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iOS 7 vs Windows Phone 8: which mobile platform is right for you?

Matt Egan | Oct. 3, 2013
We test Windows Phone against iPhone to find out which is best

In terms of apps, Apple has been more reserved about changing things, with a few notable exceptions. Generally, features haven't been changed, so everything you could do in iOS 6 you can do in iOS 7.

The Music app, for example, now lets you browse your music via a scrolling list of cover art, with a quick tap zooming onto the album, displaying a tracklist. The Camera app has been overhauled completely. You now swipe to change between modes: normal, square, panoramic and video and, in keeping with the current trend, you can apply filters in the edit mode.

Note that only the iPhone 5S has the burst photo mode and slo-mo video. The iPhone 4 still doesn't get the panorama option, but you can now take square photos.

Safari, finally, has an all-in-one search and address bar, so you don't need to think about which box you tap to search for a website. The old limit of eight tabs has gone and there's a new 3D view when switching between tabs which we like a lot.

Web pages are automatically displayed full screen - as with several apps, including Photos, the controls fade from view when they're not required, giving the content maximum screen real estate.

Calendar, though, is perhaps the best example of how iOS 7 uses colour to draw the user's attention to relevant information. The current date is highlighted with a big red circle, with the same shade of red used to highlight other interactive elements. Yet, many have criticised Calendar for lacking functionality - third-party apps are still your best bet.

Apple's much-maligned Maps app has been updated a lot recently. There are also a few interface tweaks including a scale indicator in the corner, and bookmarks are now saved in iCloud and shared across devices, a handy addition that should have been there in the first place. Mac users can send maps and directions directly to their iPhone using the desktop Maps app in OS X Mavericks too.

Two years after it launched, Siri is no longer a beta product. The interface is slightly changed, but the real update is a wider range of search abilities. Siri can now search Twitter and Wikipedia, while Bing is now the default web search - an indication of Apple further severing ties with Google.

The Newsstand app now runs full screen, with an opaque background that allows your wallpaper to glow through. Also, you can now move the app into that 'unused' folder everyone creates for apps they don't want cluttering up their home screens but can't uninstall.

Talking of folders, there's no limit on the number of apps you can put in a folder, but only nine are displayed at once. If there are more, you have to swipe across to show them, which isn't ideal, but it does mean you no longer have to have multiple folders such as 'Games 1, Games 2, Games 3' and so on.

 

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