iOS7, Apple’s latest mobile operating system software, has created a lot of controversy amongst users in it’s first two weeks after commercial release. It seems to be like marmite; some people love it, some people hate it. Despite this conflict in opinions, we believe that some of the new features of iOS7 could be used to great advantage in the world of app development.
One feature of iOS7 in regards to development is the new, simplified interface. Although at first you may notice that iOS7 is more colourful, brighter and more quirky than it’s predecessor, it is actually far more simple than iOS6. Apple have cleverly got rid of things like button borders and glossy effects that rendered tabs and navigation bars opaque, leaving iOS7 with a bright, clean and uncluttered interface. Also the use of transparency has given developers more screen room to work with when building apps; for example, the status bar where the time and battery life are indicated now has a transparent background, meaning there are more pixels to play around with which spread right to the edge of the screen.
With iOS7, Apple have introduced new multitasking capabilities which allow apps to run and refresh in the background. In iOS4, running background apps was limited to the music player, location tracking and push notifications for things such as the clock and mail apps. However, in iOS7, developers can now implement background fetch, remote notifications, and background transfers into their apps to allow users’ information to be constantly updated
The final feature introduced as part of iOS7, only available on the latest iPhone 5S handset, is the fingerprint scanner. This is no new technology, however the way Apple have begun to use it could lead to a change in the way people use smartphones. Not only can the sensor be used to unlock the phone, it can be used a means of providing security information when confirming purchases in the iTunes store. At the moment, Apple have limited this feature to those two uses only, and the hardware is inaccessible to developers, however we suspect that over time, developers will be given permissions to incorporate this feature into other apps. This could continue down the path of payment security, possibly being used by a whole range of businesses from product stores to airlines. Also the fingerprint scanner may have a role with login interfaces on apps like Facebook and Twitter, where your phones may be able to save a reference to your written password alongside your fingerprint to enable you to login.
iOS7 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it provides the potential for some great new creations within applications development in the future.