A Glimpse on iOS 7

22 09 2013

iOS 7 is out since September 18, 2013.

Designers play an essential role in the development of successful products.

Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, KBE RDI (born 27 February 1967) is an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. He has the overall responsibility for Industrial Design and also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) software teams across the company. He is the lead designer of many of Apple’s products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7.

KNE (Knight Commander)
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order is composed of five classes in civil and military divisions.

RDI (Royal Designer for Industry)
Royal Designer for Industry is a distinction established by the British Royal Society of Arts (or RSA) in 1936, to encourage a high standard of industrial design and enhance the status of designers. It is awarded to people who have achieved “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”. Those who are British citizens take the letters RDI after their names, while those who are not become Honorary RDIs (HonRDI). Everyone who holds the distinction is a Member of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (founded in 1938).

Designers are always like philosophers. Endless thinking about their product regarding uniqueness, acceptance of potential customers, usability, feasibility, and more is their daily task always with the risk to fail.

In 2012 Apple published the

iOS Human Interface Guidelines

a noteworthy read on design principles for Apple’s mobile devices.

As we can see in different publications around the world, iOS 7 is not everyone’s gusto but ‘beloved’ by most of the Apple fans.
Fashion of clothing changes every year but changes of operating systems have to be well-considered because people get familiarized with the UI and do not accept basic changes within a narrow timeframe.

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Let’s take a look on some flaws of Apple’s new OS although there are many innovative features like

  • Multitasking View
  • Control Center
  • Safari Page View
  • etc

for improving usability and user experience. See these screenshots of Multitasking and Safari on an iPhone. The Multitasking View shows you not just icons like in former iOS versions but app screens. This improves the usability. Users are conten- and not icon targeted. The recognition value is drastically improved.

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But the details of the implementations have to be revised.

Flaws …

Here are some impressions of iOS 7 with critical annotations.

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The alternative summarizing all controls at the top of the screen.

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All ergonomic guidelines suggest a contrasted view on a screen with clearly defined colors for viewing and acting sections. Apple disobeys these scientifically validated results by presenting a white keyboard and a coexistent white workspace.

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In rumors and publications after the release of iOS 7 authors and fans focussed just on the design of the new icons, the dynamic wallpapers and the new simplicity ignoring that users most of the time do not look on their ‘Beautiful Home Screen’ but use their apps. So improvements and changes of the user interface have to be assessed by working in apps. Slight contrasts and inconsistencies actually hamper fluent usage.

Apple’s principles …

Here are some excerpts of Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines and comparing these principles with the actual version of iOS 7 we can see significant variations.

Performance …

I actually use iOS 7 on an iPad 3 and iPhone 4S, so on quite new devices.
The overall performance didn’t change significantly if it’s compared to iOS 6. But some essential features are of really bad performance and sometimes confusing:

  • Multitasking
    If you move over to the new Multitasking View and open an app it first has to be waked up again by iOS. So if it’s already visible iOS and the app are still executing operations. In Apple’s iWork Suite e.g. Keynote opens and it takes about 3 sec before users can act with the app. The wake-up process is not indicated by displaying an hourglass-like animated icon.
  • Keyboard
    The keyboard in some built-in apps is sluggish and sad to say, not revamped. If you ever used a touchscreen with clammy fingers you would be thankful to have cursor control keys.

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Other flaws (on my very personal opinion) are …

  • File Management
    A PUBLIC folder where apps can save documents and other apps have access to. With this feature redundancy of files caused by frequent use of the ‘Open in’ command could be reduced.
  • Photo Management
    An easy way to transfer photos to the main photostream without creating a new folder.
  • Support of AirDrop for all devices running on iOS 7.
  • Colors
    Customization of the text color of app names as well as of the background color of folders to increase readability with all wallpapers.
  • Icons
    Free arrangement of icons on the Home Screen and in folders for better grouping.
  • Closing apps
    There is still no gesture for the iPhone (e.g. 3-Finger Zoom Out) to close an opened app. You have to use the home button. On an iPad the 4-Finger gesture is available and it’s really helpful.
  • Navigation
    You can navigate to the top of a website, the list of messages, or E-Mails but there is no chance to go to the bottom. That really nerves and increases the contamination of touchscreens with fat. Even the new iPhone 5S is not lipohobic.

Summary …

Many pros and many cons came up with Apple’s new operating system for it’s mobiles. It’s the first release of a completely revamped OS. So we have to be sympathetic. Even Microsoft failed when releasing Windows 8. We have to wait for further upgrades but I’m sure that Apple comes up with many improvements.

It’s out of question that iOS 7 is a big step forward. Apple claims to sell perfect products. So they have to work on the details now.

Related links …

The New Philosopher

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Thanks for dropping by.


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2 responses

24 09 2013
Caleb Diffell

How have you seen your battery life on the 4S since installing iOS7? For me it seems worse, though not dramatically so.

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24 09 2013
iNotes4You

Thanks for you comment, Caleb.
I don’t have measured results, but my impression is the same like yours. It didn’t significantly change although I turned on all battery power killers like background updating etc.

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