Apple announced iOS 7 today, and it’s definitely the biggest update they have ever created. Why? It’s a full redesign of their interface, flattening everything out and removing the gratuitous amounts of gloss everywhere. And since I’m sure we’re all fans of Google’s Holo UI here, flattening out the UI is a great thing! It provides a much cleaner look. There are also many notable changes in iOS that bring it in line with 2013, even if not fully in many cases. But does it offer anything to us, the Android enthusiasts?
First, we’d have to define the “Android enthusiast.” There are many ways to do so, as there is never one definition, but for the sake of this article, let’s agree on one definition for the time being. When I think of Android enthusiast, I don’t particularly think of a fanboy, or one who is obsessed with Android specifically. I think of someone who likes to tinker, customize, hack, and take full advantage of their device. This means having advanced functionality at the tip of their finders. Indeed, many of these people came from jailbroken iPhones (like me!). But these kind of people would not hesitate to switch platforms if a better one came along. So can iOS 7 take our eyes off of Android?
Apple’s newest version of iOS has a completely redesigned user interface that flattens out the previously glossy and rounded look. The old interface was ridiculously antiquated and a direct contrast to the clean, modern design of the iPhone 5. People say they want a good quality, metal phone, but what does that achieve when your interface looks like it is made of cheap plastic? That’s how I feel about iOS 6 and every previous version.
The new interface is primarily white from what we saw in the keynote, but is flat and has a dash of dim color everywhere you look. The mutlitasking menu now has cards, showing big previews of how you last left your apps. It’s definitely a huge improvement, but is it enough?
Google’s Holo UI has really acclimated us to a flat look in our apps, so we’re probably going to like the new look of iOS 7. However, the rest comes down to opinion. I personally don’t like the messy colors you see in many places of iOS, it creates a look that isn’t quite solid. I much prefer the solid color of Holo’s UI elements, paired with a custom color or a texture. Plus, I have a feeling that the new interface will be just as restrictive as the old one to developers, while Holo is incredibly versatile.
Control Center is Apple’s way of letting the user control their device. Inside, you’ll find important system toggles, brightness, music controls, and links to some important apps. Look familiar?
Accusations of copying aside (that isn’t what we are here for), this serves the same purpose as Android’s notification bar. Except, it’s fragmented into two pieces: Notification Center and Control Center. Could they be combined? Absolutely! But does that stop them from being useful? Absolutely not.
It’s a great edition to iOS, to finally have toggles that are easily accessed from anywhere. We definitely agree with this choice, and it could sway a power user a little bit. Having direct control over hardware from anywhere is important to those who use their phones seriously.
But what’s with the color scheme? EW.
Odds And Ends
There were a few more notable changes to iOS. Apple took a good jab at Samsung with AirDrop, which allows you to share photos with people just by tapping on their contact image. Apple says that you wont’ need to tap phones to share photos anymore. Zing, right?
This is a cool feature, and will definitely be used, but so is Samsung’s S Beam. Plus, many Galaxy devices automatically tag people in photos you take, allowing you to just tap on their face to email them the photo. It’s very similar to the new AirDrop, and both are useful features. But the more features iOS gains, the better it is.
iOS 7 also gained automatic updating for App Store apps, which is pretty cool for those who don’t want to deal with constantly updating apps. But for a power user like me, this feature isn’t acceptable. I keep auto updates off, and tend to read every single changelog for every single app I update, making sure it’s a good update. I don’t know how many of you do this, but that’s how I am.
I think Apple did a good job on the iOS update. While I dislike that the UI looks like a 3rd grader melted crayons on it, I still think that it looks overall beautiful. And though it doesn’t improve on many of the areas power users demand more from, it’s a good step forward. I don’t think there is much aside from pretty looks that will draw Android users back to iOS. And don’t get me wrong, aesthetics are important. If some people switch to iOS purely for the UI, that’s fine. But feature wise, there isn’t much that is new and captivating.
Am I missing something? Do you think iOS 7 brings something else to the operating system that might draw you away from Android? Or do you think it’s the same OS with a new look and feel but the same old limitations? Leave a comment with your thoughts! And guys, try not to be too harsh. We know that you’re passionate, but be constructive!