“Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.”
When the internal strife over Apple‘s pre-mature launch of its Maps app finally boiled over late last year, many analysts discounted the Cupertino-base electronic giant to bounce back from such a publicized failure any time soon. Yet today, less than a year later, they’re all singing the company’s praise once again. For the most part, it is due to the unveiling of iOS 7 today at WWDC 2013, Apple’s latest mobile operating system. Hailed as “…the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone…” by Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, the iOS 7 is “a pure representation of simplicity” yet “takes full advantage of technologies.”
To salvage any creditability after the Maps app debacle last year, Apple looked to its famed design team and Jony Ives, the company’s senior vice president of Design. With a clean slate, the team went on to re-design every aspect of the operating system, right down to its typography and color palette. One of the first thing you’ll notice is the new home screen and translucent features. Though flatter since Ives did away with the original skeumorphic design, the layering arrangement actually allows a “parallax effect” in conjunction to the device’s movement.
Other improvements include:
- Control Center – With just one swipe from the bottom of your screen, you have access to controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and the ability to adjust screen brightness, pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream your music with AirPlay. Control Center also gives you instant access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.
- Notification Center – now available from the Lock screen so you can see all your notifications with a simple swipe, and the new Today feature in Notification Center gives you an at-a-glance view of your day with a summary of the important details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events.
- Multitasking – Users have the ability to switch between their apps in a more visual and intuitive way, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps you use most and automatically keeps your content up to date in the background.
- AirDrop – When you’ve got something you want to share, AirDrop shows you your contacts close by. Just select who you want to share with and AirDrop does the rest. AirDrop transfers are peer-to-peer so you can use it anywhere, without any network or set up required, and transfers are fully encrypted so your content is protected and private.
- Camera – Features filters so you can add real-time photo effects. The Camera app now also includes a square camera option, and you can quickly and easily switch between your four cameras—video, photo, square and panorama—with just a swipe.
- Moments – A new way to automatically organize your photos and videos based on time and location.
- iCloud Keychain – Passwords and credit card information are securely stored and available on all your devices, so navigating password protected sites or autofilling during transactions is simple and secure.
- Siri – With new male and female voices and includes Twitter search integration. Also has Wikipedia integration, providing access to the world’s most popular Internet reference site. Siri offers Bing web search within the app and the ability to change device settings and play back voicemail.
- iTunes Radio – Have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists, Siri integration plus the ability to buy anything you hear with just one tap. The free Internet radio service features over 200 stations and accessible on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC or Apple TV.
The iOS 7 beta software and SDK are both available to software developers now. The rest of us will have to wait till this fall for its complete version.