The next incarnation of Apple's vaulted iOS has arrived, and yet -- for many of the people who have set eyes on it -- it feels as though the OS has taken a step back. While iOS 7 had as much pomp and circumstance as any other release, the actual OS and what it brought with it seemed to disappoint many Apple users.
The iOS 7 preview photos reveal a much more minimalistic and simplistic layout. Brian Rozen published several screenshots of the new iOS in its full beta glory, and you can see more than a few changes.
Previous iOS incarnations took advantage of the fact that the icons were masterfully rendered in 3D, but the new iOS has flatter, more simplistic blocks of color and vector art. The layout has also changed from the standard group of columns and rows that users have been accustomed to for a while.
Similarities to Android?
The new iOS 7 interface still has some home buttons at the bottom of the rows and columns, but the panels of the icons are now set in a way that's remarkably reminiscent of the swiveling panels in an Android OS system.
The panels themselves are "frosted," which allow a hazy blend of colors to come through from the users' background wallpaper. This is possibly done in order to make the vectorized icons better suited for the overall appearance of the OS.
Back to white
White has long since been the signature color and sleek elegant design of Apple products. However, it looks like the OS has also reverted to white. All apps would basically have a white base, including the music player. In addition to the white overall feel of the app interface, it's also semi-transparent -- the buttons are "clear" in the sense that it takes after the frosted haze of color coming from the user's wallpaper.
The Control Center screen now offers a flashlight, and it appears in a pull-up tray. This tray used to be a nuisance to iOS users who accidentally dropped it down every time they happened to make the same downward swipe twice. The music player controls (volume, skip forward, skip backward), Wi-Fi, airplane mode, night mode, and lock orientation buttons are now restricted to this screen. Next to the flashlight button is the clock, calculator, and camera, which are some of the most commonly used utilities in an iOS device.
Old model? Forget it
[Updated on July 10, 2013] One of the most jarring changes Apple has inflicted with iOS 7 is that some of the features are only compatible with the very newest Apple mobile products. For example, AirDrop -- which lets you quickly share photos, videos, and contacts -- is only available on the iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (4th generation), or iPad mini with an iCloud account. Users of older models won't be able to wholly enjoy all of the features that users of the latest products will enjoy. This is a disconcerting thought, as it's only been a year or less since the latest models came out and not everyone will opt to upgrade.
Overall, iOS 7 brings changes -- some of them good, some of them bad. However, many users are left unimpressed, being far more used to Apple's previous standard. What are your first impressions about iOS 7? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Michelle Simpson is a full-time professional editor that focuses on online writing services, specializing in the field of technology like RingCentral PBX, business, and current trends in the industry.