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Review of Apple’s new iOS 7 for the iPhone

  • What's new when you update
  • Pros and Cons
  • Review of design, user experience and apps
Written by Katarina Matic

Didn’t get your hands on the new iPhone5s or 5c? Why not upgrade your current iPhone instead! If you’ve been jealous of those who have Apple’s new iPhone then performing a system upgrade may just be the pick-me-up you need. Many users of older iPhones are still on lengthy contracts with their mobile service providers and hence unable to get the newest iPhone handset when it was released last week. But, Apple’s new operating system, available on older iPhones, can make you feel like you have a brand spanking new device.

What is iOS 7?
iOS 7 is Apple’s latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple from time will release an iOS upgrade for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users. Usually the upgrades will add minor changes to the way you use your device, extra features to enhance usage and fixes to known problems and bugs. The latest upgrade, however, provides users with a completely different looking interface and experience. As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook put it, “iOS 7 is the biggest change to  iOS since the introduction of the iPhone”.  There has been a major change in overall look and feel as well as the addition of some new handy features. Enabling an upgrade will make you feel like you have a completely new mobile phone.

The new look
Apple has redesigned the entire interface, from the appearance of icons, to the colour scheme and even fonts used. The overall look is much cleaner and simpler. Icons and other design elements have undergone a “flat” redesign which is in fashion with current design trends. Buttons and icons that previously looked 3D and “bubble-like” have been redesigned using flat clean shapes and pastel colours.

The design trend aims to move away from imitating textures and elements in the real world, such as shiny, reflective buttons or leather icons. This old design style, often called “skeuomorphism”, served a particular purpose that is now outdated: to help the user understand how to use the technology. For example, a button was made to look 3D so that the user would understand it could be “pressed”. Now that most people are familiar with how a smartphone works, having icons and buttons look and feel “push-able” is not imperative. This opens up the possibility to more elegant and creative designs.


Zooming and Swiping Gestures
A radically new appearance is not the only new aspect that comes with the iOS 7 upgrade. Apple has also introduced a more animated interface. The most noticeable addition is the introduction of zooming apps. When a user clicks or taps on an app the page zooms open into the screen.

However, the new parallax zooming animations are not to everyone’s taste. Many people have reported that they find this feature dizzying and “vertigo inducing”. Unfortunately, this feature cannot be disabled entirely, but you can reduce the motion in your settings.
The new iOS 7 is also more gesture focused. There are more opportunities to use intuitive finger swiping and gesturing. In Safari you can now flick through pages by swiping across the handset, much like flicking through a book. Instead of closing apps through tapping a small cross, the new iOS 7 requires you to swipe the page in an upwards motion.

Taking advantage of intuitive gestures makes for a better user experience as the swiping motion comes naturally to users. The previous operating systems relied heavily on a tapping or a clicking motion that best suited desktop operating system that have a mouse for precision clicking. For example you have to tap a cross to close programs and tap on a small icon in Safari to access other pages.


New Photo and Camera App
The final stand out feature of the new iOS 7 is the improved photo and camera app. The iPhone camera app now comes with a range of different filters that can be applied in real time, the ability to capture a square image, panorama images and a faster shutter speed. The camera is also now conveniently accessible in the iPhone control centre. The new camera app is a much needed improvement as an overwhelming amount of users had turned to third party apps like Camera+ and Instagram to achieve better quality image processing. The upgraded native camera app should now cater to more users.

The iOS 7 also provides better photo and video organisation from previous operating systems. The new Photos app organizes images based on time and place which makes is quicker and easier to find a specific photo you have taken.

Also built into the operating system is the ability to quickly and easily share images. Much like in previous versions, you can instantly share your images to iMessage, Mail, iCloud, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. However,  iOS 7 has added AirDrop to the Photos app. AirDrop allows users to share images with people close by who also have an iPhone with the AirDrop feature. This is a useful function as previously users would need to text, email or use third party apps like Bump to share images.



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