June 18th, 2013

Key features of iOS7 Developers and Users

ios7-iconEvery summer the last 6 years Apple has presented a new major iOS release at WWDC. This year was no exception and from a developer point this was the most exciting in a long time.

So what makes us excited about iOS7 in terms of how our developers and clients can leverage it?

New look and feel

Although highly anticipated and highly controversial the biggest news of iOS7 was the Flatter but not totally Flat design and everything associated with the new design lead by Jonathan Ive. This was the first major redesign of the user interface since the launch of iPhone 7 years ago. The new design will not only mean a major shift for users of the core interface and features on iPhone or iPad but also for many developers that are likely to follow the new paradigms when designing their apps. The lack of changes by Apple to the user interface in the past have resulted in a lot of UI innovation coming from the development community but now we expect that many existing leading apps will upgrade to align with the new look and feel.

UI Dynamics to enable realistic motions

From the beginning one of the biggest differentiators of iOS has been the smooth animations and graphics. With UI Dynamics developers will be able to continue build even better experiences and iOS including proximity and gravity controls as well as a whole new kit for text.

Multitasking

The second biggest news for developers and users is the support for real multitasking. In the past Apple has provided partial workarounds to support multitasking with the excuses being to save battery power, enhance performance and protect the user. But with the latest revamp, developers can actually provide users with a better experience. Apps can load content in the background and users can switch back and forth without the apps being put in freeze mode and this will enable lots of new types of apps and features. It also means that when a user opens an app from the Notification Center, the app can be updated already and doesn’t need to be refreshed. The new multitasking capability has been designed with the ambition of saving battery power through intelligent scheduling and use of Wifi so it will be interesting to see how well this will work.

AirDrop support

Another feature for developers and consumers is Airdrop – a tool already available on Macs that lets users send files wirelessly without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. Developers can use this in apps to e.g. send images, videos, audio and more which can also spur some interesting innovation.

New Frameworks in iOS7

  • Sprite Kit – allows for hardware accelerated animation systems for 2D or “2.5D” games. Provides graphics rendering and animation, sound playback support and physics simulation.
  • Game Controller – Allows developers to add hardware controllers to iOS, either by directly connecting the device or through Bluetooth.
  • Multipeer Connectivity – The peer-to-peer connectivity supporting AirDrop.
  • JavaScriptCore – Allows for wrapping of standard JavaScript objects into Objective-C (the code used for iOS apps).
  • Media Accessibility – Allows for closed-caption support in your apps.

Ability to move apps in iTunes

This probably won’t mean much for most people but for big brands and publishers this is a big deal. As companies raced to get their apps to the appstore early on many of them didn’t have their own developer accounts and therefore used the one of an agency or created a temporary one. Now businesses can consolidate their apps by moving an app ID to a different developer/company ID.

Enterprise apps

There are also a bunch of new features in iOS7 that will excite and satisfy the IT departments of businesses and organisations. Here’s a short summary of the key Enterprise news:

  • Better protection of work and personal data
  • Management of app licenses
  • Seamless enrollment in Mobile Device Management
  • Wireless App Configuration
  • Enterprise single sign-on support
  • Default data protection for 3rd party apps

We will provide a more extensive update on this in another blog.

Consumer facing features

Finally, we want to highlight what the hundreds of millions of consumers with iPhones and iPads can expect. Here are some selected features:

  • New design and Multitasking described above
  • iTunes Radio – a new streaming service that can recommend and play music for people via personalised radio station set to challenge Spotify and Pandora
  • New Control Center with quicker access to controls available directly from the Lock Screen
  • Nightmode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark
  • FaceTime audio for high quality calls over data networks
  • Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices
  • Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you
  • Enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time
  • Notification center including Today View
  • Core apps revamped with the new design and features including Photos, Camera, Calendar and Weather
  • Safari enhancements including full screen browsing, unified search field, unlimited tabs, new scrolling feature, swiping between windows and more
  • Find My iPhone app lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My Phone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased
  • New Siri sound, look and features

In summary, although controversial this may actually has been the most exciting update of iOS since iOS version 2 introduced the Appstore.

Tell us what you think?

Note: iOS7 will work on iPhone4 and above and iPad2 and above.

 

Image courtesy: Bejing iphone Repair

Tags: Apple Devices iOS OS UX, Web & App Development

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