iOS 7 Preview

iOS 7 Preview
Apple has announced that iOS 7 is coming this fall, but how can one just stand here and wait? We mean, boy it's painful! And knowing that there's actually a way of getting 'iOS 7 beta 1' that is currently available to developers, we decided to go ahead and install the thing on an iPhone 5.

After playing with the software for a while, we feel we're ready to give you our first impressions of Apple's new mobile platform. After all, iOS 7 is supposed to be a pretty big deal - it'll dramatically alter the look of your iPhones and iPads, so go ahead and read on if you want to know what your iOS device is going to be like when it gets the new OS in just a few months. Still, keep in mind that these impressions are based on the first beta version of iOS 7, so we guess that quite a few things may get fixed or changed by the time the final software arrives.

Lockscreen and Homescreen

So, the biggest thing about iOS 7 is that is comes with a brand new user interface, since this is actually the very first major redesign of the platform since 2007. The changes hit you right from the new lockscreen. It's very simplistic with the clock and date at the top, "slide to unlock" text at the bottom and a small camera icon in the bottom right corner for quick camera access. There are also two small arrows at the top and bottom, with the first showing the swipe direction for the Notification Center, and the second for the new Control Center. Of course, your notifications will take the center of the lockscreen.

This is the first iOS lockscreen ever that will make you wonder which direction you need to slide in order to unlock your phone. The arrow below the "slide to unlock" text will try to confuse you that the correct answer is 'up', but it's not. You can also slide to the left, which will make the on-screen elements move to the left, but this will not unlock the phone as well. As before, the correct direction to slide to is 'right', though now that the big arrow pointing to the right is gone, you'll easily mistake it the first few times. Of course, that's something that you'll quickly get used to, but it's the first sign that something's not quite right with the new iOS.

Now that we've arrived at the homescreen, we can start enjoying the beauty of the brand new icons, right? Well, not exactly. Those of us who hoped iOS will get some kind of widget functionality will be disappointed, but what's worse is that the iOS 7 homescreen actually looks like the old iOS homescreen, but with a 'Cartoon' theme applied. Seriously, it's like the more we stare at our iPhone 5 with iOS 7, the more it starts to look like a kids' phone. It is not bad, it's not ugly, but it's certainly not better than what it used to be. And if we simply have to compare it to the old homescreen look, we'd rather say that the new one is worse. But that's just our opinion. Aside from being a bit too cartoony, the new icons are also somewhat inconsistent, with some being truly flat, and others using a very generic-looking gradient effect for a background.

You may also notice that the leftmost homescreen page, which used to be dedicated to the universal 'Search' function, is no longer present. At first, we thought that Apple has simply decided to get rid of it, but after a few hours of playing with iOS 7, we finally found it (entirely by accident)! It turns out that you have swipe down (but not from the top, because that will reveal the Notification Center), and a search bar appears on top of the icons. Not bad, but we would have appreciated it if someone had told us how we're supposed to access the feature.


As we said, you can easily reveal the Notification Center by swiping from the top, and surprise, surprise, it's a brand new Notification Center. The new one is not bad at all, as it tries to be a bit more human by showing notes like "The first thing on your calendar today is "Visit grandma", in 30 minutes," or "Tomorrow: There is one event scheduled for 10:00 AM. Your calendar looks clear in the afternoon." It's OK, but it's not necessarily better than the previous Notification Center. In fact, it has even lost some functionality, previously you could, say, select one of your appointments from the Notification Center, and it would send you straight to your calendar. Now, however, you once again see a list with your appointments, but you can't select, or do anything else with them.

The so-called Control Center is a much-appreciated new addition to iOS, as it gives you quick access to frequently used toggles, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Screen Rotation. It also let's you set the display brightness, use the music player controls, the torch, or some other functions such as the new AirDrop, which allows you to wirelessly share content with other iOS 7 users. The problem with Control Center, is that you can accidentally pull it up if you are scrolling through a list of something (contacts, apps, emails, messages, a web page, etc.), and unfortunately, it may happens quite often, especially if you're using the phone in landscape mode.

Aside from all that, Apple has incorporated some cool effects like animated wallpapers (as in Android), which look pretty cool and can be interacted with using the accelerometer. Static wallpapers also move around as you tilt your device in various directions, providing a sense of depth.


