Since Apple first brought the iPhone in 2007, the one thing that has largely remained unchanged is the user interface. Apple’s latest update, iOS 7, has completely changed that familiar look and has a more modern look and feel. The update officially rolled out yesterday and we managed to spend some time with iOS 7. Here are our initial impressions.
The first thing you notice is the difference while operating the phone. Gone are the days when users would have to tap their way through each function. Now, the company has introduced the swipe motion everywhere, starting from the lock screen. Before getting into the phone, though, we have to talk about the nifty new control center that Apple has integrated. The centre can be accessed from any screen in the phone by simply swiping upwards. Most importantly, the control centre can be accessed from a locked screen as well. Earlier versions only allowed users access to the camera function (that was included in the iOS 6 update) while the phone was locked. Now, apart from quickly scanning your notifications, users can now use the flight mode, activate or deactivate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the stop watch and a host of other features. Also thrown in are smart apps like activating the back-light “torch” feature or rustling up the calculator at a moments notice.
The notification centre (right) gives you alot more control from the lock screen while the home screen comes with much bigger icons.
Once inside the main menu, the difference is palpable. Gone are the earlier icons which came with a slight feel of depth. The company has now made the icons two dimensional and also made them larger. The emphasis on colour has also increased with many of the main apps like the music player and the photo gallery getting bright icons. The folder option has also been revamped, coming in a lighter shade of black that compliments the new focus on bright colours. All applications can now be put in folders, including Newsstand (a bit of good news for users irritated by this).
These changes are just the tip of the iceberg. The photo gallery has been completely revamped. Users can now surf through their memories with a great deal of ease. All photos are arranged chronologically and Apple has also added a new feature called Collections, bundling photos together from the same month or year or even the location in separate albums. The gallery also has a clean, white UI as well as albums that sift photographs from the videos. This is a welcome change.
The iPhone photo gallery has been reworked to include new albums and date-wise photographs
You can’t talk about the gallery without talking about the camera. While the hardware remains unchanged, the interface has been changed completely. You can now swipe easily to switch between the video and photo mode, and the company has also thrown in a few more photographic frames like square mode and panorama mode. The camera also has a host of new filters thrown in which helps to add a bit more flavour to each photo. HDR (high dynamic range) mode can also be accessed from the top of the screen while taking a photo. Users who have an iPhone 5 or above will also be able to get their hands on built in live-filters as well.
Even Apple’s very own instant messaging service, iMessage, has been changed, and now sports a cleaner looking interface. A nifty thing we noticed was that messafes are displayed in a different shade of blue as the conversation progresses.
The changes that iOS 7 brings to the table are varied and many in number. While we have just skimmed the surface, you can be sure that is much more to iOS 7 than meets the eye yet. We will talk more about the changes as we dig deeper. One thing is for sure, though; iOS 7 brings a refreshingly new look to Apple’s iPhone line-up. It almost feels like we’re holding a brand new device in our hands. The update is now available over the air (OTA) and is available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 5, iPad 2, third and fourth-generation iPads, iPad mini; and the fifth-generation iPod touch.
Tested on an iPhone 4S