June 11, 2013

The New iOS 7

Yesterday we got out first peek at this year’s new and improved iOS. It has been 7 years since iOS hit the scene and the “world’s most advanced” mobile operating system was starting to feel stale. Apple had iterated iOS to the max and it was time to re-think how we use our iPhones. I don’t think they achieved it. It still feels like the OS, just prettier.

Apple mostly made a side-step today with iOS 7, but it feels like they put it on a better path with more room to move forward into the future. It is fresh and “modern”, though it seems to borrow a lot from the aesthetic of Windows phone, and even Android. Which, one could argue, is a circular reference.

I welcome the new look of iOS but found it odd of how critical they were of the previous design elements. That is not something Apple has ever done in the past. It seemed like a strange thing to keep bringing up.

It is the most popular criticism, but I also do not like the new icons and colors. I have never liked Apple’s choices of washed out, unsaturated colors. I do like some of the translucency, but it might take some getting used to. I wonder if other app developers are going to follow suite. Will they iOS7-ify their app icons and designs?

The biggest disappointment for me with the announcement was that they didn’t show us anything on inter-app operability, or how apps can talk to one another. There is a lot of room for improvement in that area and they didn’t seem to give us anything. For example, if you take a picture with the camera there should be a contextual menu that allows you to “send” that photo to any app on your iPhone that can deal with pictures. Maybe you can pare down that list in settings. Then you can edit the photo with said 3rd party app and when you hit save it kicks you back to browsing your photo library.

There are apps that achieve this same thing currently using url schemes, but it is inelegant and severly limited. I love creating workflows in Drafts. You can string actions from 3 or 4 apps together. It is cool stuff.

I also use Mr. Reader to browse my rss feed. It allows you to send text and links to other apps, and even pre-format your links. It works well, but I wanted Apple to embrace what developers have hacked together and support it in the OS. I realize it is really nerdy, edge-case, stuff… but I was still hoping for it.

I’m definitely excited to get iOS 7 this fall, but I am even more excited for Apple’s iPhone hardware announcement. I really hope that don’t only give us an “iPhone 5S” with the same exact form factor. But I’m sure they will.

➔ Apple’s iOS 7 video

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