iOS 7 – An Introduction

Ahead of the launch of Memory Box version 2, our software developer, Rob explores Apple’s new operating system and explains what iOS 7 means for the Memory Box app.

iOS 7 is Apple’s brand new operating system designed for iPad’s and iPhone’s. Every aspect of the operating system has been redesigned from previous iterations, making it the biggest change to the operating system since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

Developing for iOS 7 is a tricky prospect with a number of key new fundamentals to consider. For Memory Box we’ve started entirely from scratch, a brand new app built from the ground up for iOS 7 and developed in-house. This has allowed the transition to the new operating system to be easier rather than also supporting previous versions of the operating system.

When Memory Box version 2 releases next month it will only be for iOS 7 and previous support for prior versions will be dropped. This was a hard decision to come to, but it became increasingly difficult to support two OS’ and we predict the majority of users will upgrade around the middle of September. This initially limits the market for the new version but iOS users are quick to update their software.

One fundamental of the new operating system is to let content be the main driver of the user interface. Having minimal UI allows for content to span the entire width or height of the device. Unnecessary bars and icons have generally been removed to allow the content to fill the screen. By taking away these design elements that offer little value such as a simple title navigation bar it becomes easier for users to focus on what matters most, the content of Memory Box. From the beginning of the redesign, which started in July, it has been crucial that the content is clear and the space is used appropriately. Where possible, the largest images have been used to reflect this and spacing of the images has been defined throughout the entire application to create a consistent look.

Distinct layers is another fundamental part of iOS 7. In notification centre, for example, the content is still seen underneath in a translucent view. This layer helps to establish a hierarchy for the content whilst also letting the user still see their content. Every tab, navigation and tool bar in the operating system now does this by default. In Memory Box we’ve gone one step further by including a number of translucent elements that provide information but still allow the user to see content underneath it. This is particularly useful in scroll-views so users can see their content hasn’t just disappeared underneath a bar. The content is always there and extends underneath the translucent element which helps provide a sense of context for the user.

The final fundamental that was very important to consider is typography. The font used throughout the new version of Memory Box is the default ‘Helvetica Neue’. I think it is important to still use the same font that Apple uses as this helps to cement our app as part of the OS and match their previous work on the default apps. Memory Box follows the guidance of Apple in using weights and sizes for the text. Content that is more important is larger and bolder and content that isn’t so important uses a lighter weight and is smaller. This helps to show at a glance the important text elements such as names and titles.

The new iOS version came along just at the right time for Memory Box. It is a whole new opportunity for us and the previous version 1 app didn’t sit within the iOS 7 vision or fit well with iOS as a whole. It has been incredibly exciting to develop for this new operating system and seeing the improvements that Apple has made for the entire platform. I can’t wait to see what other developers do with the operating system when their updates roll out.

Unfortunately, screenshots of our progress can’t be shown until the public release of the operating system by Apple, however next week our designer will talk through icon design for the new OS. The new version of Memory Box will be released on iOS 7 launch day with brand new stories, new features and most importantly of all our new user interface for iOS 7.

– Rob