The rapid user interface (UI) developments have tapered off on mobile, yet there are likely many more UI (and hardware) improvements to come.Read More
With a probable release of September 10th, it's not surprising that Apple's iOS 7 has been a top story the past few weeks. Apple just released the sixth version of the iOS 7 beta to developers, and the Gold Master (GM) is almost certain to follow suit shortly. However, much of the hype surrounding the mobile OS has addressed the redesigned interface, color palette, and iconography. What is most interesting about iOS 7 might be its least reported feature - namely how it's targeted toward enterprise customers, and how it improves the overall user experience.
In a Venture Beat article (by J Schwan - founder and CEO of Solstice Mobile), there is mention of various system level features that would be appealing to enterprise customers. These include:
- device and data security: single sign on capabilities
- productivity, workflow, collaboration: air drop for sharing apps and content.
- contextual computing and M2M: iBeacon (low energy Bluetooth) for indoor navigation, device presence awareness, and "automated physical workflow tracking."
- scan to acquire Passbook passes: mobile coupons and digital passes.
Schwan goes into considerably more detail (so make sure to check out the source below). He also discusses some of the more notable UI features developers are excited about.
There is a lot for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7 — features such as TextKit, Multi-tasking, Auto-layout and UIDynamics. A critical part of analyzing iOS 7 organizational readiness is looking at how enterprises can leverage capabilities to improve the user experience. The introduction of iOS 7 should be a trigger point for brands to look at their own design features.
In addition to user interface (UI) improvements, Apple is introducing flat design, which puts more emphasis on content over aesthetics. By placing content at the forefront of the experience, users can focus on the information at hand. Developers will need to balance three key areas: deference, clarity and depth.
These areas include "deference" (making sure the UI doesn't take precedence or overshadow the content), "clarity" (using color to indicate touch targets rather than boarders and buttons), and "depth" (using layers to facilitate navigation and multitasking, and making sure users are aware of their location within an app).
The aesthetic changes are far more than superficial. They aim to get the OS out of the way, so to speak, and put content at the forefront. No longer will iOS prioritize form over function.
Darrell Etherington, writing in Tech Crunch, says that developer interest in iOS is at an all time high. Onswipe, a mobile web-optimizing company, says that iOS7 has the most mobile traffic of any iOS beta thus far.
The startup found that by July 1, 2013, 0.28 percent of all iPad visits to its mobile-optimized sites were from devices running iOS 7, and as of June 17, 0.77 percent of all iPhones making Onswipe visits were also on the new beta OS.
Compared to iOS 6, those numbers, while small, have increased considerably. 0.19 percent of all iPad visits were on last year’s beta software as of June 25, and only 0.38 percent, or under half of iPhones ran the pre-release mobile OS. All together, iOS 7 accounts for 0.46 percent of total traffic to Onswipe sites as of this writing, while iOS 6 was responsible for just 0.25 percent of all visits at the same time last year.
Another possibility for this rise in iOS interest, is that more everyday users are deciding to take the beta plunge, says Etherington. However, there are a lot of younger users who aspire make apps, and since $99 a year isn't a huge investment, it's possible that iOS is the preferred platform for those new to development.
More info in the source below.
It's true that once you start using a high resolution display it's very difficult to revert back. Even on a small screen, text and images are so noticeably crisper that it resembles a printed page.
In a Computer World article, Mike Elgan describes the initial reaction to iOS 7 - namely the criticisms of the color palette and design choices, and puts them in the broader context of contemporary interface design.
When Apple unveiled iOS 7, some people said was a "flat" design devoid of skeuomorphism. Others said Apple copied other operating systems like Android and the Palm OS. Still others said iOS 7's bright, overly cheerful colors looked like some kind of My Little Pony theme. There's vague truth to all these claims. But the most conspicuous attribute of iOS 7 is that it's a pure creature of the super HD world. [Elgan has also written a lengthy piece dedicated to iOS 7 and Apple's new design direction].
But, as Elgan explains, high resolution screens allow designers to do more with less.
Each of us has a probably unstated tolerance for how big a screen we use for desktop, laptop, tablet and phone. For example, I personally feel cramped on a 13-in. screen laptop or smaller. 15 inches is fine. 17 inches or higher is great (although too much to carry). But I didn't feel cramped on the Chromebooks' 13-in. screen. Because the screen is higher resolution than other screens, I can see the same information and detail on a smaller screen. The same goes for phones and tablets. Super high-resolution screens enable you to do more serious reading and desktop-type work on a smaller mobile device.
In many regards, the emergence of these displays (which are only now becoming a standard) are, and will continue to be, the driving factor behind designing interfaces for PC's and mobile.