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iOS7: Fresh but Familiar

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Apple has finally stopped its stubbornness and has finally adopted the many practical features found in other OS (mainly Android) to improve usability.

It’s about time they did, because while Android was breaking ground with Jellybean, Apple’s iOS felt like it stagnated and was not really innovative anymore. Add the Apple Maps mishap and you have an OS that has disappointed a lot of its users.

Enter the iOS 7. This new OS from Apple feels new and fresh but remains familiar at the same time.

What’s new with iOS 7

The first thing you will notice is the minimalist design that is consistent throughout the OS pages. The minimal white background looks fresh and unobtrusive. The lock screen now also features a Samsung Galaxy S3-like surface with circle designs. The lock screen box has also gone for the more minimal “slide to unlock” text. The tiles are likewise appear flatter and seem to be floating above the wallpaper.

The changes, however, are not limited to looks. There are several simple but very practical changes in the iOS including the addition of a control center (finally) and an improved notifications menu. The camera also got better with pictures being organized through moments based on date, time, and geo tagged locations. You can also change modes with a simple swipe and add filters to photos like Instagram.

Apple also is entering the Internet radio territory with iTunes Radio, which is tied to the users’ Apple IDs. If you find a song that you love, you can just buy the song on the spot without leaving the page.

Safari has also become much less cluttered with the URL and search now in one field. The controls also disappear when not in use and you can view tabs in rolling rectangular pages. Viewing open apps also got an upgrade. By double tapping the home screen, you no longer get the icons of the open apps but rectangular previews instead. This makes multi-tasking and shifting from one app to another much easier. For example, you can make a call through your virtual PBX app then easily shift to your Dropbox to check on your online documents.

You can also expect a brand new voice and personality from Apple’s resident digital assistant Siri; it’s even got a male version for all you ladies out there. The most impressive improvement on Siri is that it can now perform actions on your phone’s settings like adjusting brightness and activating Bluetooth. You can also use Siri to search Wikipedia and Twitter and the results appear.

There are still a lot of other improvements made such as the new iTunes radio and Face Time audio, which you can check out once the latest iOS is released.

Who gets the update?

Unfortunately, not all Apple products will be compatible with iOS 7. In fact, only the iPhone5 and the iPod Touch 5th generation will get all the features of the new OS. The iPad 1, iPhone 3G, and the devices older than those will not be compatible with the OS at all. AirDrop will not be included in iPad2 and 3, and iPhone 4 and 4S. All current iPads and the iPhone 4 will also not be getting the new camera filters and Panorama mode. The iPad2, in fact, will only get the new Siri and the iTunes Radio. Understandably, this is the consequence of technology evolution. Old hardware are no longer compatible with the new improvements.