Apple has become quite efficient in creating just the right hype prior to its next iPhone and iPad announcements. True to its style, this time also Apple was able to build up an atmosphere in which rumor mills worked doubly hard to create just the right amount of hype. After all an apple update is underway! Ending all speculations at At WWDC 2013, Apple officially unveiled the next generation of iOS, iOS 7.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced iOS 7, calling it “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.” Well it is, if you consider the cosmetic improvement of the device. The brain child of its British design chief, Sir Jonathan Ive, iOS7 represents a major design overhaul, an unmistakable shift from the skeumorphic design philosophy that seemed to inspire the look and feel of many of the earlier versions of iOS.

At the San Francisco conference the Apple bosses declared that for the iOS loyalists, this design overhaul marks a new “beginning” for Apple. “It’s packed with amazing new features and a stunning new user interface,” Ive stated at the event. While there is no doubt about the Apple’s intention of making its devices more user friendly, more aesthetically appealing with the new changes, the question is: are the changes in iOS7 groundbreaking? Let’s delve deeper into the new features.

  • To begin with: the new iOS 7 clearly reflects the post-Scott Forstall Apple designers’ fondness for all things simpler and more enjoyable—but still instantly familiar. And yes, they lived up to the challenge of balancing new with the need for retaining familiarity for the system’s hundreds of millions of users.
  • With iOS 7, we get some long-awaited features– Control Center, AirDrop for iOS, and smarter multitasking and few more. With these enhancements, expect your apple devices to be significantly simpler, radically sleeker and capable of making everything even easier to get to and use. You can say it is an attempt at refinement, if not reinvention of the OS that remain unchanged since the iPhone’s first release in 2007. And in doing this, Ive’s team did not shy away from taking cues from its competitors—the best part of iOS7 is: how effortlessly it combines the best of the Apple with the borrowed elements from the competitors.

So let’s take a look at how beautifully the designers facilitated the marriage between old, and new, and between the essentially Apple elements and the elements that are borrowed.

  • Starting with Apple’s new multitasking menu: it is smarter and more intuitive, an unmistakable Apple touch. Also unmistakable is the design inspiration from Windows Phone’s multitasking menu—in the iOS 7, the simple icon-based multitasking is replaced by a Windows phone- like horizontally scrolling set of page previews. Again the interface also has striking similarity with that introduced with the HTC One X and Sense 4.
  • Control Center serves as another example of how Apple let the competition open their kitty first, have a sneak peek and then stealing the spotlight by serving the old wine in a new bottle. Apple’s new swipe-up menu gives you quick access to often-used functions like Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a brightness control. Something tinkling in your memory? Yes, Samsung has implemented these swipe-down settings a few years ago.
  • Apple’s new incoming call screen, that requires you to “swipe to answer,” will again remind you of the functionality of Samsung’s TouchWiz, and looks of Windows Phone 8
  • Then the blur and transparency feature coming with iOS 7’s overlays will remind you of Areo Glass in Windows Vista, which has been there since 2005. Speak of the Camera app, and it will be hard to miss the striking similarity of the icon to that of BlackBerry 10’s

We can go on an on dissecting the Apple’s entire UI  to identify the inspirations. Stealing ideas and transforming them into a new something viewed as the prerogative of a creative thinker. With iOS 7, the question isn’t whether Ive’s team has been shameless in picking up the ideas from its competitors, it’s whether they have done so to create something valuable for their millions of users. Let’s discuss a select few new features to see how far iOS7 has stretched itself to achieve this.

Beginning with Notification Center: along with its “today” feature it seems perfectly suitable for today’s fast paced professionals juggling between dual roles of a pro and social being incessantly. With this feature, a glance is all you need to know about all your new mail, missed calls, to-dos and more. Today gives you a convenient summary of the 24 hours that lies ahead—it lets you plan in advance of the commute route you should take today to avoid traffic, the present to be bought for your little one or the bill to be paid in the course of the day and trivia like these which we all tend to forget so easily. A swipe down the first thing in the morning and you are programmed for a jet set day ahead.

If you are among those who like to click every special moment of their lives and like to walk the memory lane far too often to relive the memories, you will find new Photos feature really admirable. It lets you smartly organize your precious moments based on time and place under the sub categories of Collections, Moments, and Years.

You can organize each of your “collection” according to their year of shoot. Again each collection can hold distinct “Moments”. This smart organization will let you find a cherished photo/video from whenever, wherever, in a jiffy.

From the busy pros sharing confidential documents to the teens seeking to share the latest chart buster with their peers will find the AirDrop feature utterly exciting as it let you share everything from a photo to document with just a press on a share button in the AirDrop for iOS menu. Enter AirDrop for iOS, tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, without requiring you to spend your time in any extra steps relating to set up.

Safari makes browsing bigger, better, and more efficient, giving you a full screen look, allowing you view more content than ever on your screen. With an innovative interface, It lets you hide open tabs and scroll them open according to your own wish and convenience. It even includes iCloud tab in the interface for easy sharing. With improved bookmarking support, shared links from Twitter, and enhanced Reading List, a redesigned Safari seems to be one of the most exciting additions to iOS 7.

And for the music lovers, there is iTunes Radio, a service introduced in the line of Spotify. Audo streaming from your favorite radio stations reach a new height with this feature. It lets you create a personalized selection of favorite scores and make it avialble across the devices including your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, and Apple TV for free. It lets you access more than 200 genre-based stations and also build new stations while you listen. It allows you to organize your collection by demarcating between the hits and discovering less familiar songs.

While listening to the songs, you can add them to your wish list and latter download them from iTunes.

To sum it up: iOS 7 is all about paradigm shift in the visual department, which definitely makes it easier for the Apple users how they relate to their devices. At the same time, you can not say iOS 7 has come up with new features that are really game-changing. That said: iOS 7 will continue to formidably challenge Google, Microsoft, and BlackBerry with its eye-catching visual design and its feature overhaul with new and old and borrowed. The most notable point is: refined interface design signifies a daring step in the part of design team signaling a shift to a more modern look through its upcoming upgrades.