Apple has unveiled a flatter look for the user interface of its smart device iOS operating system - the first to be overseen by its design chief Jony Ive.
He said the aim was to make the system look "cleaner" to help "elevate" users' content. It involves a shift away from skeuomorphism - the use of leather, wood and other real-world inspired textures and artifacts in apps. A similar change has also been made to the OS X system for Mac computers.
Highlighting the new look of the firm's Game Center app, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi joked: "We just completely ran out of green felt and wood - this has got to be good for the environment."
He also showed off a parallax effect which means icons shift against the background image as an iPhone-user tilts their handset one way and another, based on feedback from the device's accelerometer sensor.
"Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness. Finding your Settings app is hard when the icon has totally changed, and the many people who easily get disoriented by their gadgets may well have a negative experience. On the other hand, this is a clear statement from Apple that it acknowledges the need to refresh the user interface and is willing to do something pretty dramatic."
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A brand new feature integrated into iOS 7 is the Control Centre (sorry for the UK spelling!). It is a new toggle area that can be activated, simiar to the notification centre, from within any app and will bring up controls to WiFi, mobile carrier, Bluetooth, brightness and other frequently accessed settings. From Control Centre you're able to access the new flashlight feature, play a song, toggle AirPlay and much more.
iOS 7 features a better multitasking and background processing to all apps. It will monitor which apps you use frequently to help determine which ones need more full-functioning multitasking. When apps send push notifications, for instance, the phone will know to start to give that app background processing so that it will work more quickly and intuitively.
Apple has taken a major cue from webOS (RIP) and added full-previews of running apps for multitasking. No more tiny icons but live previews of the apps themselves.
Safari for iOS 7 has a new look and feel that resembles the popular Chrome iOS app. The new look hosts a new tabbed view, full screen display without clutter from the navigation, translucent scroll as the background content moves upwards and improvements to bookmarks, shared links, reading lists and more! It also integrates with iCloud Keychain for password management.
Additionally, the new tabs are now 3D and fully integrated with iCloud tabs. Users are no longer limited to eight tabs and tabs can be reordered or removed with a swipe.
Siri has a new look and a new voice. Users can choose between male and female voices for Siri. Siri is also getting smarter: It will now pull in data from Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing.
Apple is bringing OS X's AirDrop to iOS. AirDrop will let users share photos or files peer-to-peer with other iOS users who are nearby similar to some existing "bumping apps" that were developed. AirDrop works on any iOS devices running the latest wireless chipsets, meaning the iPhone 5, fourth generation iPad, iPad mini, and the latest iPod touch.
Photos and Camera
The Camera and Photo apps received a major overhaul. Not only is it easier to manage large numbers of photographs, users can now create Shared Photostreams into which other users can post photos as well as share with others. Users can also share video with iCloud Photostreams in iOS 7.
The overall look and feel of the design is less focused on 4 x 4 grids of thumbnails and instead offers users a better look at their photographs in groups by month, events, year, etc.
Do you like the new version of iOS7? Were there any features you wanted that weren't included? Get in touch with us by mentioning #ALJTMedia on Twitter, leaving a comment on our Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn page, or writing a comment below.
Image Credit: MacResources by Kevin Rogers / Public Domain