The Next Big iThing – Part II

In my last article I discussed OS X Mavericks and continuing with the discussions on the announcements made by Apple, next is the iOS 7. When Apple launched the first iPhone, it changed the way phones would be used. iPhone was the best thing that happened to mobile phones iOS 7… well it is the next big thing that happened to iPhone since its launch!

It is colourful, sleek and elegant. Here we see a lot of external influences on the look. And although the classy and clean Johnny Ive look is still there but I could not help noticing it going so much more metro… almost tile-ish!! Yes you reading it right and I am hinting to the new Microsoft Windows look.

But it is vibrant and much more beautiful and we would love flicking all through it. I feel that is what real mobile phone experience is all about. Where we make use of most of the phone with just one hand and minimal finger use. Something I feel Sony Xperia Z in spite of its ginormous proportions delivers well.

With the concept of AppNap, Apple has taken energy efficiency of the system to an even greater height.

The icons are now cleaner and flat and seem to float giving it a very 3D-ish feel where tilting the phone gives reveals more of the background as if proving a sneak peek at what one cannot otherwise see.

The lock screen for the first time has seen a change where we do not have any shining and shimmering bar but a translucent screen above the background

Gone are the days where we saw fabrics and leather and real life objects in the Apps such as calendars. Now it is all flat and slim and clean and reeks of Ive’s minimalistic style. Notification panel comes with a Today view, which lets us see friends’ birthdays, upcoming invitations, calendar, stocks, and a quick look at tomorrow. Everything seems to have white base except stock app, which is black, and the weather app, which has a live wallpaper to explain the weather. The keyboard is more white, than grey, with a translucency that lets you see what’s underneath the keyboard giving you a feel of the context.

Multi tasking has become far more efficient and at the same time energy-efficient where it is now not just limited to music player or texts or the net but enables all third-party applications.

An all new cleaner Safari opens straight into full screen mode now, with the option to pull down to bring up the search bar at the top which has been improved to be a unified smart search field, which lets you have access to all your favorite websites with a single tap. Tabs come with a totally new interface, scrolling in a vertical fashion and swiping a tab sideways closes it. Also now, the number of tabs is unlimited instead of eight as it was before. Plus Safari has the new iCloud Key Chain feature and parental control.

Photos and pictures have been revamped too where pictures are now sorted automatically as per location and time period. The gallery even gives fun names to the album. The camera becomes more functional and we can change modes from still photo to HDR to video to panorama by just swiping. And we get all new filters almost like Instagram gives us.

iOS 7 also introduces iTunes Radio which I doubt will work in India. But if it does, it will suggest us stations like the Genius feature of iTunes and will even display the list of the songs in the station’s playlist.

Then Control Center, an all-new feature like the Notification drop down menu in Android. Except here it Is pull up instead of dropping down and can be accessed even in the locked screen state. It allows us to adjust brightness, volume, and other settings including WiFi, Airplane mode, rotation lock, or Bluetooth and even offers a handy flashlight, along with tabs for music, camera, and other quick-access apps.

Sharing becomes easier with iOS 7 with Air Drop that eliminates the NFC or as Apple calls it, you no longer have to “roam around the room bumping phones with each other.” Air Drop can be imagined as similar to Bluetooth except being way faster and multiple sharing with more than one person and is more secure.

The new App Store searches per our location as in if you are in a shopping district you automatically get all related apps for clothes, shops, style etc. Plus now we no longer have to deal the tons of notification on updates as the App Store does it in its own in the background. And speaking of backgrounds, the App Store too takes up a translucent look above your own backdrop!

A new feature is the Activation Lock. Now, if a thief steals your phone and tries to turn off Find My iPhone, they can no longer turn the device back on without your iCloud password. It can also block messages and calls.

And lastly I would like to discuss Siri, which now gets a new voice – both male and female in many languages, but I still do not think it will supports India. It has got an all new look which makes me wonder what if Dr. Rajesh Koothrapalli saw it this time? Siri can now control screen brightness, Bluetooth and is integrated with twitter, Wikipedia and Bing (I am surprised here!)

With this I end my two-article cover on the new announcements of Apple. I am not going into the MacBook Air and Mac Pro. But what I would like to end on is the sheer audacity of Apple. When I was listening to Tim Cook speak there is a confidence and he praises his products to an extent where it borders on unhealthy publicity as he trashes and literally obliterates Microsoft, Android and Firefox. But then I realize that Apple is capable at least in its own mind to do so. And perhaps that is why Forbes called it is in Fortune magazine’s words the most admired company in the world and in my opinion a company that not only stands for innovation but remains a marketing genius!

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