Let's face it, iOS 7 has just been released — but it isn't a surprise to anybody. Whether you're a developer, tech saavy, or have a tech saavy relative, chances are you have already played around with the newest version of iOS. If you haven't, then a quick Google search will lead you to plenty of articles describing the firmware in extreme detail (despite NDAs) and even give you the top 8 reasons why iOS 7 will/will not increase your productivity.
Like the aforementioned group of people, I have doodled around with iOS 7 during its betas. While you can go ahead and read a bunch of sites regarding all the bells and whistles, here's my quick summary of details that were notable to me.
Icons and Design
Everyone griped, myself, about the design of the icons post-WWDC. All I can say is that like the lack of a Retina display on an iPad mini, I quickly got used to design. In fact, whenever I had to use my wife's iOS 6 device, I had the feeling of "eww" whenever I glanced at the design.
For the most part, all of the redesigned iOS apps prove to be superior (design-wise) to their iOS 6 versions. They feel lighter and minimal (in a good way). However, while it does appear to be faster at using, I am still having trouble with getting used to the view when browsing open Safari "tabs". The 3D-esque view does allow you to see more of your open webpages, however it is something that I have to get used to.
So damn useful. Combined with the new design of iOS 7, the quick launch buttons for Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera has me depending on those apps versus a more powerful App Store equivalent.
I still find myself double-tapping the Home button in order to look for audio controls, however.
All I can say is that it works when it works. When I was able to see other iOS 7 devices via Airdrop, sending links and photos worked seemlessly. However, I don't see myself using it it too much until the time where 3rd party apps utilize this in their own apps.
As I mentioned, links and photos were the usual items that I would attempt to Airdrop. However, iMessaging them has always been (and will continue to be) my preferred route as it works outside of a LAN1.
It's like when you watch a 120hz and up TV for the first time — it comes off as so "real" that it feels fake.
The quality in FaceTime Audio calls was superb. I would love to use that method of calling for all my calls. However, their were QoS issues every now and then. Realistically, I wouldn't use FaceTime Audio for important calls but rather for fun, leisure calls in which you don't mind having to repeat yourself a couple times here and there.
However, I can only imagine it getting better.
As creepy as it is, I love the Today screen in Notification Center with its ability to give you a time estimate for the commute to the destination that iOS thinks you're going to based on past travels. All of the estimates given on the Today screen have been spot on with my actual commute time.
However, I do not find any relavence in the "Missed" screen. Sure it gives you a list of notifications that you have missed recently — however I personally do not store notifications to the point where viewing recent ones actually help.
I deeply miss the Tap to Tweet feature though.
Parallax and Depth
The use of Parallax and blurred backgrounds to simulate depth is my favorite detail in iOS 7. The trick is to get a good background image that exploits this feature to the max. I have found that backgrounds with subtle gradiations in color offer the best "bokeh" while simpler, yet detailed backgrounds allow you to see more of the Parallax effect.
I have been using wallpapers from this Imgur album with great success.
I would say that in iOS 6, I probably used Spotlight more than the average user did (i.e. never) — but with iOS 7, I use it heavily. It has come to the point where I am depending on it similarly to how I depend on Alfred to launch apps on the Mac.
With iOS 7's new ability to have multi-page App folders, I am inclined to dump all non-essential apps into one folder and use Spotlight to fetch them.
While swiping down from any home screen will give you access, I do wish that there was a way to trigger spotlight from any app. That would really give me the Alfred-esque experience.
iOS 7 has added new ringtones and alerts as well as updated existing ones (e.g. the lock sounded with newly added reverb). The last time Apple has updated the sounds prior to iOS 7, they added sounds that reminded me of cartoon sounds, namely Looney Tunes. However, the newly added sounds are more minimal and elegant that they remind me of Cleartones.
While I'm sure some of you have your reasons and that your mileage may differ, I see no use in using Pandora any more. Combined with Rdio and their radio feature, iTunes Radio gives me all the radio-style music indulgance that I need. What's great is the ability to tell iTunes Radio how familiar or obscure you want the song selection to be.
Since I am an active paid-iTunes Match subscriber, I don't necessarily have to use this feature to get my money's worth — however the results have been great.
As mentioned, I do use this in conjunction with Rdio with two different scenarios. Typically when I have a particular artist or album that I would like to listen to, I jump over to Rdio as the app streams much better than iTunes Match, in my opinion. However when I want that "radio" feature, where I don't really care who I listen to as long as it's in the same genre, iTunes Radio offers better intelligence in my experiences.
Also, Siri can call up any of your stations.
iOS 7 is a great update to the best to-date mobile platform. Despite whether you adopt and accept iOS 7 and quickly as I did, I feel that all future iOS users will look back at the days of pre-iOS 7 and cringe just a tad — like staring at your old high school photo with a skeuomorphic mullet.
A side effect of this is that my iMessage happens to be the app that takes up the most storage on my iOS devices. ↩