iOS 7: Functional or Flawed Design?

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iOS 7It’s no secret that Apple likes to introduce new and improved products to the world on a regular basis. While the release of a new device can definitely be exciting, the release of an updated operating system can often be even more historic. iOS is what’s behind your whole mobile experience and runs everything. Without it, your device could not operate, and every update to it helps improve your experience. Many of these updates do not get the hype they deserve. However, iOS 7 is an exception. The new update introduces many changes in the way the system works and looks. There is no doubt that Apple has taken a huge leap with this release; but have they gone forwards or backwards?

The first thing you will see when you power on a device with iOS 7 is the lock screen- and it’s no surprise that such a crucial part of the operating system is revamped. Apple, after realizing that a lock screen shouldn’t be obscured by bars, resorted to a more open, Android-esque version. The previously mediocre font is replaced by a thin, modern one, enhancing the lock screen’s beauty. Instead of having to drag a slider across the screen, you can now slide from anywhere. The camera button returns as a translucent icon in the corner. This lock screen is a perfect example of pure eye-candy; no distractions, just simplicity at its finest.

Once you unlock your device, you’ll notice that the formerly crisp icons are replaced with softer, brighter ones. If you liked the sharp, grown-up feel of iOS 6, you may have a hard time accepting its successor. Glossy and razor-edged becomes chubby and round. The new icons look like they belong more on a toy phone than on one of worldwide magnitude. But if light and happy is your forte, this update might come as a pleasant surprise.

Apple has traded in its plain notification center for a much more blissful, user-friendly one. This feature does a nice job of showing off the fact that iOS has finally adopted the thinner, sleeker feel that has long worked for Android. You can view your notifications in three different categories- today, all, and missed. The center goes along with the notification bar at the top of your screen, which now blends in so neatly that you won’t even notice it’s there. Also, you no longer have to cringe at an ugly gray interface every time you want to check your notifications; the center is now simply gorgeous.

One feature that really takes iOS 7 to the next level is the control center. By swiping up from the bottom, you summon a menu that allows you to do things such as toggle your wifi, toggle your Bluetooth, change brightness, control your music, access common tools, and more. Of course, this feature has been around on Android devices long before iOS 7 was even thought of. It seems as if iOS 7 is Apple’s way of taking Android concepts and making them their own. Some would argue that Android, the father of these innovations, makes them work better than anyone else- which is purely a matter of opinion.

Multitasking is another iOS feature that has been tweaked to resemble Android closely. Instead of just scrolling through icons at the bottom of your screen, you are now able to scroll through images of all your background apps. Another huge leap for Apple is the unveiling of a new service called iTunes Radio. iTunes is without a doubt the largest music marketplace in the world, and now it’s taking it a step further. Like Pandora Radio, iTunes Radio creates a customized radio playlist based on your tastes. You are able to buy the songs you like at the click of a button. However, you will have to hear ads while using it to support the free service.

Apps such as Safari, Siri, mail, photos, and messages get a new makeover along with the rest of the UI in iOS 7. Some features that return from iOS 6 include Find My iPhone and iCloud. The camera app, with its refreshed design, now comes equipped with multiple filters. The weather app underwent a major change, and it is now brighter and easier to understand. A new feature called AirDrop allows you to share anything with anyone through any app with ease and even print via AirPrint. Printing capability is still limited however because not many printers support AirPrint. Ink Technologies and printing has evolved in recent years and it would be nice to see Apple tackle better or more printing options in future iOS updates.

iOS 7, like every other update, has its benefits and detriments. It’s a huge transition and a major milestone in Apple’s history. But is this change a pleasant surprise or a rude awakening? While the operating system may have its flaws and hiccups, its new features and interface outweigh them. It may be true that Apple copied every single detail from Android and utilized them in their overly-bubbly design, but without it taking place, there would still be a huge difference between the two operating systems. iOS 7 helps bridge the gap and even make new iOS converts out of its new features. iOS 7, while still having its quirks and bugs, is not only fully functional- it’s revolutionary.

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