SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Apple released its iOS 7 mobile operating system (OS) on 18 September, and we hurried to update our iPhone 5 to see if the upgrade is a positive change.
We were generally impressed with the new version as a standalone platform, and now we've had a chance to use it for a few days we've compared it with the older iOS 6 system to help those who are still undecided about making the leap to iOS 7 to make up their minds.
The biggest change Apple has made to iOS is the user interface, with a complete refresh of the app icons, and a totally new look and feel. The new OS - shown on the left throughout - has been designed by Apple to be unobtrusive and minimalistic, stripping away any unnecessary features. The design is a flatter one than on previous versions, with less texture on app icons, pared-down fonts and minimalistic menus. So the boxes surrounding functions such as Edit and Done, and heavy bars at the bottom or top of screens in iOS 6 - shown on the right throughout - have been removed, just leaving the text on show. The lock screen has also had a revamp, with the boxy phone keypad style of iOS 6 being replaced with a more Android-esque look and feel, with round buttons. Apple has countered this stripped-down approach with a more vibrant colour palette and zoom feature for opening and closing folders and apps.
Apple has also updated the app icons to better reflect today's notion of elements such as Photos, Camera and Newsstand. So the old sunflower, camera lens and bookshelves have been thrown out and replaced with a colour wheel, an old-fashioned camera image - reflecting the Instagram generation - and various magazine covers for the Newsstand.
The first thing you'll notice once past the simplified setup menu is the revamped lock screen. The new iOS 7 lock screen removes the heavy arrow and bar required to unlock iOS 6, and instead lets you swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock your iPhone or iPad. The updated OS also features dynamic icons that appear to move with you as you move your iPhone, thanks to Apple's new Parallax Effect feature.
We also like the new translucent overlay of the new interface, which means folders change colour to reflect your wallpaper, and the fact you can now have multiple pages in folders. This means once you reach nine apps in a folder, Apple will create a new page in the folder rather than squashing them all onto one page.