Apple iPhone 5c, 5s, iOS 7 – First Look and Review

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Apple's uncluttered interface

Apple’s uncluttered interface

Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, on Wednesday and it bears almost no resemblance to the iOSs of the past.  The first thing I noticed is how bright it is, so much so that I had to lower the brightness to less than half to be comfortable using it.  The palette of colors is brand new and also very bright.

The user interface has little resemblance to the previous iOS.  Indeed, the aforementioned brightness is due to its white, clean look and feel.

Another change is the icons.  If you’ve used the until-now current Apple mobile operating systems or seen a modern-day station wagon with wood applique to make it look like a 1940s woody, you’re familiar with skeuomorphism, a design principle that calls for the retention of ornamental design cues to elements that were essential in an earlier version, such as an icon for a calendar that resembles a bound, leather desk calendar or wooden shelves to conjure up a library of digital books.

With the new interface, everything, at least design wise, is consistent across various Apple apps.  Distinct functional layers are used to establish hierarchy and order.  Translucency allows for a more visual experience.

Updated Safari web browser

Updated Safari web browser

The new operating system definitely seems less intrusive as you work and use it.  The design elements and controls move off screen and allow you to focus more on your content.  This was particularly evident in Safari, which automatically goes into full-screen mode and lets you see more of your content.  Safari tabs are presented in a more logical and intuitive manner as are bookmarks.

Siri is now integrated with Twitter and Wikipedia and has new male and female voice options.  (“Siri. Are you a boy or a girl?”  “Animals and nouns have genders.  I do not.”) More importantly, Siri can change settings on your device, such as turning Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on or off.

Despite the newness of iOS 7, it still has a familiar feel to it, which means that the learning curve should be minimal, at least to get up and running.

In addition to coming on the new iPhone, iOS 7 will also work with recent iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.

SECURITY

One feature that I immediately noticed were the changes to Find My iPhone that will make it harder for anyone else (but me) to use or access my phone if it is ever lost or stolen.  In order to turn off the erase the phone, reactivate it, or turn off the Find My iPhone Feature, my Apple ID and password will be required.

On the other hand, Apple has limited the choices to time when the iPhone locks, leaving me to choose between five minutes and never, versus the 30 minutes I previously set the phone to.

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