I’ve been using the iOS7 beta since it’s release in early June and overall I’m really pleased with this radical re-design from Apple. Under the command of Sir Jonny Ive, iOS7′s flat/semi-transparent/deeper user interface is a pleasure to use and it’s like having a shiny new iPhone again.
Okay… so some of the icons need work – yes (currently the iTunes and App Store icons look like they were drawn and coloured in by a 5 year old), but the re-designed features and functions behind the icons more than make up for these minor flaws. In particular I love the new feel of the Calendar, Music and Messages apps. But the overall design winner within iOS7 has to go to the Notifications Centre. Notifications look stunning in the sleek drop down menu and the “Today” view that pulls down to reveal your upcoming events, friends birthdays and weather not only looks great, but it’s actually really handy. With one motion (even from the lock screen) you can see how long it’s going to take you to drive home and with an additional tap, you’re in the Maps app with your route ready to go.
iOS7 is still missing some crucial functionality. The Mail app is still very basic and Apple needs to take some inspiration from Mailbox and delivery some real features. Although I have to say how pleased I am that you can now make the week in Calendar start on Monday. You can also tell Siri: “Open Wi-Fi settings” and she can actually do it! These little things really add up.
In the early beta versions of iOS7 the OS was slow and buggy – not that end users will ever have to put up with these first-world problems. Now I’m really enjoying and OS and can’t wait to see how the mass market responds to Apple’s radical re-design.