Those who were looking for a major overhaul on Apple’s latest mobile operating system were left dissappointed on Monday when iOS 6 looked an aweful lot like the same. Granted there are some really nice changes in Apple’s 1st beta, and I’m sure we’ll see even more changes before it officially kicks off into the big dance of public release. But really there was nothing of major change like when iOS 5 brought a new notification function. Multitasking is still its awkward and screen real estate wasting self. No widgets. No Palm-esk card switching. Design-wise, they didn’t do any major overhauls but for a few apps.
But iOS 6 isn’t about major redesign. It was about Siri, Maps and connections. But iOS 6 does have a lot of little changes – little tweaks here and there with the goal of making it an overall better experience.
No more lock icon on the top of the lockscreen. It’s an interesting move as there is no longer a need to identify itself as the lockscreen.
The volume rocker rotates when you move the phone. I noticed this similarly on Apple’s iCloud.com, where the silver moves with your mouse. I appreciate when stuff like this ties itself together.
Settings app is organized, and Bluetooth is brought to the front of settings. It’s much better, though I believe Bluetooth and Wi-Fi should be and On/Off switch on the main page similar to Airplane Mode, and yes, I named my WiFi network after the delicious ice tea company, but I digress…
If you see an app in the App Store that you already have downloaded on your phone, it gives you the option to “Open” instead of a greyed out “Installed”; which is more useful.
Downloading an app no longer takes you back to the home screen. You get to stay in the App Store and shop some more. Yay!
And I know we’ve already talked about these, but I figured I’d share some screenshots with you all -
New Weather and New Music app designs:
Newly downloaded apps have a little “New” blue tag untill you open it once in case, you know, you forgot you downloaded it.
The status bar changes with the app (eg. Calendar, Messages or Phone apps). It seems to update to a blue color when the header is blue. I haven’t been able to produce any color other than black and multiple shades of blue, but it is interesting to note the change. I will also add that I’m not a fan as it just doesn’t make sence to update the status color. I feel that the status bar should be similar to the Mac’s task bar; a solid and static element to ground the OS. I’m hoping this goes back to all black. My fear is developers updating it to crazy colors to match their app. It’d get ugly, fast. Oh yeah, new keypad in the phone. Neat!
The ‘pull to refresh’ mail animation is a nice touch. It’s hard to describe, but if you’ve ever played “World of Goo”, yeah, it’s like that.
Some of these tweaks may not make it to Fall. Some items may be changed and altered as this is still a beta, but I like many of these changes. However I do have a growing concern with some of the elements being introduced and what Apple didn’t do. Some elements make no sense, like why the notification slide is still being ‘pulled over’ instead of ‘behind’ the screen. To me, the dark grey, linen background Apple uses on an app folder, Siri and multitasking is ‘behind’ or ‘underneath’ the UI. Lion handles app folders similarly, and Mountain Lion handles its new notification feature as ‘behind’ the screen as well. Why iOS notifications is behind and on top is beyond me. I would think you’d just pull the screen itself ‘down’ to ‘reveal’ the notification. And there is a growing distance between the development and modernization of apps as Apple focuses on some (Maps, Siri, Reminders, iCloud) and leaves others to rot (YouTube, Compass, Stocks).
Have you played with iOS 6 yet? Of course there are some other small changes, and some big ones as well. Have you noticed any other little thing? What are some of your favorite changes?