Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users should prepare for some major changes. At its Worldwide Developer Conference, which kicked off today in San Francisco, Apple announced iOS 7, the latest iteration of the tech giant's popular mobile operating system. It will finally bring the user experience of these devices more on par with the latest versions of the Android, Windows and even BlackBerry mobile operating systems.
During the conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook called iOS 7 "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone." In terms of design and usability, iOS 7 will feature:
- Notifications that will appear on the lock screen.
- Multitasking for any app.
- Cleaner typography and palettes.
- More animations and layering cues to imply depth.
- More apps -- such as Apple Mail and Reading List -- that scroll continuously between items.
- More pinch and zoom control to shift views, such as changing the time frame of a displayed calendar.
- Cleaner, smoother and more attractive tab management in the mobile Safari web browser.
- Better power management to extend battery life.
But for all these new features, the ability to customize -- as users can with the latest "Jellybean" version of Android as well as for other mobile operating systems -- remains absent. For instance, today Apple touted the new "Control Center" in iOS 7. A user can swipe up from the bottom of the screen in any app to access common controls for the device to access common settings such as sound, do not disturb, display brightness, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and even a flashlight app.
"Is this more of Apple thinking for its users, rather than giving us smart defaults with options to customize," asks Dave Taylor, a longtime computer industry expert and iOS user. "As if [the flashlight is] something every iPhone user will use a lot. Is that really going to take up one of my precious buttons in my Control Center?"
When it's released this fall, iOS 7 should improve the user experience of newer iOS devices -- something that will please committed Apple users. But with many of these new features, Apple is simply playing catch up to competitors like Android's Jellybean and Windows Mobile.
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