I have been using iOS 7 for the last few months. Ever since the release of their original beta at WWDC 2013 to the final public release of iOS 7 on September 18th 2013 I have seen how Apple designers and developers joined forces to create one of the most simplistic seemless experiences on any mobile device. There is a certain beauty associated with iOS 7 that can only be felt once you are physically seeing it on any Apple device. In this review I am going to talk about iOS 7 for iPad and specifically iPad because our blog revolves around Apple’s tablet and not particularly their other product lineups. I suggest you sit back, take a cup of tea or coffee and start reading this in-depth review because I am going to cover each and every topic in terms of a normal day to day user who is going to use the latest version of iOS. Let’s get started.
iOS 7 Video Review
It’s a flat flat world in iOS 7
Gone are those days of skewmorphism when Apple used real life textures to make everything pop out of the screen. The first and foremost change associated with iOS 7 is it’s simplistic design. Everything is flatter, spacy, simpler to find and attracts a certain level of elegance with it. Right from the start screen that says “Hello” in a sharp thin text to the first time you get to see your home screen, Apple ensured that your experience remain unparalleled to any other mobile OS out there especially Android.
I have to say that Jonathan Ivy pulled off an impossible task of simplifying things with iOS 7. 10-15 years down the line when you look back at the root of our futuristic UI design I am pretty sure that it’s going to crawl down to the revolutionary new design of iOS 7. It looks very futuristic and gives your Apple device a whole new appeal. One thing that I can guarantee you with iOS 7 is that you will fall in love with your iPad all over again. I know many people complained that it’s just a pretty little skin with not so many new features in it. Is the OS oversold or overhyped? I don’t think so.
The release of the flat UI triggered a design revolution throughout the app developer community and we have already seen how some of the most popular applications are launching a brand new look for their iOS 7 versions. Such mass redesign endeavors will radically change the work we work with our iPad. It’s not about getting clean or appearing simple all the time. With iOS 7, Apple focused on the principal of delivering the exact things that we are looking for at any given point inside their OS.
For starters, Apple changed the logo of all their in-house applications using a standard schematic structure. The result gives you a cohesive look on your home screen, a look that’s quite radical from the competition, a look that’s simple yet ready to handle the complexity of your tasks. The icons are so distinctive that you can still remember them (every inch of it) even when you are away from your iPad.
The settings area, notes, music player and other fundamental areas within iOS 7 looks nicer than ever. It’s a feeling that you need to experience first-hand and there is no word in the English dictionary that allows me to explain how it feels when one uses an iOS 7 enabled iPad. However, I cannot just brag about the new design without diving deep into the new features within this OS or the fact whether these features are actually helpful in real world.
One can add a ton of garnishing to a dish but it’s the taste that attracts the food lover over and over again.
The control center is like an all in one quick access panel for essential functions on your iOS 7 device. With a swipe of your finger from the bottom of the screen you get this sleek segmented interface that adapts to the color of your background. While the control center is considered to be one of the most useful features in iOS 7, I didn’t find myself using this too often. Well, the thing about control center is that you are not going to be super excited just because you can turn on Bluetooth or change the screen brightness. For most iPad users we set our screen at auto brightness allowing the device to adjust based on room lighting. The most used feature in control center is the ability to switch between music and lock the orientation whenever required. Previously we had to access the application manager and swipe left in order to get these quick aces button but with the Control Center you will save some time occasionally.
A new approach to Notifications in iOS 7
The notifications area is now segmented into three parts allowing you to view all the updates from various applications based on their priority. I liked how they added a “today” segment where you can get a glimpse of your daily calendar updates, weather etc. Again, this segment is only efficient for super busy corporates and not an average user who doesn’t mess much with the calendar.
Redesigned App Store
I love how Apple opted for an all-white app store design that makes it easier for you to see all the applications based on their category. In iOS 7 applications are updated on the background. As a matter of fact you can select if you want a specific app to run in the background using the settings panel. The thin blue text for buying and purchasing apps looks stunning and classy. Apple proved once again why they are the best when it comes to UI design.
Multitasking: Could have been better
Is it really multitasking that we are doing with iOS 7? That’s the first question that popped into my mind when I ran the four finger gesture to get a glimpse of all the apps running on my iPad. In previous versions you would get a tray at the bottom with icons of different applications that are running on the background. With iOS 7, the tray is replaced with a thumbnail like view of the apps and their screenshots. I feel Apple should have done something like a live preview of the apps instead of showcasing a mere screenshot. The only thing I love about multitasking is the fact that you can swipe using multiple fingers and close all background applications.
Camera App Perfected
If there is one thing in which Apple perfected their overhaul with iOS 7 then it has to be the new camera app. When I first got a glimpse of the pitch black camera interface I was kind of upset but the more I used it the more I fell in love with it. The big white camera button stands out as another epitome of flat design and it seems that the software was clicking pictures without any lag whatsoever.
You can choose between camera, square and video mode with just a simple swipe of your finger. The photos app has been revamped into something much more structural, that’s easier to understand and manage. The translucency in iOS 7 makes everything feel charismatic including the way photos fade out in background.
The buggy part of iOS 7
Although I have praised iOS 7 for the most part – the software itself is full of bugs. I know the fact that Apple will fix things with their subsequent updates but as of right now iOS 7 is the buggiest release in the history of iOS. First and foremost you got a bug that lets you bypass the lock screen and access your iPad straightaway. Moreover you will find occasional keyboard lags, interwoven texts, app freezes and other annoying glitches that literally threaten the fluid experience of iOS 7. Fortunately, the only hope that drives me forward is the initial update that will fix the issue.
iOS 7 is the dawn of a new era in mobile computing. The flat UI, whitespace-filled layouts are a warm reminder of the changing trends in interface design that will soon engulf the rest of the market including Android and other platforms. There is a certain sense of satisfaction when you use iOS 7 on your iPad. All the apps that have been updated to match the flat interface looks stunning and the animations are now smooth without any jerks. Even the feeling of tapping in and out of a folder view feels solid. Apple did a brilliant job not only with the design but also provided a wide canvas where the future designers and developers can explore with their vast array of brand new API’s. In conclusion, I would like to say that iOS 7 truly deserved that standing ovation when Apple first showcased the software at WWDC 2013.
Design – (9.5/10)
Usability – (8.5/10)
Features – (8/10)
Ecosystem – (10/10)
Overall Score for iOS 7 – (9/10)