Made for iOS 7

Last week, I said there was more to iOS 7 than just a fresh coat of paint. Having used the new OS on a daily basis over the past few days, that is definitely true. But I also think iOS 7 will shake up the app ecosystem in profound ways. The early signs of this are visible in the new apps that are making their way in the App Store.

It goes back to that dynamic interface. The life-like physics and particle engine in iOS 7 cannot be overstated. It lays the foundation for apps and interfaces that feel fluid and alive. Screenshots do not convey that adequately. Pixels are not placed and animated on screen. Objects are painted on screen on-the-fly and they float in space. The interface emphasizes direct manipulation and is computationally intensive. This will be non-trivial to emulate on other devices.

In March, I got a Nexus 4 which I have been using as my primary phone - a device that arguably provides the best Android experience. I have also purchased a number of a great (Android-first even) apps such as Press and Pocket Casts. They may fall short of alternatives on iOS at times, but also surpass them in several other ways.

Pocket Casts is a great app. The company famously went Android first for version 4. The app works very well on Android and adheres closely to the Holo design guidelines. And until recently, apps on iOS and Android are more or less comparable. Sure, iOS remains more responsive but Android makes up for it in power and flexibility. With the Holo design guidelines, Android apps are starting to look pretty great too.

But the difference in iOS 7 is remarkable, even when comparing applications that strive to provide great experiences on both platforms. The new Pocket Casts 4 on iOS 7 is a veritable joy to use, and the Android app was never poor by any means.

iOS 7 changes the game. There is more to it than the 'flat' look. The skeuomorphic visual ornamentation was in fact limiting the apps that could be built for the phone. And now in its place, the possibilities of building over a dynamic interface engine that feels alive is beyond exciting.

I was going to continue with the Nexus 4 as my primary phone. After iOS 7? Not really.

Ramkumar Shankardesign, mobile, iOS