Apple Launches Sleek New iOS 7 (and a Legacy App Download Option, Too)

It’s the update that many Apple users have been looking forward to for months already, and it’s here at last.

Sept. 18 marks the launch of iOS 7, the newest version of Apple’s homegrown operating system for its mobile devices. Sporting a brand-new look and improved functionality, iOS 7 is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPad mini, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch, as well as all of their later versions. First unveiled in June of 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the iOS 7 “the biggest change to the iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”

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The Good

In terms of design, the iOS 7 definitely asserts that bold claim. Early hands-on reviews of the iOS 7 have already revealed that the update takes a strikingly different attitude in terms of style. White is all over the iOS 7 and, coupled with the smooth and rounded Sans Serif font, gives an overall impression of freshness and sleekness. The Home screen has also been redesigned, and now sports dynamic or static wallpaper options and revamped icons. The mailbox also benefits greatly from this cleaner design – it’s a lot easier to navigate through now. Reminders are also grouped, making it easier to read through your lists of things to do.

Along with the new design come a slew of built-in apps, as the photo managing application Flickr and the video-sharing site Vimeo join the roster of services bundled with the iOS 7. Taking a leaf from Instagram’s book, the iOS 7 also features improved camera functionality, including filters and new modes such as square and panorama. The iOS 7 also features AirDrop, which allows file-sharing among iOS devices.

Even iTunes and the App Store have been refurbished to match the clean image of the iOS 7. Planning trips has also never been this fresh-looking on an Apple device – the built-in compass is now simple and sophisticated in black and white, and the weather app now features updates set against an animated background. Navigation has also been made more efficient. With a simple swipe, you can bring up the Control Center from the bottom of the screen, allowing you to customize settings with ease. The Control Center can also be set to appear whenever your phone is displaying the Lockscreen. When you’re in Camera mode, you can bring up a list of options in the same way you would access the Control Center – simply swipe from the bottom. Swiping from the top, on the other hand, still brings up Notifications.

The Bad

The shift in preference towards the extensive use of animation may be confusing for users who go for simplicity and static backgrounds. Some users might also be turned off by the overall brightness of the new iOS, as well as the abundance of candy-colored icons all over its white theme. It’s kind of ironic how the new version manages to be minimalist and overly colorful at the same time. As a result of this design shift, some textures have been toned down, most notably in Apple Maps.

One might even notice similarities between the new iOS and other operating systems, in terms of both look and functionality. Then again, as Nokia was quick to point out a week or so ago, there’s an old saying about imitation and flattery.

Additionally, if the launch of the iOS 6 is to be any indication, it would be wise to anticipate a few hiccups in the process of getting used to the iOS 7. The iOS 6 initially had trouble with the installation process itself, and also gave users a hard time with Wi-Fi logins and the availability of their Music libraries.

Ultimately – as with any redesign, to be honest – the biggest challenge in the iOS 7’s path might be the negative reactions of old-time Apple users who aren’t too crazy for the new look and feel of the operating system. After all, this is the first radical change in the iOS’s interface since the release of the first iPhone and, as proven by users’ reactions to subtle and sudden updates on social networking site Facebook, hardcore fans tend to be quite resistant to change.

The…Old?

For people who can’t (or refuse to) upgrade, though, Apple has created a way for them to download versions of applications that are compatible with their current iOS. By simply navigating to the Apple App Store, you can select any application, and if the current version isn’t compatible with your iOS, it will allow you to download previous versions of the app that your device can run. This is especially useful for older devices (or devices that run on outdated iOS versions). Of course, downloading older versions of apps means that bugs that were fixed in their later versions would most likely be present, or that the apps might not be up to par with the latest “upgrades”. If you’re after getting the most out of your old Apple device, though, you’ll probably enjoy this feature.

Will you be getting the iOS 7 for your Apple device? Sound off in the Comments section and share your thoughts with us!

Nancy

Nancy enjoys sharing and writing about business, technology, health, lifestyle and women’s issues. Most of her recent works are about cloud computing, telecommunications and VoIP services.