There's been a lot of anticipation in the run-up to the next version of Apple's iPhone operating system, primarily because its interface was crafted by in-house design guru Jony Ive. For weeks we've seen concept illustrations and even a supposed leak of what the new design might look like, but yesterday the company finally revealed iOS 7 and, as promised, the interface makes the iPhone (almost) look like a new phone.
As early reports indicated, the new iconography is flat and completely does away with the slightly raised, 3D effect of the previous home screen icons. Also gone is any sign of Scott Forstall's skeuomorphism. So no more fake leather, or green felt. Those are officially "the old days." The color palette is different, too, offering what appears to a lighter, more vibrant array of hues that enhance the new interface's new focus on a translucent aesthetic.
Beyond the home screen, the interface redesign is comprehensive, with new looks and functionality for photo and video recording, Siri operations, as well as the mail and message apps. Some of the most interesting design muscle went into the new Weather app that features stunning weather animations overlaid with weather information, and an updated Safari that offers a Web browsing experience that now lets you see your tabs as a kind of three-dimensional file in virtual space. Perhaps the most mind blowing aspect of the new interface is how it handles background images on the home screen: background images are now given a sense of depth by using the device's accelerometer to position the screen in parallax.
Of course, Apple also introduced the long rumored iTunes Radio, but it seemed intent on not making a big deal out of what will likely be one of the company's biggest profit engines in coming years. The new operating system also offers improved multi-tasking, and enhanced features in Find My iPhone that make it harder for a thief to use a stolen iPhone. All in all, the update addresses many of the issues raised by those who felt that the iPhone had fallen behind the competition, while simultaneously raising the design bar, once again.
The update, which will be available to the public this fall, will be available for the iPhone 4 and up, the iPod touch, the iPad 2 and up, and the iPad mini. You can see a brief clip of the parallax effect as well as the extended video introduction of iOS 7, narrated by Ive and Craig Federighi, the guy overseeing the software aspects of iOS and OSX, in the video below.