Apple's ios 7 Beta is out, smoothing and stabilizing Apple's new mobile operating system. It's still far from being ready for consumers, but it's also far from launch; I'm anticipating late September or early October, when the new iPhones and iPads come out.
To silence a growing chorus of discontent against an operating system design that's remained more or less static since 2007, Apple needed to go big. With iOS 7, it did.While there are a few notable new features in iOS 7, the new interface is by far the platform's deepest felt and most profoundly changed of the entire batch. Apple's other features are relatively uninspiring and do little to challenge competitors; however, we have a feeling that Apple is saving some major reveals for its next big iPhone announcement.
The number-one thing that strikes me about iOS 7 is: it's iOS. Most notably, it keeps iOS's central metaphor of the app grid, which sets it apart from the other major operating systems. Customization is still very strictly controlled, compared to Android and Windows Phone. You can shuffle around your icons and put them in folders, but all the information they can give you at a glance is a little red badge. For someone used to widgets and Live Tiles, it's stifling.
Apple has never created anything that looks like iOS 7 before. Never, ever. This is important, because many longtime Apple users were blindsided by the bold new look.As a company, Apple is known for many things. Design sits somewhere near the top of the list. Apple’s hardware is gorgeous and unparalleled, and its software is sleek and beautiful — even when it fails miserably.As rivals try desperately to catch up and as they spend billions on new product development, no notebooks are as sleek as Apple’s, no tablets are as striking as the iPad, and no smartphones are as stunning as the iPhone.
Few Noteworthy Points.
Navigating iOS 7 is different. Panels open on top of apps and transparency effects provide a unique visual reminder that other parts of the OS lie beneath the current view. Apple really built on this concept, too. For example, each key press on numbers in the new Phone app or on the lock screen provides a fleeting glimpse of the wallpaper that sits beneath the app. It’s a very cool effect that does not go unappreciated, and there many are other small design elements that show Apple is still a company that sweats the little things.
For the most part, iOS is still very logical and easy to use. There are areas where the interface falls apart a bit, but the “beta 1″ label says it all — many, many things will change before iOS 7 reaches the public this fall. In its beta form though, there are some real missteps in iOS 7 that are pretty shocking. Here’s one example:Apple, a company defined by design and collectivesmarts, made a pretty elementary design snafu right on the iOS lock screen.
“Slide to unlock” sits near the bottom of the display on the lock screen and shimmers, as it always has. But the simple slider button graphic is now gone. Instead, just beneath the words “slide to unlock,” sits an arrow pointing upward. Sliding upward doesn’t unlock iOS though. Instead, this arrow is meant to alert the user to the presence of the new Control Center, which provides quick access to several settings and controls. To unlock an iOS device, the user still must swipe from left to right.
If you're a relatively lazy Android user - one who doesn't customize - iOS 7 is a great-looking alternative, one that spins in some of Google's better built-in features like notifications, quick settings and a touch of Google Now. If you love your widgets or Live Tiles, on the other hand, there's nothing for you here. As I said before: iOS 7 raises the game, but it doesn't change it. Of course, that may change - did I mention we're months away from launch?