With iOS 7 about to hit our iPhones and iPads this Wednesday we're looking forward to a number of new features. We're also dreading some aspects of the new iPhone operating system - you can read about the things we are expecting to hate about iOS 7 here.
Not having to queue up for a new phone
Unboxing a new iPhone or iPad is a Charlie Bucket-like treat and just reward for queuing up outside an Apple Store looking like a desperate nerd and getting rained on. But you can have all the fun (minus the unboxing) of a brand new phone without spending a penny or not being able to spend a penny in that snaking queue of naked Apple desire. A new iOS – and especially this particular all-new-look iOS – makes even a scratched-up boring black iPhone 4 into a bright, new smartphone that will impress slow-to-upgrade friends and keep you amused for hours of ignoring everyone else around you.
New camera features
I'm looking forward to the overhauled Camera app in iOS 7. There will be four camera modes to choose from: standard, Instagram-like square, panorama and video. There are also photo filters that can be applied to still and square shots.
But even more than these new Instagram like features, I am looking forward to Moments and Collections and their ability to organise the thousands of photos in my camera roll. iOS 7 will use the metadata associated with your snaps to create date-specific Moments, which are kind of like Events in iPhoto. Collections will group all the photos you've taken at a certain location. Another bonus, in OS 7 Photo Streams can be collaborative. Before we could share our photo streams with friends and family, but they couldn't add photos to that stream. Now everyone can add to a stream and you'll be able to share video this way too.
I’m most looking forward to trying out AirDrop as soon as I download iOS 7. It’s a brand new feature for iOS and means you can easily send a photo, video, contact or anything else from an app with a ‘share’ button to another iPhone 4S (or newer) running iOS 7.
It should be much faster and simpler than sending those things via an email or iMessage, and also mean that the quality of videos and photos isn’t sacrificed.
Android has had 'quick settings' in the notification bar for many versions allowing users to adjust brightness, switch Wi-Fi on and off, turn the phone to silent and many other things. This feature like this has been long overdue for the operating system so it's inclusion in iOS 7 is more than welcome. Not have to open the settings menu and find the right switch every time is going to be a real boon. The Control Centre has shortcuts to apps and music playback buttons which make it even more useful.
I can't wait to start using the new and improved Multitasking feature in iOS 7. We've always been able to switch between apps quite quickly by pressing the Home button twice, but iOS 7 will mean previews of the apps you have open, rather than just the icons, as well as scheduled updates that mean the content within those apps has been updated before you launch them. For example, instead of having to refresh Facebook or Twitter, you'll see all of the latest statuses and tweets right away.
New interface design
I am looking forward to the new iOS redesign. To me it looks clean, fresh and has a modern feel that we've seen in some of the recent Android phones.
It also gains new features like Control centre, and extended notifications centre. Useful features that have appeared on other smartphones.
Apps like Calendar and Reminders now have clean lines and a modern font. There are still plenty of rounded corners, contrary to some others calling it a Window-esque design.
But it's a lot more subtle and gains transparency overlays, which give it a nice new dimension.
Thin weight fontage
It's just personal taste, but I like thin-weight fonts. And Apple's adoption of what looks like a lightweight Swiss Helvetica looks, quite literally, pretty neat. There may have been an increase in font weight since the first beta in response to critics who said that making it too thin affects easy readability. So I don't know what the final GM has to offer until I get to see it on the handset itself. Maybe this week I'll try iOS 7 on my phone and see just how legible the choice of font will prove to be.
The best thing about iOS 7 is that its design is both elegantly simple and effective. Whatever you think of the saturated icon colours – which to me smack of the trying-to-hard-to-be-fun of an office party organiser – the overall design aesthetic shows Apple going back to the first principles of graphic design. There are principles of balance, form and typography that come from decades of (largely pre-digital) design that Apple is drawing on – which makes the interface easier to decipher and therefore quicker to use.
Apart from the Settings app icon. Who the hell knows what that's about...