Apps

Naturally, the built-in applications have been redesigned in order to match the new look and feel of the system. In short, they are much more simplistic and have lost the skeuomorphic elements that made them resemble objects from real life. For example, the Notes app no longer resembles a pin board. As a whole, we're OK with the simplification, but we have to say that some app elements have become a bit too basic, like the Stopwatch or Timer, for example. So basic, in fact, that they remind us of a badly-designed third-party Android app made by an indie developer. Thankfully, though, such sights in iOS 7 aren't too many.

Some apps look much better, like the Calendar, for example, though it doesn't really do anything new or different. It's safe to say that other apps work as advertised, meaning that we didn't encounter any real issues there. The stock Camera app has gotten a nice upgrade as it now allows you to choose from a set of 8 photo filters, and it also sports a 'square' photo mode, for those of you who enjoy snapping square photos.

The Safari browser has also been improved, as it now features a more convenient tab view, which is dangerously similar to that of mobile Chrome. The browser also has an almost full-screen view, since it hides the navigation controls at the bottom and shrinks the address bar once you start scrolling, but strangely, those elements tend to pop back up at times while scrolling, and we aren't really sure exactly when and why that happens.

iOS 7 also brings a new multitasking system which allows all apps to run in the background. You're accessing the multitasking UI in the same way - by double-pressing the Home key, and we have to say that the new multitasking view works quite well. It's quite reminiscent of Windows Phone's multitasking menu, but better.



Expectations

It's a bit early to make any conclusions, since we tested a beta version of iOS 7, which means that there's still a lot of work to be done on the platform, but we have to say that we're not impressed by what we saw. There seem to be a lot of elements which have gotten worse after the redesign, and the overly simplistic look of  iOS 7 doesn't work in some situations, making for a weird-looking or somewhat frustrating sights.

We guess our biggest complaint about iOS 7 is that it fails to be better than its predecessor, at least visually. Still, it does feature some cool new transitions and effects that make it look fresh and fun, but that's not enough. In its effort to simplify the looks of iOS, Apple has actually made its platform a bit harder to figure out, and that's a pity. We're looking forward to checking out the final iOS 7; not because the beta got us excited, but because we would like to see these issues fixed.



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131 Comments

1. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Apple claim that they put a lot of effort into iOS 7, but apart multitasking they have done nothing significant. Apart multitasking they have changed only "skin" of iOS 6 and I think that the new "skin" is totally fail, I think that iOS 6 user interface was better than new one. And I think that Android OS is still better!

10. SleepingOz unregistered

Right, even their new multitasking is the same old preemptive pseudo-multithreading one. They just extended its usability to 3rd party apps and gave it a WebOS-like ui. iOS7 is nothing more than an Android/MIUI wannabe on acid! http://goo.gl/RIoov

14. SleepingOz unregistered

goo.gl link is no longer available.. bit.ly/12Gk2EB Here it is, lol..

73. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

F*ck yea couldn't agree with you more! The bokeh-ish background, the icons and some of the font looks like a MIUI-ice cream sandwich rip-off.

87. taikucing unregistered

yeah right. iOS7 is MIUI wannabe

17. Seymur

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Everything is OK but changing icons was extremely bad idea.

19. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

It's called RETRO THEMED.. Clothing, music, almost everything is turning back to time, I think it's a good move, but the icons, it's inconsistent..

51. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Too vibrant. Flat is one thing but the colors are really loud right now, and not in a good way.

120. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2349; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

RETRO FAILED!!! :)

128. theruleslawyer

Posts: 108; Member since: Apr 23, 2012

I think the funniest bit of it is how long it will take all the app makers to redo their icons to fit the new theme. You're going to have a hodge-podge of styles for a good long while.

31. phonemonkey

Posts: 168; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

wrong these are your opinions. if you think you know better than a company raking in billions you are so full of pride

60. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Your comment is silly, next time try to use logics!

63. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

No, actually his comment is right and exact.

79. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

No, his coment is silly because: 1) He contradicts himself. 2) He thinks that big rich companies doesn't make mistakes.

