iOS 7 - A Neue Beginning

Earlier this year Apple unveiled iOS 7, the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone, featuring a completely redesigned user interface and hundreds of great new features.

What’s new in iOS 7?

The most striking change in iOS 7 is the new design. Gone are the days of realistic notepads and leather calendars. You’ll often hear this style referred to as “flat” design because of the lack of realism, shadows and borders.

Depth

iOS 7 introduces many translucent layers to give your experience depth. By tilting the device in your hand some elements appear to float over others. When one layer is above another, the content behind it is blurred rather than hidden.

Deference

In iOS 7, content is king. Controls and padding are reduced or removed to allow more emphasis on content and less on the user interface.

Clarity

The most abundant type of content in most apps is text, and iOS 7 introduces new tools for making text more beautiful and clear than ever before. Users can change text size across the entire system resulting in apps built with iOS 7 to scale the font size, weight and line spacing to look great in every scenario.

Is my app going to stop working when iOS 7 is released?

There’s no need to panic! Your app will still run on iOS 7—but it might not run as well as your competitors that have optimized an experience for iOS 7.

Do you remember how frustrating it was when the first devices with retina displays were released and some of your favorite apps looked blurry because they had yet to be optimized? How about when the iPhone 5 (with its longer 4” screen) came out and your favorite apps were letter-boxed into the screen. The apps that couldn’t keep up with the latest technologies offered new opportunities for their competitors who had taken advantage of the new features. As of May 1, Apple will no longer accept any apps or updates that don’t support iPhone 5 or retina display. By adding support for over­the­air operating system updates in iOS 5 (updates that don’t require the user to plug in to their computer), Apple has made adoption of their latest updates much easier and faster. As of August 2013, 94% of users are already running iOS 6. It won’t take long for those users to update to iOS 7 and start looking for apps that take advantage of all it has to offer.

If your app isn’t optimized for iOS 7 there are a few things your users will notice:

  • Your icon may look wrong because the icon dimensions and corner radiuses have changed.
  • Your interface will still have the old glossy/textured look.
  • Your app won’t respond to new features such as the new back button gesture, background mode, dynamic text size, etc

iOS 7 will be available over­the­air as a free software this Friday. It will run on the iPhone 4 and above, iPad 2 and above, iPad mini and the latest iPod touch. Your app can still take advantage of iOS 7 features while being compatible with older versions of iOS and unsupported devices like the iPhone 3GS.

Hype aside, it is a clear trend that everyone is going to be updating their phones to iOS 7 soon, and app developers will be updating their apps. The time to optimize and prepare your apps for iOS 7 is now.