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iOS 7 hands-on first impressions

We take a look around Apple's upcoming and controversial iOS update
Wed Jul 10 2013, 13:26

GADGET DESIGNER Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system (OS) divided opinions following its unveiling at WWDC. Some heralded Jony Ive's user interface changes as much needed, while other Apple fans have threatened to switch to Android after Apple releases the OS.

iOS 7 is a departure from iOS 6 and previous versions of the mobile OS, as Apple has given its mobile operating system the first real makeover since it announced the first iPhone.

Curiosity got the better of The INQUIRER, and we managed to acquire the iOS 7 beta 2 and have been running it on an iPhone 5 handset for a couple of weeks.

Apple's iOS 7 has been described as 'flat', but it's not what we would call a flat design. Sure, the lack of texture in the app icons and the simplistic new menus mean it looks flatter than iOS 6, but it has much more life to it than Apple's previous mobile software.

Once past the simplified setup menus, the first thing users will notice is the revamped lock screen. The new iOS lock screen lets you swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock your iPhone or iPad, and also features dynamic wallpapers, which appear to move with you as you move your iPhone thanks to Apple's new Parallax Effect feature. Thankfully the camera button remains intact, so it's just as quick to fire up the app.

iOS 7 screen shots

There's also support for the Notifications centre from the lock screen, as well as Apple's new Control Center, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This has proven to be one of our favourite features of iOS 7 so far, as the Bluetooth and WiFi toggle switches have saved us from trawling through the Settings menu every day.

Once the handset is unlocked, everything looks completely different at first, although users will soon realise that it's not really different. Safari's icon, for example, is now a basic compass icon while Weather features a simpler, gradiant background and a stripped back picture. While app icons have been completely reworked by Ive and his team, everything still works in a similar way to previous versions of the operating system, and we didn't find it too different to using iOS 6.

Apple has reworked folders too. In addition to the option to have multiple pages, so you no longer have to have two Games folders, the look and feel has changed, with folders now opening to fill the screen. Another difference users will notice is the status bar across the top, while the drastic font changes across the board add to the seemingly pervasive iOS user interface changes.

Multitasking has also been given an overhaul, and is now reminiscent of HP's WebOS with its card-based interface. Double tap on the Home button now and it will display windows showcasing all of your open apps, which can be closed by swiping away. While we prefer this to Apple's earlier multitasking menu, we're disappointed that you can no longer control music playback with a double tap.

Next: Apps


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