Soon after Apple debuted the completely redesigned iOS 7 on June 10, 2013, it became obvious that the iOS user experience has changed enough to merit a public re-introduction – a forward-looking discussion of the updated user interface and integrated apps. Our series on iOS 7 is looking at every key section of Apple’s new operating system, starting with setting up iOS devices, the new Lock Screen and Home Screen, then continuing through other major UI elements and built-in apps. For a broad look at all of iOS 7’s changes from iOS 6, check out our big picture look at iOS 7, published on June 10, as well as our articles on iOS 7 setup, the Home Screen, and Lock Screen. Note that some features and graphics may change before iOS 7’s final release.
The Weather app in iOS 7 has undergone a significant redesign that appears to borrow somewhat from Yahoo’s Weather app—an interesting detail, as Yahoo serves as the data source for weather information in the new app.
A full-screen layout replaces the classic “card” design that has basically been used since 2007, with the weather information superimposed on top of a sky graphic. The background changes to represent night and day, as well as the current weather for the specified city or town, ranging from blue skies to a few clouds to generally gray and overcast. Backgrounds are now animated, rather than static, as they’ve been in iOS since the very beginning.
Tapping on the temperature area at the top of the screen brings up additional information including the humidity, chance of rain, and wind speed and direction. As before, users can swipe left and right in the hourly forecast area to view the rest of the day, or swipe elsewhere to move through all of their configured locations. Tapping the small “i” button in the bottom right corner brings up a list of locations; users can tap-and-hold and then drag a location up or down to rearrange the list, swipe right-to-left to delete a location, or scroll down to see an add button and an option for displaying temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit. This new application design is amongst the best in iOS 7, demonstrating the potential of Apple’s new font choices and UI elements when used to their potential.
The Stocks app gets a familiar iOS 7 treatment, again going to a more minimalist, full-screen design. In this case, a more muted white on black design replaces the previous luminescent blue backgrounds, with the only colors serving to represent stock changes in obvious ways: green for up and red for down.
Apple’s list of stocks is displayed on most of the screen, with an info panel at the bottom for the currently selected stock. Swiping across the info panel moves between a line graph, detailed stock information view, and related news. As before, turning the iPhone sideways will display a full-screen stock chart, and users can swipe left and right from here to view the charts for the other stocks in their list.
As before, the list of stocks can be managed by tapping on the “i” button in the bottom right corner, where the user can choose to rearrange stocks, remove them, or add new ones. Beyond the new visual design, which ironically feels like a fallback to old computer terminals, the functionality of the Stocks app remains basically identical to its iOS 6 predecessor.
The Calendar app in iOS 7 gets both a significant and interesting redesign from the prior version. In addition to a minimalist design motif, a more layered approach has been taken to the user interface, with the day and month views arranged hierarchically alongside a new “year” view; users navigate “up” to the month and year views, and then back “down” into the more detailed views by tapping on a specific month in the year view, or day in the month view.
Calendar’s day view also now incorporates a weekly calendar at the top to allow users to more easily move between days, replacing the older and somewhat redundant left/right navigation buttons, since users can still swipe left and right to move to the next or previous day as well. The selected day is highlighted by a circle that appears in red for today, black for any other selected day.
Turning the iPhone or iPod touch sideways switches to the week view, which remains much the same as before other than the new user interface, including larger day indicators at the top of each column, with the current day highlighted in a red circle. The former “List” view has been integrated with a search feature accessed through a button in the top right corner that brings up the list view along with a search field that acts as a live filter.
Creating a new event or editing an existing one uses the new iOS 7 design and UI elements, including the new date and time picker and other menu designs that now “slide in” below the selected field rather than taking the user to a new screen. Like Weather, Calendar’s upgrade manages to feel both different and nice; it’s obvious that this app received some especially thoughtful attention from Apple’s design team.
Reminders represents a very sharp turn in the iOS 7 app family, completely throwing out the older design in favor of a card design that seems more reminiscent of Passbook.
Reminder lists now “float” in the user interface as virtual cards. The user taps on a card to bring it into focus, and then swipes the card back down when done with it to return to the full list. It’s an odd but interesting design, and definitely a big departure from most of the classic iOS apps. Swiping up from the main screen reveals a search field and a button to add new lists.
Within each list, the standard controls are available, including swiping to delete an item (right to left only, as is now normal in iOS 7), tapping on the left-side circle to mark as done, or tapping on the item itself to edit. An “Edit” button in the top-right corner allows users to change the color of the list title and rearrange items on the list using standard drag controls. When creating a new reminder or editing an existing one, an info panel appears at the bottom of the screen, with “When?” and “Where?” links to allow for a date, time, and/or location to be set, and a “More…” button for setting repeat, priority, assigning to a list, and adding notes.
The location feature has been expanded in the iOS 7 version of Reminders to allow the user to now visually set the radius on a map view when choosing a location, basically determining how far away from the selected location that the reminder will be triggered. This feature originally appeared in an update to Apple’s Find My Friends app a few months ago, so it’s not a big surprise to see it here, but is nice to see that Apple is offering a bit more control over location notifications.
For more information on iOS 7, check out our big picture iOS 7 guide, and other articles in this series.