A Look into iOS 7 Beta 2
After the release of iOS 7 Beta 2 on Monday I decided to take the plunge and give the new OS a try, and so far it’s been a love hate relationship. The potential for something new and refreshing coming to iOS is obvious but not everything new is good.
With Jony Ive now in charge of iOS software the apps and menus in iOS 7 are dramatically different than iOS 6. There are not very many new options compared to iOS 6 but the colors and fonts used in the newest version bring a new sense of aliveness and color as you’re navigating. Scott Forstall’s use of skeuomorph has been tossed aside for a more modern look and what feels like more “space” available through out the phone.
New transitions have been put in place when moving between an app and the home screen as now a zoom out affect takes place instead of just the snap back to the home screen. The same is true when re-opening an app with the last screen viewed coming right to the front and refreshing itself if needed. In iOS 7 there are also new dynamic themes that can be set as the home screen background. When the phone is tilted in a direction it appears as if the apps are moving around the screen slightly when in actuality just the background is moving. I was only able to test this feature on an iPhone 4S but the effect is said to be much more potent on the iPhone 5.
Getting into every single app that comes standard on the iPhone and how it has been cosmetically changed would be pretty lengthy so I’ll let the photos do the talking:
Granted this is just a beta but the new transitions for switching in and out of apps seems a bit lengthy and appears to slow down the usability of the phone. There have been numerous times so far where I’ve pressed the Home button and had to wait a few seconds before another app would open. Supposedly this is due to the fact that Apple is programming for the iPhone 5 hardware first and will optimize for the iPhone 4/4S in a later build. In the brief experience I had with the iPhone 5 it was a little better but not by much. Apple still has plenty of time to fix this minor issue before the official iOS 7 release in the fall. As expected some current apps don’t function quite right on the iOS 7 beta so I won’t hold that against how it performs.
The long awaited control center that allows a quick turn off of settings like Wifi and bluetooth has been implemented and has been much more stable in the second beta than the first. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen from any app brings up the control center options and I had no problems toggling them on and off even in rapid succession.
The other four features of a flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera were working fine as well for the most part. The camera shortcut worked about 70% of the time causing the phone to lock up entirely if it didn’t. I didn’t have this problem with the iPhone 5 so again Apple appears to be making its latest phone the top priority.
As with any beta release there are quirks that can be annoying but this build is much more stable than the previous. With the iPhone still number one in market share iOS 7 may be able to extend Apple’s lead a bit further with some long overdue features and a fresh coat of paint. There are other issues as far as less than stellar battery life and a passcode screen that freezes from time to time but a beta is a beta and you use it at your own risk. iOS 7 looks promising and at this pace looks to be another hit from Apple.