Jony Ive’s “flat” iOS 7 doesn’t exactly seem like an Apple Maps-style disaster, but it’ll have its work cut out convincing naysayers (including Mobot's Martin and Jan) that it’s a step in the right direction.
There’s been plenty of iOS 7-related negativity, for sure, but I figured I’d take some time to list seven features that I’ll definitely welcome come the “fall” release.
As a brief aside, a lot of the criticism has been aimed at iOS 7’s aesthetics. That’s largely subjective (hey, some people might like it), but I reckon the feel is just as important – if not more so. Looking forward to getting my hands on iOS 7 when the leaves turn brown.
And here, in no particular order, are what I consider the top seven iOS 7 features.
iOS 7 Control Center
One of the first things I did with my jailbroken iPhone was install SBSettings. It’s one of the most popular features on Cydia, and essentially introduces toggles for settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Brightness.
That’s exactly what iOS 7 Control Center does, with a simple swipe up revealing a host of settings for your iDevice. Heck, there’s even a flashlight.
iOS 7 iTunes Radio
Yeah, I know this one is US-only for now, but I actually quite like the sound (pun intended) of iTunes Radio, particularly the idea of building playlists around songs or artists and choosing Discovery mode; playing obscure things and forgoing the obvious hits. Like.
Oh, and iTunes Radio is free with ads, and entirely free - sans ads - if you're an iTunes Match subscriber.
iOS 7 Multitasking
Another feature that appears to have been heavily influenced by the jailbreaking community, iOS 7 multitasking looks very much like the functionality offered by Auxo.
Open iOS 7 apps appear in a horizontal list, and above the standard icon is a preview window showing what was going down when you last left the app. Nice.
And as with Auxo, you can quickly swipe up to dismiss (i.e. close) the app. No more holding your finger down, waiting for the apps to start shaking then pressing the little cross. Man, who thought that was a good idea?
iOS 7 Notification Center
I think it’s probably fair to say that one of the most requested iOS features of the past few years was access to the Notification Center from the lock screen. With iOS 7, you got it.
There are three tabs along the top in iOS 7 Notification Center, namely Today, All and Missed, with the former having weather and calendar information baked right in. Dare I say it’s almost a bit… Google Now?
iOS 7 Contact blocking
Contact blocking remains somewhat of a grey area; is it a phone thing or a network thing?
Well, with iOS 7, it’s definitely a phone thing. Initially I suspected iOS 7 contact blocking might be limited to FaceTime and iMessages (i.e. the Apple side of things), but it appears to extend to all contact from, eh, contacts. Goodbye, crazy ex!
iOS 7 Automatic app updates
I’m not entirely sold on this one as I recently had several GB of app updates queued on my iPad, and accidentally installed them all in one go after tapping - yes - Update All. Gah.
However, I’m a bit weird in the sense that I tend to keep games around that I don’t want to delete, but don’t necessarily want to update.
On my iPhone, though, I tend to travel light, only keeping apps that I actually use, and as such I’m happy for them to be updated automatically in iOS 7.
Presumably we’ll still have access to some sort of release notes.
iOS 7 Safari
Good lord, Apple’s proprietary browser, Safari, looks about a million times better in iOS 7 than the current iteration.
For starters, we have vertically stacked tabs, instead of the stupid horizontal one-window-per-screen-when-you’re-changing-page set-up we have now.
Apple has also done away with the arbitrary eight-page limit currently imposed on Safari.
Somewhat controversially, however, Apple has removed Google as the default search engine, introducing Microsoft’s Bing instead. Hmm.
Yep, I don’t mind saying it; I’m actually really looking forward to iOS 7, though I am "Apple's Head Fanboy". Ahem.
For a glimpse at many of the key iOS 7 features in action, head over to - you guessed it - Apple.