, even if they are not necessary, and iOS7 brings a lot of little things to the table.

  • There is animation throughout iOS 7: when you return to a home screen, icons zoom in from the sides. When you open an app from one of those screens, the icons zoom back out towards the centre. In the weather app, the background matches the weather in and clouds drift by
  • Swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen (even on the lock screen) and you are presented with the new control centre, which has a few new features. From this menu you can turn airplane mode, bluetooth etc on or off. Also. There is also a flashlight. You'll use it
  • The clock icon is now a 'live tile' and shows the correct time. Awesome.
  • AirDrop is probably the biggest small change to iOS7. The concept is very simple: a "sharing" icon in an app lets you send a file, link or other piece of data to someone in the vicinity. Press their icon, and it's done. Dislike the idea? Set AirDrop to 'Contacts'
  • Another small, concealed feature lies within the Compass app. Swipe to its second page and you’ll find a minimalist bubble spirit level interface

Flat design

In terms of design iOS 7 is a massive update - moving toward a flat design (discussed in-depth here) it's a bold step for Apple, even if they were not the first to do it. The general consensus among the office is that it looks a lot better. Although some people *cough* Pete *cough* really do not like it at all. New, yes, but the UI is a bit sloppy in places.

Gestures & interaction design

There are the not so new gestures:

  • Swipe down from the very top for Notification Centre
  • Swipe down from the not-quite top for spotlight
  • Swipe up from the bottom for Control Centre

and the new gestures:

  • When sorting your mailbox, you swipe from anywhere on the left of the message to reveal a set of options: delete the message, or a submenu with a list. Also, if you press on a message to read it, you can swipe (left to right) back to the list in the mailbox
  • Closing apps is now completely gestural. Double tap the home button to bring up the fullscreen app switcher, which provides a screenshot of each running application in a sideways-scrolling carousel. To close an application, simply swipe the app’s screenshot up and off the screen. Bonus: you can close more app than once.
  • Safari has a new, scrolling 3D tab interface that allows for just about as many tabs as you want. Forget the X button - swipe the tabs away to the left. It’s a whole lot faster, and requires less precision when you’re trying to dump a bunch of tabs on the go

At this point I need to add that, unless it has malfunctioned, you don't really need to close apps in iOS7. They don't eat into your battery life. It's great that we have new gestures which certainly make certain tasks easier. However, iOS7 does not promt uses as to these new gesutres which did lead to some problems. A number of people I have talked to had trouble with closing apps - several resorted to Google. Ollie Williams (@) did not think it was possible to close them at all. Named and shamed. Interaction changes such as the switching camera modes using a drag action and not allowing tap on the word is odd and fiddly

 

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