I promised to scribble my first impressions of iOS 7 earlier this morning, and here I am delivering on said promise with a thousand-word monstrosity of an essay. #hero
Jan has already given the game away by insisting that you install iOS 7 now (“do it!!!” he says, in his best German supervillain accent), and I have to concur: it’s pretty great like.
In the absence of any sort of constructive note taking, I figure I’ll just list a bunch of stuff I’ve stumbled across so far. #pulitzer
Needless to say, more little features (and potentially niggles) will become apparent in the days and weeks to come, and we’re not in a position to comment on battery life just yet, but it’s looking good so far.
iOS 7 icons and appearance
I think it’s fair to say the majority of people were pretty stunned when initially presented with iOS 7, a bit like James Hunt’s reaction to Niki Lauda’s burns in Rush (excellent movie, incidentally).
But you know what? It’s really not that bad. In fact, I actually kinda like it. True, some of the icons are godawful (Photos, Game Center and Reminders are particularly terrible), but on the whole, it looks and feels pretty good. It’s definitely growing on me.
As for iOS 7 wallpaper, we now have a pair of options, namely Dynamic and Stills. At present, there are only seven Dynamic wallpapers, pretty much just bubbles in different colours, but inevitably we’ll see more in due course.
Not entirely sure how I feel about dynamic wallpapers, considering the potential drain on battery life, but hey, at least the option’s there if you fancy it.
iOS 7 folders
Folders in iOS 7 now get the full screen treatment. Tapping zooms in on the folder, and the icons are grouped into sets of nine (3 x 3), with a horizontal swipe taking you through them. Like.
iOS 7 multitasking
Ripped straight from the heart of the jailbreak community, iOS 7 boasts sexier multitasking, so when you double tap the Home button, you now see the app icons along the bottom, with an accompanying preview above. Another nice touch. Er, thanks, Auxo.
iOS 7 Command Center
The iOS 7 Command Center is another feature clearly inspired by the jailbreak community, where one of the most popular tools is a little panel of toggles for your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and what have you. iOS 7 Command Center is accessible with a swipe up from anywhere – even the lock screen.
The brilliant thing for me is the ability to quickly turn the flashlight on and off. See, I regularly go to bed after my good lady (I’m a night owl; she has a normal sleeping pattern), and as such it’s necessary to find my way to bed by the iPhone’s flashlight.
Previously, I had to unlock my iPhone, navigate to the homescreen with the Camera app on it, switch to video camera mode, tap the light option, and set it to On. Sweet Moses.
Now, with iOS 7, I just swipe up from the lock screen and tap the flashlight. Brilliant.
iOS 7 Notification Center
Swiping down from anywhere in iOS 7 (including the lock screen) brings up the Notification Center, which is now split into three sections: Today, All and Missed.
As I’ve just discovered, you will be notified when apps have updated automatically – should you choose to turn that particular feature on.
And notifications dismissed on one iDevice are now dimissed on all. Good.
iOS 7 Newsstand
You can now shove it in a folder! Huzzah!
iOS 7 Facebook
Somewhat confusingly, the iOS 7 Facebook app has been given a fairly major overhaul, so it’s now this much like the desktop version: not at all. What happened to the synergy, Facebook?
Unsurprisingly, it looks very iOS 7, though I’ve yet to spend a great deal of time with it. Slightly weird having those options (News Feed, Requests, Messages, Notifications) along the bottom now.
iOS 7 App Store
The App Store, too, has been given the obligatory iOS 7 overhaul. Again, haven’t used it a great deal, but it seems pretty intuitive and slick to me.
One of the headline new features is Near Me, which uses your location to provide popular apps in your area. For example, I’ve got Traveline Scotland and ScotRail, which are obviously no use to people down south. Interesting.
iOS 7 ringtones
New system sounds and ringtones! I count almost 30 new tunes, but don’t worry if you’re stuck in your ways; all the familiar ditties appear under Classic at the bottom.
iOS 7 music
In the iOS 7 Music app, turn your iDevice sideways and you’ll now see a brilliant collage of album covers (Album Wall, it’s called). Great stuff. Having said that, it does seem to be a little glitchy at the moment, with some covers not quite tying up with the proper albums. Still, great idea. Get it sorted, Apple!
iOS 7 Camera
With iOS 7, it’s now easier to switch between modes. A simple swipe left or right moves between Video, Photo, Square and Pano. There are also some new Instagram-style filters for your pics.
iOS 7 Photos
We’ve been promised automatic organisation for Photos in iOS 7, with shots grouped by date and location.
There’s also a fancy new screen that lets you do all sorts of stuff, such as share pics via AirDrop (which I don’t entirely understand just yet; maybe I’m too old), iMessage, Facebook and Twitter, and along the bottom you’ve got stuff like Copy, Slideshow and Assign to Contact.
The neat thing here is the ability to handle several pictures at once. For example, I was able to send all my iOS 7 screenshots to myself in one batch, instead of emailing each one individually. Another thumbs up.
iOS 7 Safari
Finally, with iOS 7, Safari gets a sexier way to move between tabs (they’re stacked vertically), but I’ll still be using Chrome, I reckon.
Another new feature is Shared Links, which compiles links shared by contacts on social networking thingies.
iOS 7 Spotlight
It took me a while to figure this one out, but I’ve cracked it.
Spotlight used to sit to the left of your first iOS homescreen, but it’s now accessible with a swipe down on any homescreen. But! Don’t swipe too high up or you’ll bring down the Notification Center.
iOS 7: the verdict!
Like I say, I’m quite enjoying iOS 7, and I’m still coming across little changes here and there as I write. I reckon 1,000 words is a good place to leave it for now (er, sorry!), but I’ll probably follow up with some sort of Favourite features feature – or something along those lines.
Oh, and needless to say, but do let us know what you think about iOS 7 below. Cheers!