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Apple iOS 7: Cool or confusing?

by LLB Editor
11th Jun 13 11:13 am

The verdict of tech mavens

Apple unveiled its latest iOS 7 software for iPhones and iPads in San Francisco yesterday. Designed by London-born Sir Jonathan Ive, the new operating system will be a ‘clean and flat’ design that doesn’t include app icons like the leather-bound diaries and yellow-lined notepads.

The software, due to launch in autumn, will let users swipe for frequently-used functions like turning on wi-fi, adjusting the volume or using the iPhone as a torch. It will also allow users to swipe out of messages – a feature similar to BlackBerry’s BB10 system.

Other features include automatic app updates, new voices in the Siri app and an anti-theft measure.

Sir Jonathan, Apple’s senior vice-president of industrial design, described the new design as “unobtrusive and deferential”.

“It’s about bringing order to complexity,” he said at the conference.

The event saw the launch of Apple’s new versions of its Mac computer range and a music streaming service called iTunes Radio. However, the iOS 7 was the star of the show.

So what does the tech world think of the new software? Here’s our pick of the best reactions:

Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at IT research firm Ovum: “Users might be disoriented by the newness”

“[iOS 7] represents a massive overhaul of the look and feel of the operating system, which has remained largely unchanged visually since the original version.

“The new version is almost unrecognisable, which will make it polarising.

“Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness.”

Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis: “Status quo”

“I think they maintained the status quo,” said Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis. He said iOS 7 had “lots of nice touches” and “tidied up a lot of loose ends” but has “not really changed anything fundamental.”

GQ’s Oliver Franklin: “Steve Jobs is still sorely missed”

“In short, it all felt a bit, well, obvious. A bit late. It looks nice, but it had long been coming – and where we hoped for a “one more thing”, instead we got a long overdue Spotify clone (iTunes Radio) and a new desktop Mac Pro shaped like a pedal bin. When it comes to big unveilings, Steve Jobs is still sorely missed.

“Therein lies the issue with iOS 7, and in almost everything Apple has done since Jobs’ passing. Is it better than what came before? Almost certainly. Is it better than the competitors? That is no longer such an easy answer.”

Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at website uSwitch.com: “Not just fresh coat of paint, the innards are designed drastically”

“With many elements of Apple’s six-year old operating system showing their age – and stiff competition from the visually arresting charms of Android and Windows Phone 8 – the crow’s feet had started to become visible on its range of hugely popular devices.

“With iOS7, Apple was eager to show this wasn’t just a fresh coat of paint, or a few nips and tucks. Jony Ive and his team have really brought the design ethos that have made Apple products so iconic on the outside, and seem to have revamped the innards just as drastically too.”

Carolina Milanesi, mobile analyst at Gartner told the FT: “Nice balance”

“They gave me a new experience without giving me a manual to read,” she said.

“There are so many [mobile] vendors that have been concerned about keeping their install base [of existing customers] and either got paralysed about changing for fear of leaving people behind or changed too much. I think this was a nice balance.”

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