iOS7 has made the most radical changes to the iOS since the introduction of the iPhone, and I had the chance to experience the new OS firsthand. Needless to say, it was simply an astonishing work of art, and many users of the iPhone will undoubtedly appreciate its new look and feel.
The web is already flooding with news that meticulously compare each element of the OS, so instead of boring you with minute details, here I will try to focus on my personal experience with the OS.
To start off, everything looks fresh and new. This is a huge plus, and as Jony Ive pointed out, it’s just as though the users got a new smartphone. However, at the same, iOS7 manages to keep the familiarity of the previous version of iOS. I had no problem accessing most features offered by iOS7, including the lock screen and the notification centre, when they were radically different from its predecessors when taken a closer look.
As well, there is flatness in design elements, but they are given depth mainly through layers and animations in the iOS7. It shows that designers at Apple did not take that trendy design pattern for granted, but gave it a thought and improved it for the iOS7. Unfortunately, this is harder to capture with a few screenshots, and there are many who criticize the OS for the face value of those few screenshots.
Let’s take a closer look at the iOS7.
Elegant UI design
Instead of cluttering the screen with obscure symbols and dense information, designers at Apple took a step back and gave users a break with simple words and spacious layout. This is in line with “Clarity”, the first principle of the iOS7 design.
As a result, there is a lot less going on at any time, and each piece of content that does come up are given the spotlight it deserves. Even the controls are squeezed and pushed all the way to the sides to make way for the content, and hence “Deference”, or humble respect to content, the second design principle for the iOS7.
Vibrant colour scheme is truly noticeable on the main screen. Each app that comes with the iPhone have all received a radically different look, with colours so vibrant and intense, almost to a point of being lavish and over-the-top.
What they say is very clear to the eyes: They beg for interaction with the user.
They are ambitious apps, and do not settle for a little more estate in the springboard. Instead, they charm the users to tap on them, so that they can take over the entire screen, and bring the user into their unique world. It’s not hard to imagine that in iOS7, only the apps that can fully deliver such immersive experience to the users will survive and thrive.
First and foremost, this is one mobile OS that does not skim on the animation.
From apps dropping onto the springboard each time it loads to message boxes bumping into each other when the screen moves up and down, there is always rich animation to please the eyes in iOS7. Now mundane tasks are more interesting to look at, whereas when it comes to performance-critical moments, such as quickly switching to an app to finish a task, it is as swift it can get.
The way users can interact with the iPhone has been improved for the better. To take the lock screen as an example, users can now directly access the Activity Sheet and the notification centre in addition to the camera. Also, when the phone wakes up by a push notification, the iOS no longer jumps to the app that woke it when unlocked (unless the user specifically swipes the app icon), giving the user the freedom to access the springboard.
App Switcher is given a new look as well, showcasing each app with a gallery of previews. App Switcher automatically moves to the last app used, so switching between apps is easier, and saving memory is just as easily done with the new swiping up motion on the preview screen which terminates the app.
Finally, after using iOS7 for a while, I noticed that iOS7 and stock apps are generally better at giving the right piece of content, and typing feels better. It is an overarching UX improvement that is harder to notice and articulate with only a few minutes of using it.
iOS7 does not disappoint its users with supposedly copied elements and weird choices of colour and design. On the contrary, it is provides so much more than its competitors with motions and layers that build up a unique experience in its own right. This is “Depth”, the third and last design principle for iOS7.
iOS7 is refreshing, unique, and provides solid foundation for apps to deliver its full potential. iPhone users will be very excited to run this brand new OS to their iOS devices when it is fully polished. I also look forward to developing my first app for iOS.