There is a certain giddiness in the air if you were to walk the halls of Unbounded Solutions central, and it has nothing to do with the free Starbucks coffee provided by our management. No, the excitement is focused around our iOS Development team as they have just gained access to the third beta of iOS 7.1 via Apple’s iOS developer program.
Build number “11D5127c” offers a few minor feature enhancements; some needed bug fixes and a few user-interface changes. Members of the iOS Developer Program should see a notification of the beta’s availability on their registered devices, or they can head on over to the developer website to download it.
A note of caution: if your device is not registered specifically in the development program, don’t try to install the beta. If you do, Apple will check to verify that the device ID is enrolled – if it isn’t, you will brick your device. It is a bit of a challenge to get your iPad or iPhone to function again, as we wrote last month. Fun times… Not!
Anyway, back to the truly fun stuff.
New and Enhanced Features in iOS 7.1
You’re probably wondering what has been changed and tweaked in this build. Given that it is a beta build there are still going to be some bugs that will need to be resolved – like some Bluetooth 32-bit apps not working properly on 64-bit devices like the newest iPhones and iPads.
Still, the fine folks at Apple have been working to fix and improve a number of issues reported in the current iOS 7 release. These include:
- A tweak to reduce the brightness of the screen called “Reduce White Point” which appears under General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Our hope is this can enhance the battery life.
- A new iTunes Radio button on the radio home page to make it easier to create a new station.
- The keyboard will see a few changes with a bolder font combined with a lighter background which should serve to make the text easier to read. Further tweaks are applied to the shitt and the delete button as well to enhance functionality.
- New circular buttons for power off and phone app to replace the more rectangular ones in the current build.
- An option to turn-off parallax (the element of virtual depth) in wallpaper, as some folks reported that make them a bit queasy.
- Some color changes and darker hues for the Messages, FactTime and Phone icons.
- Darker colors for the shuffle and repeat buttons in the Music app to make them easier to find.
The folks at iClarified.com have shared some screen shots which help to illustrate the changes to the phone app, as seen below.
None of these changes are going to dramatically change the game from a development point of view, but clearly Apple is moving away from “boxy” buttons, which could influence how a developer make stylistic choices with the design of their iOS 7 applications. Some might argue that the smaller “tap areas” might be more of a usability hindrance than a help.
What do you think? Are you going to make any significant changes to your user interface designs to echo the changes coming with iOS 7.1? Let us know in the comments section below.