iOS 7: Slick feature rich but inspired by Android, WP

ios7 slickNEW DELHI: If you use an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, you should immediately upgrade to iOS7. It is worth it. The new OS is full of fundamental changes. Visually, it is better than iOS 6 or older versions of the mobile operating system. And functionally, there are many new features that are bound to help you use your iPhone in a better way.

But what if you don’t have an iPhone? Don’t feel dejected. If you have an Android phone that runs Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean or a newer version of Google’s mobile OS, you already have most of the features that iOS 7 offers to iPhone users. Similarly, if you have a Windows Phone, you may not have the most feature rich mobile OS but in terms of looks and feel, it is second to none.

In fact, iOS 7 borrows ideas heavily from both Android and Windows Phone. Apple may not like you to know this but most of the features introduced in iOS 7 are inspired by other operating systems. Why do we say that? Read on…

Flat user interface: Until now, iOS was full of design that follows skeuomorphism. This means it had a look and feel that tried to mimic the real world elements. Apparently Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall, the software guru who handled iOS before he abruptly left Apple last year, liked skeuomorphism. This is the reason why iOS had faux glass effect, used many real-world symbols like clock and camera in icons, and had faux wood and leather elements within apps. Until 2010, this worked well.

But since 2010, the year when Microsoft introduced its Windows Phone that uses flat and 2D design, the user interface is moving towards to flatter and more modern elements. Inspired by Microsoft, Google introduced a flatter user interface in Android Ice Cream Sandwich and since then is refining it. Now with iOS 7, Apple has also (mostly) got rid of skeuomorphism in its mobile OS and has moved to a design that is more modern, sleeker and flatter. Keeping in line with the flat design, app icons have also been flattened, there are fewer obvious buttons to tap and a lot of decorative elements have been removed from apps.

Control Centre: Android devices are using single-tap options for years now. On an Android phone, you don’t have to go to Settings to toggle Wi-Fi, or switch off data connection or change screen brightness. You can do all this by opening the notification shade by swiping down from top of the screen. With iOS7, Apple has added something similar. If you swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPhone running iOS 7, you get Control Centre that has options for accessing and changing frequently used settings like Wi-Fi toggle.

Card view in multitasking
The card view or in other words thumbnail view of open apps was implemented by Palm in WebOS 2009. Google took the inspiration from this idea and brought it to Android. Later, Microsoft used the same method for implementing multitasking in Windows Phone. And now Apple shows live cards of open apps when a user goes into the multitasking mode. Users can swipe away the cards to close the apps. Also, multitasking is more robust in iOS now. It is similar to that of Android and apps keep running even when they are in background.

Swipe anywhere on lockscreen: Earlier, iPhone users had to swipe in a particular area of the screen to unlock it. Now, just like most Android phones, they can swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock the device.

Automatic app updates: If an Android user has enabled it, the apps will update automatically when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network. With iOS 7, Apple has added the similar feature.

Dynamic wallpaper: In iOS 7, users can select from a set of dynamic wallpapers that give an impression of faux 3D. While on Android such wallpapers are not available by default, Android users can use live wallpapers to give their devices a better look.

What iOS still lacks
There is no doubt that iOS 7 is much better looking and more functional than the older versions of the OS. But there are many core areas where Android is ahead. Some of these are:

Choice of apps: On Android, a user can set his own default apps. If you don’t like Chrome browser, you can set Opera as your default browser. But iPhone users are stuck with apps that Apple wants them to use. For example, Safari is the default browser on iPhone and it can’t be changed.

Sharing within apps: Apple tightly controls what apps can do on a phone. The company says it is necessary to keep iPhone and iPad secure. Google is much more relaxed when it comes to third-party apps. This is the reason why third-party apps in Android can talk to the each other. So, what is the benefit? The most apparent is how you can share information. For example, a photo can be directly shared from the Gallery through any appropriate app. On iOS 7, there are only a handful of Apple-approved apps that can be used to share images.

Widgets: Some people love widgets, while some hate them. On iOS 7, however, none can use them because Apple doesn’t have a provision for widgets.

Special keyboard: The keyboard in iOS 7 is quite good. However, if for some reason you don’t like it, you cannot change it the way you can do on an Android phone.

Dynamic homescreen: Unlike the Android home screen, which can be customized in over a hundred ways, the home screen on an iPhone can’t host anything more than the app icons and folders.

iOS 7 vs Android Jelly Bean
Both are good operating systems. But there are key differences in the user experience they provide. iOS 7 promises hassle-free smartphone experience with a slick user interface and smooth animations. Android Jelly Bean doesn’t feel as smooth as iOS 7 but looks quite good and offers a number of features that make it lot more versatile. If you are the kind of user who doesn’t like to change or tweak too many settings and want a smartphone experience that ‘just works’, iOS 7 is a better choice.

However, if you are comfortable with a smartphone or a computer, doesn’t mind changing a setting or two, Android Jelly Bean will help you do lot more with your phone.

source : Time of India