Software Reviews

Apple iOS 17 Review

Apple recently unveiled iOS 17, the latest version of its mobile operating system that runs on iPhones. iOS 17 brings some exciting new features and enhancements that improve the overall user experience.

In this blog post, we’ll review the key additions in iOS 17 and examine how they impact daily use of your iPhone.

Visual Design Changes

Apple continues tweaking and refining the visual design in each iteration of iOS. iOS 17 carries on that tradition with subtle but noticeable changes to system icons, fonts, and interface elements.

The most obvious change is the new system font Apple is dubbing “San Francisco Pro Rounded.” As the name suggests, it takes San Francisco Pro font and adds a subtle roundness to each glyph. The effect is rather soothing with a softer, friendlier vibe.

App icons also get a facelift to appear more harmonious across the system. For example, the Settings icon loses its gritty gear outline for a solid blue fill with smooth corners. The changes are small but welcome improvements.

Enhanced Multitasking for M1 iPhones

Last year, Apple silicon made its way into iPhones with the reveal of their new M1 chip. Building on that foundation, iOS 17 introduces enhanced multitasking capabilities exclusively for M1 iPhones.

You can now run multiple windows of the same application side by side. It makes referencing documents or cross checking data a breeze. The OS also adds a shelf above the dock to easily switch between app windows. And you get Stage Manager-like overlapping windows to really flex the power of the M1 chip.

These pro-level features offer a taste of what the future holds for multitasking on iPhones. They set the stage for bringing more advanced capabilities to mobile devices as phones get more powerful. Although for now, only users with M1 iPhones can enjoy the benefits.

Refined Focus Modes

Focus modes got introduced last year to help users manage distractions by limiting app notifications and home screen pages. iOS 17 refines the feature in smart ways.

First, you can now schedule a Focus mode to turn on and off automatically at certain times. For example, you may want your Work Focus to activate only weekdays from 9 to 5 when you’re actually working. Second, each Focus has its own unique Lock Screen to match the mode. So your Work Focus can display calendar events and tasks while your Mindfulness Focus shows an inspirational quote.

Finally, App Library gets filters that intelligently change the apps displayed based on your Focus. Your Work Focus may prioritize email, calendar, Notes and enterprise apps. While Personal Focus shows more recreational apps and hides work stuff. The enhancements give each mode its own distinct personality tailored to your needs.

Intelligent Notification Summaries

Mobile notifications can easily get overwhelming, especially with persistent chatty apps. iOS 17 provides relief through notification summaries. Using on-device intelligence, it organizes non-time sensitive alerts into helpful summaries.

For example, you may get a 3pm daily summary saying “You have 5 messages from Sam, 3 likes on Instagram and new recommendations from Netflix this afternoon.” Tapping the summary surfaces all the individual notifications. But otherwise, they remain bundled so you don’t get barraged with pings.

You can choose how often to get summaries for each app. And non-critical alerts like likes, comments, etc. can be set to summarize automatically. The feature cuts through notification noise to save you from endless distractions.

Live Activities API for Dynamic Lock Screens

The Lock Screen got lots of updates in iOS 16 like personalization, widgets and Live Activities. iOS 17 opens up Live Activities to developers through a new API. It enables creating dynamic experiences that push timely updates directly to the Lock Screen.

Imagine a sports score widget updating point by point as the game progresses. Or a ride sharing app showing real-time progress as your driver gets close. The API makes those use cases possible.

It launches alongside a few Apple apps taking advantage already, like Wallet tracking Apple Pay purchases and Maps providing detailed views of transit journeys. Third parties are sure to dream up clever implementations soon. And iPhone users get more actionable info at a glance.

That covers some highlights coming in Apple’s latest iOS release. There are dozens more smaller tweaks that refine the experience. Like supporting third-party web apps in Safari, improvements to Dictation and Apple Pay Later options. But the features outlined above represent the biggest ways iOS 17 changes how you’ll use your iPhone going forward.

With M1 iPhones now on the market and Apple silicon surely coming to more models over time, the updates lay groundwork for the future. We’re likely to see a greater divergence in capabilities between M-powered devices versus traditional mobile chipsets. That could eventually propel innovative new use cases as early M1 adopters enjoy more desktop-class functionality.

For most everyday users though, improvements like Focus modes, notification summarization and design tweaks offer immediate quality of life improvements. And the Live Activities API hints at the more dynamic smart phone environment coming as developers tap into its potential.

Overall, iOS 17 moves the platform forward in meaningful ways while avoiding radical changes. It builds on existing pillars like notifications and multitasking while expanding possibilities through new developer tools. The approach gives users a more refined mobile OS today with infrastructure to enable bolder innovation down the road. An exciting upgrade overall cementing iOS’ place as the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.

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