With a probable release of September 10th, it's not surprising that Apple's iOS 7 has been a top story the past few weeks. Apple just released the sixth version of the iOS 7 beta to developers, and the Gold Master (GM) is almost certain to follow suit shortly. However, much of the hype surrounding the mobile OS has addressed the redesigned interface, color palette, and iconography. What is most interesting about iOS 7 might be its least reported feature - namely how it's targeted toward enterprise customers, and how it improves the overall user experience.
In a Venture Beat article (by J Schwan - founder and CEO of Solstice Mobile), there is mention of various system level features that would be appealing to enterprise customers. These include:
- device and data security: single sign on capabilities
- productivity, workflow, collaboration: air drop for sharing apps and content.
- contextual computing and M2M: iBeacon (low energy Bluetooth) for indoor navigation, device presence awareness, and "automated physical workflow tracking."
- scan to acquire Passbook passes: mobile coupons and digital passes.
Schwan goes into considerably more detail (so make sure to check out the source below). He also discusses some of the more notable UI features developers are excited about.
There is a lot for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7 — features such as TextKit, Multi-tasking, Auto-layout and UIDynamics. A critical part of analyzing iOS 7 organizational readiness is looking at how enterprises can leverage capabilities to improve the user experience. The introduction of iOS 7 should be a trigger point for brands to look at their own design features.
In addition to user interface (UI) improvements, Apple is introducing flat design, which puts more emphasis on content over aesthetics. By placing content at the forefront of the experience, users can focus on the information at hand. Developers will need to balance three key areas: deference, clarity and depth.
These areas include "deference" (making sure the UI doesn't take precedence or overshadow the content), "clarity" (using color to indicate touch targets rather than boarders and buttons), and "depth" (using layers to facilitate navigation and multitasking, and making sure users are aware of their location within an app).
The aesthetic changes are far more than superficial. They aim to get the OS out of the way, so to speak, and put content at the forefront. No longer will iOS prioritize form over function.