122. Sauce unregistered

Mistakes based on what? Yours and the majority of PA's sanctimoniousness users? When people tend to heed other people's thoughts, opinions, actions, and feelings it becomes one capacious statement that everyone begins to use or believe. The only one's who contradict their selves are the "sheep" that tend to breed against the favored or spoken party that favors the category that is being spoken of.

126. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Does your comment has to do something with mine?

94. iami67

Posts: 333; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

no the comment is not right and exact. Just like in the movies the Dark Jedi always fails so does your comment. The company has been losing millions since steve jobs died. They were so far in the black that it will take atleast another 10 yrs before you see any real damage. But facts are check the stocks you will see it has been going down month after month and android is taking over the maket share and since begining of 2013 android has sold more phones worldwide.

123. Sauce unregistered

Half the people on PA who poke and mock at Apples stock and praise Androids, Samsungs, and others rising stock (so to say) don't even know what the hell the stock market is, how it functions, and can not even analyze the data. Stop sh√ęping everyone else and start using proper facts to deal proper insults.

132. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

When your stock drops after you unveil your new product, and investors walk out of a meeting upset, then there is a problem... Its is proper fact. If you can't see that/don't know that a stock dropping almost 40% is a problem for ANY company then you clearly know nothing about business. A store of money will not last forever if you're company is not bringing enough in to replenish it... It's not really rocket science it's simple math...

32. appleDOESNT.com

Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Candy coated, lolipop lookin iOS7 was designed for 13 year old girls, their target audience. I mean adults choose Windows and Android already, they are just playin to their audience. And for that, they nailed it lol

46. stealthd unregistered

Don't be silly, no one chooses Windows.

47. appleDOESNT.com

Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

the 1% do... ooops i mean 1% do but still, add android's 77% plus 1% and they ape iOS in marketshare

71. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Just how bad do you hate apple? What exactly did this huge multi billion dollar company do to little old you?

84. appleDOESNT.com

Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

iHate apple less than iHate the arrogance of iFans and ya, iM not a fan of how Apple does business. Ya know, offering less for more, highest possible margins, lowest possible tech return. iMean really Apple, the ridiculously overpriced iPad, 3 years later and coming up on 5 releases has never sen a price cut? Ya, $5-800 for a iPad is embarrassingly overpriced then and now. Just not a iFan sorry

108. jeck77

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 09, 2010

Arrogance of iFans? This coming from someone who obviously has no idea what he's talking about. When the iPad launched, it was the first tablet to hit the market below $1000, and it listed at $499 for the 16GB. Overpriced? They're considered overpriced now because Google had to come with a much lower price point to even compete, and still can't match the quality of the iPad. Yet the Surface R/T launched at $499, the Nexus 10 at $499, the HP Touchpad at $499, the Blackberry Playbook at $499. Overpriced? Call out Google, Microsoft, HP/Palm, and Blackberry first before trying to be cool and jump on the "Hate Apple bandwagon". Also, it sounds to me you've never used a Macbook Pro. My Macbook Pro Retina blows away any Windows laptop I've ever owned, and I've owned ones that had much higher specs, yet I'd take my "overpriced" Macbook anyday over Windows laptops. Not only do I run OS X, but I also run Windows 8 using Parallels. Not only is using my Macbook pure joy in terms of the quality of the keyboard, trackpad, screen, etc. the reliability is second to none with their warranty program. NO Windows laptop even comes close. So overpriced is all relative.

117. ady_lad

Posts: 83; Member since: Jul 17, 2013

I would take a Surface over and iPad any day...one big reason...practicality and user experience. Now PC vs Mac(agaaain)...for the price of a Mac you buy a laptop with miles better specs that the Mac, and you are talking anout user experience? Windows is more capable, more practical and powerful that OS X...And yes, you could run a Hack-intosh too...but why would you do that?

124. Sauce unregistered

Nailed it. +9001.

133. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

I'm pretty sure he's talking about most Android Tablets having HD screens, expandable memory, etc etc and the iPad not having them. I dunno about you but, I prefer to not pay the same or more for less. I'm pretty sure appleDOESNT.com was probably talking about the same things. The rest of your statements about the Laptops are very opinionated. So what's your point?

127. loki1618

Posts: 22; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Hey stay off the Ipads! hate it or love it they are the best tablets around.

41. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Haters gotta hate lol

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