(In the first part of this three-part blog, we reviewed Apple’s latest mobile software iOS7 from design perspective. In this post, we will discuss new software features in iOS 7 and improvements from iOS 6. You can read the first part here)
Software features and improvements
iOS 7 brings following new software features and improvements to your iPhone:
All new multi-tasking
iOS 7 brings in a new card based multi-tasking screen wherein the user can scroll through a carousel of thumbnails to switch between the apps. The app icon is displayed for the corresponding thumbnail for the user to identify the app. To switch to an app, the user has to tap on one of the thumbnail or icon. To quit an app from the background, the user has to swipe-up the thumbnail. The new multi-tasking screen works in the landscape orientation as well.
There’s a minor, yet clever thing about the new multi-tasking functionality that Apple hasn’t mentioned about it. If you notice carefully, the scroll speed when the user scrolls horizontally using the thumbnails is slower to that of the scroll speed of the app icons. I believe this was done intentionally because different users would prefer different scroll speeds and/or depending on the number of background apps that are running, a user would prefer for a faster/slower switch based on the context as well.
The system also handles backgrounding in a much smarter way. The system keeps a track of the most used apps and gives them a priorty over the remaining apps (provided the apps make use of the iOS 7 APIs). This works essentially well in a scenario where, let’s imagine, if you are a frequent Facebook app user and you have a plane to catch. After you take a seat and turn your plane to Airplane mode, you would still have updated news feed to read.
At the first glance, Control Center on iOS 7 looked like Susan Kare’s wonderful design of 1984’s Macintosh’s Control Panel.
I like the way how notification center and control center are two separate entities/layers unlike seen on the other modern mobile phone operating systems. If Notification Center is all about your push notifications, calendar, weather and that sort of notifications, Control Center is all about *controlling* things.
For users who would like to quickly change the brightness or toggle Wi-Fi/brightness or launch something like a camera or flashlight, no longer have to fiddle around the settings app. A simple swipe up from the bottom would launch Control Center.
Both Notification Center and the Control Center now work from the lock screen as well. The Control Center also supports landscape orientation.
No matter if there is *Find my iPhone* enabled and activated, the users still fear of losing their iPhone.
Starting from iOS 7 onwards, in case of a lost device, the user as usual can remote wipe the data from *Find my iPhone* and make the iPhone completely useless for the thief. Once a device’s data is wiped and/or if a thief restores the phone, he would be presented to enter details of the iCloud username and password with which the device has been registered with, betting that the thief wouldn’t know such details.
Automatic app updates
Gone are the days when you need to open App Store app every day to start app updates. iOS 7 has automatic app updates. A user can configure whether an app update can be carried out on Wi-Fi / cellular networks automatically. Once this is set, the user would get to see what apps are automatically updated in the Notification Center.
The newly updated apps also have a blue dot below the app icon and in front of the name as well for easy identification.
(In the last and concluding post, we will focus on cameras, Airdrop, notification sync and other key features of iOS7. Keep watching this space!)