If you read this blog for a while, you know that I own 2 iPhones (an iPhone 4s and an iPhone 3G) and I’m a fan of these devices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that hardcore fan that stays up all night to watch the latest Keynote from Apple. I’m just a fan that recognizes the quality of Apple’s products. In the past, I have tried Android OS, but for specific reasons (accessibility, easiness, reliability), the iOS was more appealing for my needs. Over the years, Apple tried to improve the iOS, adding more features with every new released version. Now, iOS 7 is almost here, bringing new design and new functionality, so I am going to enumerate the most important improvements that make it better than iOS 6.
This is probably the main reason I’ve installed Cydia on my devices, just to get those quick controls in the main screen (via SBSettings). It took Apple few years to understand this need of the consumers, and they finally decided to implement the Control Center, that brings fast on/off controls for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Music, Flashlight, Clock, Calculator, Camera. My hope is that in a future version of iOS, we’ll be able to even customize those shortcuts, but, until then, I’m really happy that Control Center will be available soon. For me, this is probably the best improvement seen in iOS7.
Apple is using that old multitasking interface ever since iOS 4 was launched. Now, they decided to add an Android-ish feel over it, allowing the user to swipe through small screen captures of apps, and close specific apps with a swipe-up. This way, the multitasking control feels more natural and easier to use. And if we are in this chapter, I should write that iOS 7 brings more than a new multitasking interface, because the whole “multitasking engine” was rebuilt. Before this installment, only few apps like Skype were allowed to run in the background, and most of them entered a suspended-mode when they were not used. Now, Tim Cook suggested that the new iOS will analyze which apps are used more often, and it will grant them access to run in the background. I have not tested this feature so far, so I have no further details on it, but it seems promising.
Better Camera and Gallery
From the hardware perspective, the iPhone’s camera is great and I have no complaints about it. But if we talk about the default camera app, Apple should have not implement their “keep it simple” functionality. In iOS 6, you can’t add any type of effects on the photos, you can’t control the image size or the brightness of the photo. Of course, there is an app for everything, but I really wanted to see more features in the default camera app. The iOS 7 brings better functionality to it, fixing all those things that I’ve enumerated above (image filters, image format). Also, there is a new Image Gallery implemented in the new installment. No more swiping through infinite number of pictures. Now, the phone will automatically group images based on the year or the location they were taken.
Now, if you want to share an image with friends, you will have to use the mail, the Messages or apps like Dropbox. With iOS 7 sharing gets easier, because the new AirDrop app allows you to share photos, videos, Passbook passes, map data, cards and more with other iPhone users.
Better security with Activation Lock
Another great improvement found in iOS7 is on the phone’s security. Most of us keep sensitive data on our smartphones (passwords, images), and if the device gets stolen or it is lost we could be in a lot of trouble. Now, Apple added a new function in the new iOS called Activation Lock, that prevents anyone to mess with your phone without your iCloud username and password. So, even if the lost phone is wiped-out, they still need the iCloud user and pass to use it again. This is a great feature.
New (and maybe better) Design
As you can see, I have not wrote about the new interface so far, since I’m not sure if it is an improvement or not over iOS6. Considering what I’ve seen so far, Apple decided to add a simpler yet more dynamic interface, redesigning the icons and the menus. Someone said that iOS7 just got flat, I think that iOS just got different, and I need to use it for few weeks in order to get an accurate impression on it.
Apple finally decided to lean their ear on customer’s complaints about iOS. Control Center is probably the biggest improvement implement in iOS7 and the design is probably the most radical change, but I have to agree that functions like multitasking, gallery or Activation Lock are more than welcomed. Although there is an official release of iOS7 for the developers, we’ll have to wait until “the Fall” for the final release. My honest opinion is that iOS 7 is way better than iOS 6, and if the new functions are flawless, we can expect to operate on a whole new system this fall.