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The magnificent iOS 7

Garry Barker (via SMH) | June 27, 2013
Three things should be said about iOS 7, Apple's new mobile operating system, announced this month and scheduled for public release in the northern autumn.

Smarter by degrees: Apple's new iOS7.

Three things should be said about iOS 7, Apple's new mobile operating system, announced this month and scheduled for public release in the northern autumn.

First, it could mean that some time this year new iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models will arrive.

Second, because iOS 7 is very much the product of designer Sir Jony Ive, and is such a sweeping change from the Steve Jobs tradition, it is certain to stir storms of both revulsion and adoration. To which one can only say: get a life. It's an operating system, not your mother-in-law.

Third, considerable though the changes are in design and function, I doubt you will have trouble embracing it.

A similar broom has swept the Macintosh operating system, also slated for release about September, when we might see, along with the spiffy, powerful and startlingly new Mac Pro desktop machine, a new iMac line-up. We will discuss Mavericks, as the new Mac OS X is called, in a later column.

So, back to iOS 7 and what it will mean to the 600 million people who run it on Apple devices, and the thousands of developers who make and maintain the 900,000 apps that use it: this is the first major change in the six years we have had iOS, and the biggest.

The iOS 7 interface is utterly new. The theme is simplicity, ease of access and beauty. Out are the skeumorphics (ghastly word) of the Jobs era - make-believe wood, leather and felt decorating bookshelves, games ''tables'' and so on. In are slim, elegant typefaces, translucent panels, muted colours and smooth animations.

Multi-touch and animation are everywhere: even a dramatic bolt of lightning added to the weather app, to enliven storm warnings. Easy-to-tap blocks replace buttons, gestures replace back buttons, and a cool ''3D'' effect on the home screen makes your wallpaper move behind the icons as you turn the phone. Folders gain a full-screen view and will hold several pages of apps. Photos in messages are big and bold. The screen looks bigger because it displays edge to edge.

Perhaps best of all is a new control centre brought up with a swipe of the finger across any screen, including the lock screen, to get all the basic controls for Bluetooth, airplane mode, music, Wi-Fi, brightness, access to the calculator, the camera (already a slide-up from the lock screen in iOS 6) and a flashlight for showing you the way home.

Oh, and updating of apps will be automatic. It will work on a cellular network, but the phone will check signal strength and reliability. I think, though, I might limit it to Wi-Fi; so much cheaper than LTE.

 

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