The first thing you’re going to notice about iOS 7 is how drastically different it looks. Apple did a complete renovation. The familiarity in terms of usability is still there at a fundamental level, but the OS has taken a 180 in terms of aesthetics.
Whitespace is everywhere. Animations are funkier. Colors are trippier.
The experience starts from the lockscreen. The status bar has been stripped to the bare essentials; lightweight text floats on top of the wallpaper with a faint shadow to give the appearance of depth. The ‘slide to unlock’ bar is gone and replaced with text and a small arrow. You’ll find that Apple’s design cues in iOS 7 are much more minimal; it’s assumed that by now that the average user has some understanding of how a modern smartphone works.
For instance, two slightly opaque bars sit at the bottom and top of the lockscreen. Touch near one and slide towards the middle of the screen. A slide from the top reveals Notification Center from the lockscreen. Slide from the bottom and Control Center appears, a hub of system toggles and controls you can access with the same gesture anywhere in iOS 7.
The biggest change in the home screen is the gambit of new icons Apple has included. They take some getting used to, but once you’ve been using them for awhile and most apps in the App Store undergo similar redesigns, the iOS 7 home screen will start to feel more familiar.
While iOS 6 is full of garnish textures and references to real world objects (pool table felt in Game Center, etc.), a word to describe the design of iOS 7 would be sparse. The stock apps feel lighter and more minimalistic. Most edges that were rounded are now squared, and shadows are harder to find.
Apple has added depth to the iOS 7 experience with a feature called Parallax. It creates a faux-3D effect by appearing to separate the home screen icons from the wallpaper. The effect is more pronounced against a wallpaper that has a lot going on in terms of space, like a picture of a mountain range or a heavily textured design.
The Parallax effect is something you really have to use to grasp, like the rest of iOS 7. Give it time to grow on you.
Check out all our great iOS 7 reviews here.