Apple is still one of the major players in the smartphone world, the iPhone 5 is remaining one of the best selling phones in the UK and we know changes in its operating system (iOS) or other product offerings can make a huge difference to our customers so we have rounded up some of the latest news below for you! Comment and let us know what you think of Apple's new updates, is there anything your looking for with your Apple products?
The WWDC ( Apple Worldwide Developers Conference) keynote speech is over for another year, and we've been treated to a number of announcements.
Mac Pro Desktop
A new Mac Pro desktop computer has been revealed, with a startling cylindrical design, which we have likended to Darth Vaders waste paper bin! With the ability to support four 4K displays simultaneously it has a blistering 12 core processor. The Macbook Air range of netbooks have been refreshed, and are looking slimmer, speedier and more energy efficient than ever before. iTunes is releasing a music streaming service to compete with Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and the rest - including Google, Apple's chief rival, who announced something very similar at their yearly I/O Festival.
Above: The cylindrical Mac Pro desktop, which is already garnering both praise and criticism for its 'innovative' design.
New Operating Systems
But we're most interested in the two software announcements. The desktop operating system, Mac OS X, is going to be seeing an updated to 10.9 this year, codenamed 'Mavericks'. (Apple ran out of big cats, and is going to be naming subsequent versions of OS X after areas in California, where Apple's HQ is located.) Mavericks includes an updated version of the Safari browser, an improved notification system, Apple Maps functionality... and a general move towards, if not convergence, then at least co-habitation with many of the features already found in iOS.
The iOS updates, on the other hand, were far more radical. The main overhaul was visual; Apple have often been derided for a past emphasis on skeuomorphism, which is when something is designed to resemble a different material or technique. Former head of iOS Scott Forstall was the main champion of this - including features such as the green felt effect background of the App Store, or the paper effect of the calendar application. Though Apple founder Steve Jobs was reportedly a fan of skeuomorphism (one particular faux leather iOS texture is a reproduction of a physical texture found in his private jet), head of Industrial Design Sir Jony Ive is not - and since Forstall's departure, Ive has been placed in nominal leadership of the Human Interface team. iOS 7 bears his unmistakable stamp; graphics are streamlined and much flatter. We've included some examples below (with the iOS 6 graphical features on the left and the new iOS 7 versions on the right), so you can see what we mean.
Most people agree that Ive's real contributions to iOS 7 revolve around usability rather than graphics, however. It was Ive's idea to employ a parallax back-masking effect, altering the look of the phone's background when the image is viewed at different angles. From some angles, it appears as if the home app icons are actually hovering above the screen, due to the way the design of the corners of the touchscreen are angled. Tipping the phone makes the background and the application graphics shift as if on separate axes.
iOS 7 Control Centre
In addition to the minimalistic, elegant approach to design, there are a number of new features to be found in iOS 7. One of the largest of these is the Control Center, a counterpart to the drop-down navigation bar found in Android. Much like the Google equivalent, the Control Center acts as a hub to control multiple different features of the device - enabling a user to toggle settings like Bluetooth, screen brightness, airplane mode, etc.
Above: The iOS Control Center, with toggle switches for numerous features of the OS.
Most users are going to focus on the way Apple's stock applications have been redesigned, however. These differences are easy to spot if you look at the Notes or Compass acts, which have been re-designed to be far flatter than before; but there are aesthetic differences everywhere. Even the settings menu and phone keypad have been extensively redesigned with modernism and minimalism firmly in mind. This is most noticeable in the Game Centre, we feel; comparing it side-by-side with the old version is startling, contrasting the old (and heavily skeuomorphic) green felt design with the futuristic, colour-coded circle design, which has Ive's fingerprints firmly imprinted upon it.
Reactions to the new version of iOS have been uniformly positive amongst the faithful. The majority of Apple users seem pleased with the redesign - though to many, the fact skeuomorphism has garnered an unnecessary reputation for poor design may be colouring their opinions. (Calling it 'the new Comic Sans', however, is a pretty vast exaggeration!) People outside of the Apple faithful have been more subdued, with some praising the design as innovative and some chastising iOS 7 as being too similar, variously, to Android, Windows Phone and even the Blackberry OS. But once thing is for certain; the promise that this new version of iOS would be the 'biggest change since the iPhone's release' has certainly come true.