iOS 7 Features And Review – A Developer’s Perspective

by psmedia on June 17, 2013 in App Development, Apple, News

iOS 7

Apple finally unveiled the new iOS7 operating system at the Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The developers community has been abuzz with news of the major Apple release, which is arguably the most significant build since the iPhone but it finally came out on Monday the 10th in San Francisco, and the unveiling was anything but boring. Although CEO Tim Cook announced the release of upcoming software products, the focus of the day was the iOS 7, and developers were waiting to see if Apple could pull off the major OS overhaul.

The launch featured a video where Apple product designer Jonathan Ive described the new release: “there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency.” “True simplicity,’ he continued, “is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation; it’s about bringing order to complexity.”

So what new features can you expect from iOS7?

Wi-Fi HotSpot 2.0:

this technology will allow all supported devices to switch between networks without the need for authentication. Instead of having to type in a password on every network, the user can simply authenticate by virtue of owning a SIM-enabled device.

FaceTime Audio:

iPhone users could have the ability to make long and free distant calls very soon thanks to the VOIP extension Apple offers with FaceTime. The company is expanding its video calling service, and this is supposed to be a game changer, as it comes with free long distance calls.


in addition to allowing you to send photos to your friends with WiFi and Bluetooth, AirDrop is also capable of sending different file types, and it now supports Passbook passes and contacts. Apple is working on developing ties with other third party developers for a separate application programming that will allow third party file sending and receiving.

New iOS 7 Clock App:

the new clock app shows the correct time and it also has a moving second hand.

Tencent Weibo on iOS7:

Tencent Weibo is basically the Chinese Twitter and it is reportedly going to be included in the OS, but details have not been released as to the extent of the support.

Panoramic Wallpapers:

all wallpapers are dynamically animated, and now users will be able to set panoramic images from their Camera Roll as their preferred home screen background.

Night Mode:

maps will now respond to ambient light so you can use the app comfortably in the dark.

Notification sync:

if you dismiss a notification on one application it is dismissed in all the devices.

Enhanced in-car integration:

you can now bring the new Apple experience into your car with full functionality and efficiency.


some of the languages included in the OS are German, French, and, of course, English, but more languages will be added later on.


iOS 7 Features And Review

Also, among the features are translucent layers of content, which are meant to assist the user when moving through the interface by adding their sense of context. Also added is the Multitasking feature, which means users won’t need to go back to the main screen every two minutes when scrolling between different applications.

The user gets the sense of depth and vitality thanks to a new approach to animation and motion. When you change the picture on the desktop, it adjusts the entire look and feel of the system. Icons have been changed up as well with a new typography, colour palette and redesigned native apps with representation of fake wood. According to developer Jony Ive, the team aimed to create an interface that is unobtrusive and deferential where design doesn’t get in the way of content. They hope the new look will elevate content display across different applications.

The overall iOS visual overhaul was something users had been expecting for a while since Ive was appointed head of Human Interface back in October, and the change from textures and faux materials to flat surfaces and clean edges is a significant improvement.

After getting a good look at the iOS 7, it’s clear that the departure was stronger than most people anticipated. It’s a lot like when the iPhone debuted, having a screen as a phone wasn’t entirely Apple’s idea, and neither was the fancy grid of icons on the homepage, but when the iPhone came out, it set a trail blaze that saw developers go back to the drawing board.

Automatic updates feature is something most developers would appreciate on the upgrade instead of having to coordinate with backed teams to make backwards compatible Web Services. The new OS has everything synced up and the control centre looks promising.

UI faceoff

While most of the features on the iOS7 generated positive views from developers, there were some areas of conflict. For instance, the OS look became a hot debate. Some people were happy to see the drastic changes presented, but others felt some features were playing catch-up to Android, mainly the Control Centre and notifications.

The question of designs and who stole what from who is not uncommon in the industry, but that’s only because designs naturally tend to go back and forth. They converge because they’re circular, and when that happens, the users start to appreciate different brands and the contribution they make to advancing design concepts.

If Windows 8 Phone user interface was analysed, there’s no question that Microsoft steered things in the right direction and that worked out well for Apple. Now, does that mean that iOS7 ripped off WP8? No. It’s not that simple. However, one developer set a direction and the other one ran with it.

Apple has gradients, drop shadows, the parallax effect that comes on when you tilt the screen and a lot more features, but the Metro influence is still quite obvious.

Another interesting feature to look at would be the iOS 7 app switcher, which calls to mind the old WebOS cards. Or perhaps the icons on the iOS7, which have had a subtle yet noticeable change in the radius of the icon, the typography and the gradient; they all resemble the Nokia N9, which incidentally was quite obviously a direct imitation of the iPhone. Design conversations work that way. The interchangeable features among different brands is what keeps the systems moving.

The operating system comes in what one developer calls “gratuitous use of white space”, and there is a lack of boarders on the buttons, which some users find rather appealing, but some find it hard to work around. Developers who are less design-oriented may have concerns but others felt that Apple was simply raising the bar. Different doesn’t always have to be bad, and from the look of things, most developers are optimistic about the changes.

Some feel that the lack of edge definition and contrast could work against Apple because users may not realize that many icons are actually clickable. The UI was bound to be contentious because the operating system went on a whole new direction, but there is some optimism in the air, that Apple will find their balance.

Third party software “Sherlocked”

It happens on just about every Apple launch when third party developers come out against Apple integrating or in some cases copying distinctive features from popular software in the market. This time, Apple chose to integrate features of a popular mail app, Mailbox, by using its swipe gestures on the iOS7. Mailbox designs their inbox much like a to-do-list, which allows users to swipe between messages in order to execute commands, including prioritize, save, delete and so on.

Yet another case of integration in the new OS is iCloud Keychain, basically a password manager that is integrated into the browser to synchronize passwords. The thing is, the app works a lot like 1Pasword, a production of Agilebits. 1Password was actually quite popular on the Mac, and it has, in the last few years, expanded into the iOS realm. One has to wonder though, with Apple offering this strikingly similar feature on the iOS7 for free, how does that affect business for Agilebits? The company hasn’t yet made a statement about that.


News of the iOS7 release was greeted with plenty of support from developers across the country so Apple can count the transition a success so far. The company hopes the new OS will set in motion a new direction for their devices, and as users adjust to the new user interface, Apple hopes to add more usability and multiple features to compliment the shift in iOS.

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