An initial beta of iOS 7 was released a couple of weeks ago, normally we like to wait until the kinks have been worked out of the software before we load it onto our development device. However, the changes looked so dramatic I decided to bypass our development phones and install iOS 7 straight onto my own device to take it for a test drive.
Initially the software was quite slow and buggy however the second beta which was released on Monday has solved some of the speed issues as well as adding a new Voice Memos app. The visual changes take a little getting used to however there have been many improvements with gestures, a simpler settings menu to navigate and the introduction of Control Centre. I’ve been running iOS 7 for around 10 days now and I’m not sure how I managed to cope without all of these new gestures.
One swipe upwards brings up Control Centre giving you access to the volume, screen brightness, wifi and bluetooth connectivity, music controls and by default four inbuilt apps. A torch, alarm, calculator and camera. The introduction of AirDrop to the iPhone lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos and contacts with whoever is sat right next to you (a feature which has been lacking since the first iPhone). Every aspect of iOS has been redesigned to be cleaner, more functional and improve usability.
iOS hasn’t had a major visual overhaul since its initial release six years ago, As it has done in our office its public release will divide loyal Apple fans who will either love or hate it.
For those of you that are wanting to upgrade to iOS 7 early my recommendations would be to wait. Although I’m enjoying the new operating system I’m still unable to open all of my apps, the phone randomly crashes and It’s impossible to view all of my call log due to a formatting error. Apple are yet to give us an official release date it will be well worth the wait for the stable version. After lengthy discussions in our office we concluded that many of the new features are really just small improvements to previous features. Such as, multiple pages within folders. Some of these features probably could have been built into earlier versions of iOS as many of these features have been present in other smartphone software for years. However, iOS has grown with its user’s and has kept our attention over the past six years. Apple has been drip feeding us small, yet essential, improvements that make us want to keep owning and using their products for many more years to come.
We also discussed the possible new features of the iPhone 5s. Although there are rumours that the phone will feature a fingerprint scanner and motion sensor we are yet to see any reference of these features within the developers documentation. Our predictions for the new device would be a black or white aluminium case (similar to the iPad mini) and the removal of the volume controls from the side of the device. We’re pretty sure there will be an update to the camera and significant upgrade in battery life.