WWDC 13: Apple Exceeded Expectations With iOS 7

The iPhone launched back in 2007, and iOS didn’t come about until iPhone software 3.0 was updated to become iOS 4. Through six variations of iOS, we looked at essentially the same thing year after year with new capabilities sprinkled in here and there. Now for WWDC 2013, we have iOS 7, and it’s a remarkable change that you have to appreciate just for that very reason. There were all kinds of expectations leading into the WWDC keynote, and Apple exceeded expectations in what they revealed.
The design changes are obviously eye catching, and you can’t help but see how every single pixel of iOs has been touched by the new style. With that said, iOS 7 would have been a major release even without a new design because of other features that Apple introduced. Control Center is a major feature that changes the interaction with iOS by providing quick settings accessible from just a swipe up. This feature has been a major selling point for jailbreaking devices in the form of SBSettings. Then there’s the new multi-tasking system which adopts a Palm Pre style card interface to swipe between to view open app windows. It’s also a lot like the Jailbreak utility, Auxo, with a quick swipe up to kill an application, and one chained view of preview titles rather than just open app icons in iOS 6.

If Apple would have simply added Control Center, and the new multi-tasking to the iOS infrastructure, it would have been a worthwhile update. Of course, Apple went much further than that with new photo organization, video photo stream sharing, quick swipe functions and filters built into the camera app, and the new iTunes Radio right within the Music app. If that wasn’t enough, there’s AirDrop functionality for quick sharing of files over Bluetooth 4.0, iCloud keychain for saved site passwords, and an enhanced Notification Center to give you a better look at your upcoming day.

All of these features combined, and added to the existing iOS 6 design would have made for a satisfying yearly upgrade that covered most of what we were hoping for. Apple took it to an all new level with a brand new design that impacts the look of every single thing you see in iOS. The home screen is the most identifiable with all new app icons for the stock apps, though not all are perfect. They do fit together though, and some are greatly improved over their previous counterparts. The biggest change is once you tap on any of the app icons, you are presented with an all new design for the stock apps. This is where you get into the true new design qualities of iOS with clean backgrounds, and a laser sharp focus on the task at hand in the each respective app. The new font also looks extremely professional and polished to accent the new design quality.
New stock app designs for every single app is a worthwhile feature by itself, with the accent of neon and pastel colors infused throughout the OS. Translucency is a major addition as well, as it’s not just a fancy polish, but an interesting overlay to create consistency through operation. When you swipe up Control Center or swipe down Notification Center, the translucency lets you know that this is just an overlay, and hasn’t taken you anywhere else. These sections pop over the home screen or your current app, which you can see through to know that you’re going to go back to that point when you stop using the respective pop up. The lock screen is also redone to be more functional with clutter removed, the ability to swipe anywhere to unlock, and access to Notification Center and the new Control Center without unlocking the device. With all of the new features, Apple still didn’t provide quick reply functionality to notifications (which is available in OS X Mavericks), the ability to customize stock apps or which settings are in Control Center, or provide third party app support to Siri.

All of these nuances combine together to build upon the familiarity Apple has created for the past six years to enhance almost every way you interact with iOS. The new functions and design create excitement in iOS that hasn’t been there for years, but more importantly creates a more enjoyable mobile experience. Apple did an amazing job of not only meeting, but surpassing the wild expectations that built up before WWDC. iOS 7 is a new beginning for Apple rather than a finished OS, and that new base is a great starting point.


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