iOS 7 Features

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iOS 7 home screen

Apple unveiled iOS 7 this week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The new mobile operating system is not available for consumers, however, developers will be getting a beta version.

Many tech writers were duped by Apple’s misdirection — iOS 7 would be black, white and flat all over. iOS 7 is pastel! While some of the core apps do feature a white background and black UI elements, Jon Ive mentioned that iOS 7 has a new, more colorful palette of colors. Additionally, the OS has some breathtaking 3D views and translucent overlays. The latter bears similarity to OS X. It’s not as basic and boring as many expected. It turns out, I was correct about the new OS not being black, white, and flat all over.

Users of older Apple devices will be delighted to know that they can keep their current device. iOS 7 has lenient system requirements and will work with the iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPad Mini, 5th Generation iPod Touch, and all newer devices. I expect it to perform well on the older devices, much like iOS 6. Beta users contend that it has the same performance as iOS 6 on an iPhone 4, however some of the graphic capabilities are limited. Some new features, such as AirDrop, will only be supported on newer iOS devices, such as the iPhone 5, 4th Generation iPad, iPad Mini, and 5th Generation iPod Touch. These features require certain hardware components to function.

Overall UI Design

iOS 7 is a major design overhaul. Tim Cook claims this is the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone was introduced. The design is flatter in some respects. The icons and dock no longer have a 3D appearance. This is surprising, as it deviates from OS X. Even the new OS X Mavericks was demoed with the same 3D app dock as Mountain Lion. It is rumored that OS X Mavericks will also be redesigned to resemble iOS 7. There is a breathtaking 3D parallax effect between the background wallpaper and the icons. When you move the device, the icons appear to be floating above the background. iOS 7 is not so flat after all.

Translucent panels are pervasive throughout the new design. Slide-out panels, such as the keyboard and Notification Center, feature this new translucent design. Once again, this gives a three-dimensional feeling to the user interface, as if there is some physical layer below the panel. This design is pervasive in OS X.

Skeuomorphism has been completely removed from iOS 7. Game Center no longer has felt. Calendar is not bound with virtual leather. The new designs are simple yet colorful.

iOS 7 is not just a pretty face on the same operating system. The UI design introduces new gestures. Most notably, sliding your finger from the edge of the screen navigates back and forth between screens and web pages. This is similar to navigating web and document pages on OS X. (continue…)

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