When Apple launches iOS 7 later this year it will be the biggest overhaul the mobile operating system has ever received. But with change comes fear, and there’s already a divide forming between those who can’t let go of the iOS they know and love and those who welcome the revamp with open arms. There are a number of relatively small tweaks and additions that have really sold me on iOS 7, and they may do the same for you. These aren’t big things that you’re likely to see on an iPhone commercial — like automatic app updating or a smarter Siri, for example — but they may indeed be just as important.
I can’t tell you how excited I was when folders were first introduced to iOS, and though the feature did take care of the issue of having pages and pages of apps, I was soon left with several pages full of folders instead. Instead of allowing folders to just hold however many apps could fit on the drop-down screen like they do now, folders have pages that can be swiped through, allowing you to put all of your games in a single folder, all of your business apps in another, and so on.
Smart contrast features
Without the shaded black bars of iOS 6 and earlier to host the clock on the lock screen and the info section on the top of the home screen, picking a single color for these rather important bits of text would have made them hard to read against certain wallpapers. iOS 7 gets around this by monitoring the brightness of your background and adjusting the color of the font accordingly. Depending on your wallpaper the font will switch between black and white, and there’s also a slight shading that will be applied to the areas around the text depending on what the system determines will be the easiest to read. It’s a remarkably intelligent feature that could have very easily been completely overlooked.
Safari’s slick tabs
To be fair, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the way Safari handles tabs in iOS 6. It’s functional, if a bit ugly, but it gets the job done. But when I first saw iOS 7’s tab browsing feature I may have audibly uttered “oooh.” Not only is it now possible to see many more tabs on a single screen, flipping through them is buttery smooth in a very CoverFlow-esque way. You can snap to the window you want and kill unneeded tabs much faster, all with the added bonus of it being just plain pretty to look at.
Yet another new feature that ups both form and function, the multitasking feature has been overhauled to offer a preview of the current state of the app, rather than just a list of icons that leave you to guess what exactly you might have been in the middle of. The preview windows look great and are large enough that you’ll instantly know exactly where you were in just about any app, be it a game, messaging client, etc. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the features that we’ll look back on next year and wonder how we got by without it.
Newsstand finally falls in line
Newsstand has been a problem for a long time. No, I’m not talking about the app itself — from all accounts it’s matured since its introduction and it’s a reliable way to catch up on magazines and other editorials — I’m referring to its ability to ruin an otherwise well-organized app collection. Ever since it was introduced, Newsstand has refused to be placed in folders or deleted, regardless of whether or not you have ever used it. Because of this, it’s often one of the first things people remove when jailbreaking their devices, and if someone told me they voided the warranty on their device for the sole purpose of removing the offending app, I would have a hard time holding it against them.
But now, along with the death of the app’s skeumorphic design, comes the ability to grab Newsstand by the scruff of the neck and shove it into whatever folder you see fit. I hope you’ll join me in saying: Finally.
It’s the little things: The tiny changes that may make you fall in love with iOS 7 originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.